Born and raised in San Francisco, Oh Blimey is a queer artist in deep with the hip hop community.
In 2011, Oh Blimey won a series of Grind Time battles against other male and female rappers and has remained a top competitor in the rap battle league. In 2012, she was featured in SPIN Magazine’s 50 Biggest White Girl Rap Moments of All Time feature.
Now, the dirty-blonde emcee resides in Los Angeles where she’s working on her next two musical ventures. Oh Blimey’s just released a single on iTunes called “Make It Pop” and plans to develop a full length album with producers Baan and Ear Jerker.
Oh Blimey discusses the state of hip hop in relation to the LGBT community, her own personal orientation, how people in the LGBT community require delicacy, and more with 429Magazine.
429Magazine: When did you first get involved with music?
Oh Blimey: At a very early age. My father was a blues musician and he introduced me to r&b, jazz, blues, and soul when I was just a kid. Always played guitar and wrote music. When I was 12 I went to Roosevelt Middle School in SF and all the dudes were rap battling. One day I finally stepped into the ring and I was really good at it. Everybody started to come out at lunch to see us in a big crowd.
I was already writing poetry so I decided to freestyle battle. When I stepped up to somebody it was the scariest thing in the world. Imagine a little white girl in front of a big dude. I ran for student government, and shit so he had no idea who I was. People in the schoolyard were amazed by how I had flow and punch lines. After a while it wasn’t about race, class, or gender… everyone was interested and involved. In college I started seriously writing and recording music.
429Mag: Do you like to go by hip hop emcee or rapper?
Oh Blimey: Music artist. I don’t like the expectations behind names… there are certain things to be upheld and I want musical creativity to be what I’m about.
429Mag: How do you identify your sexual orientation?
Oh Blimey: I remember a point in my life when I was younger… I was realizing I liked and loved women but was still tied to the ideal that I would marry a man one day. Of course my feelings have changed as I have gotten more serious with women. I learned an important lesson that we all grow and change.
Who am I to say that I won’t feel something for a specific gender? I like to keep an open mind and keep my sexuality open to Queer. I definitely see myself with a woman but I don’t think there’s anything solid about life, sexuality, and gender. Some people think that they will never change but I like to keep fluidity in regards to the representations of myself.
Once again along with identifying as a rapper… emcee… or music artist… there comes the same repercussions as identifying as a bisexual, lesbian, or queer. People hold you down in that title. I’d rather keep it fluid.
429Mag: How long have you and your girlfriend been together?
Oh Blimey: Almost a year.
429Mag: Is it difficult for her, being a musician’s girlfriend?
Oh Blimey: I know for a fact it is. The issue has come up. It’s a part of our relationship [She laughs.]. People are publicly feelin’ on you. That’s not the easiest thing to deal with as a lover. Public forms of affection in person at a show happen and there is always difficulty there. As long as we keep communication open and believe we are faithful to each other then I know love will conquer any insecurities that might come up.
429Mag: What’s it like rapping within a genre that is known to be women-hating and homophobic?
Oh Blimey: It’s hard… [She laughs again]. There’s really negative and really positive aspects that go with it. The biggest negative would be the flat out homophobic misogynistic listeners who wanna let you and everybody else know what they don’t like about you. It’s one of those make or break factors in this industry.
Another negative factor is just how the general public’s still pretty close minded as a society. Being gay and a powerful woman is definitely not 100% accepted in the mainstream… which is where the money is. I get a lot of grief for being who I am and being open about it. I’ve been asked by potential managers if I could conceal my identity and that’s something I could never do.
In more positive terms I think there is a little bit of shock value to my music and doors are starting to open that have never been opened in the past. I believe I am one of those people in hip hop the world hasn’t seen yet. Something fresh and new. There’s a lot of space for people who want a new perspective and something unique.
429Mag: How do you take on the challenge?
Oh Blimey: I’ve considered giving up. I’ve considered quitting… but then I think about how hard I worked to get where I am. I never thought I would have my own videos with thousands and thousands of views. I got gangs of fans from different countries. People are inspired by who I am. Haters can’t ruin my life. This is my biggest passion. I can’t picture myself doing anything else.
429Mag: Do you consider yourself active in the LGBT community?
Oh Blimey: I’m more active in the music community. I just feel like with my battle rap career and raw upbringing I haven’t been the most politically correct rapper. People in the LGBT community require delicacy. Sometimes it makes me feel disconnected from the community… but at the end of the day I’m here to be a voice for the community. The fact is I’m queer and I have a story to tell.
429Mag: Tell me about Grind Time. How did you get started with that?
Oh Blimey: I was inebriated at a college party in Santa Cruz and started rap battling like the old days… more going back and forth trading verses… somebody asked me if I watched Grind Time and he told me to look it up. I saw that the guy had hundreds of thousands of views on his own Grind Time battles! I flipped out. This is what I was raised on and the rest of the world had to see it.
I got on a Grind Time battle and focused every ounce of my energy on how I could insult them and make them feel embarrassed for who they were. I wanted to excel and get noticed, but there’s another side to it. The other person is coming into it with the same intention. Picking out the worst things about somebody is kind of a sport. It turns me into someone who picks people apart. When I say it’s a sport I mean that, but battle rap is filled with camaraderie. We don’t take it to heart… but at the end of the day it turns me against myself, picking people apart.
429Mag: It’s funny that they entitle it a “female battle” – what do you think about that classification?
Oh Blimey: I mean I know why they titled it that way. They want views. Looking through the comments you’ll see a lot of really ignorant shit. “What are these bitches doing outta the kitchen??” The creators classify it that way to draw in views. The fans click on it so they can talk shit… which sucks! But then there are the fans that are drawn to the link because they are genuinely curious about females who battle rap.
429Mag: When’s your album coming out?
Oh Blimey: I released my first single on iTunes “Make It Pop” and there will be a video soon. I’m working with these producers from Bad Shoes Records, Baan and Ear Jerker. In the process of developing a full length project with those guys… that’s something to look forward to. There’ll be more of your dance jams and hip hop/pop style songs… real fun and artsy at the same time. I’m working on my personal album as well to showcase my lyricism. If I’m releasing a poppy album I need to represent my other side too.