From latex to loving yourself – Meet James Indigo, the queer rap artist starting a rap revolution
KALTBLUT chats exclusively to Birmingham-born rap artist, and rising future queer icon, James Indigo on his inspiring debut EP Married To The Game, giving rap a refreshingly queer makeover spitting lyrical gems, serving sex, swag and cleverly infectious hip-hop bops. Also, he loves latex, Kylie made him gay and he enjoys dancing in his underwear. Total husband material, (*Googles human cloning methods.) The interview is part of our digital issue: In conversation with .. 6!
Hi James, it’s an absolute pleasure to chat with you. How’s 2020 been treating you?
Thank you for interviewing me. 2020 has been a roller-coaster of emotions. Overall I would say it has been a real eye-opener and I have been really content and productive. I take each day as it comes.
Congrats on your debut EP Married to the Game, how are you feeling now you’ve released it for the world to hear?
I feel ecstatic! I have been working on this project for a while now. I feel like I have just given birth and I’m watching my baby grow.
You certainly came to slay. I feel like I’m in the ballroom version of a rap battle complete with sequin mic drops mixed with death drops in abundance. How did you find your sound and when did you know this was the direction you wanted to go in musically?
Thanks, that’s a great description. I want to go to a ballroom now haha. I have always loved different genres of music. I can go from one extreme to another. One day I’m listening to hyper pop and the next I’m listening to classical music. I wanted to make a project that embodied all my favourite sounds. So the direction and creative process were pretty easy.
Tell me about the idea behind the cover art. Your head is separated from your body. What does it all mean and how’s your head?
When I sat down to create my EP I was thinking about my journey thus far and how far I’ve come as a person. When I was younger I always felt like I didn’t belong. I felt like a broken doll. I was never the popular kid and I was bullied. But the love I have for music helped me. I’m married to my art. So straight away I had this idea of being a broken doll with a veil over my head. I stuck with it as the overall theme. And I haven’t had any complaints.
I’m obsessed with Latex. Such a bop. How do you come with these lyrical moments?
Thank you, I love Latex. I wanted to make a song called Latex for a while because I’m obsessed with latex and the way it makes me feel. This lyric came to my mind “ Latex, I like a late text” So I booked in studio time with my producer, and I started to write to the beat. I remember wanting to talk freaky but also talk about me being proud. I say “I’m the black sheep and I’m fucking proud to be”.
Where do you find yourself the most inspired when it comes to writing and creating?
It can be really random. I have woken up in the middle of the night before with a hook in my head or I randomly get a lyric in my head and I’m rushing to type it into my notes. When I wrote Dick Print I was dancing in my room with my briefs on and it just came to me. When I sit down to write it’s always pretty early. So I would say morning/midday after a coffee.
Thank you for that awesome visual, we now know you are a briefs guy. Lol ;p. As a queer person of colour, authenticity is obviously a huge part to who you are as an artist, what helps you stay true to yourself when making music?
From latex to loving yourself- Meet James Indigo, the queer rap artist starting a rap Coming into the industry I didn’t want to act “cool” or be something I’m not. I’m happy with the person I have become. I wake up every day blessed and I count my blessings. So staying humble and true to myself is pretty easy.
I love that your music is extremely honest and raw but with a playful, humorous undertone. How important is it for you to enjoy doing what you do when it comes to your music?
Extremely important. I eat, breathe, and sleep music. I listen to music every day and I write almost every day. It’s Cathartic. I’m also a really fun, happy guy and I don’t take myself and life too seriously. Life is short. I want to spend every day loving it. I love putting that energy into my art.
You are definitely a rarity in the UK music industry. How has it been for you being openly gay as a rapper and starting your career?
It’s been amazing. The love and support I have received overwhelm me. I get a lot of messages from people saying they’ve never seen a gay rapper before or that I inspire them to live their truth. You do get the odd person saying shit but I don’t pay any notice.
Haters gonna hate. It’s refreshing to see, and more importantly, hear, you do you so unapologetically. What made you decide to be open with your sexuality and include it so expressively in your music?
When I was writing my first single Cxntour I knew I didn’t want to hold back. It’s all or nothing. Being open and showing the world who you are isn’t a bad thing. I wanted to come into the game 100 per cent me and 100 per cent unapologetic. All guns blazing.
Pow pow. Your previous singles have always touched on elements of diversity and breaking down stereotypes within society and the queer community, what’s the main message of MTTG?
The main message from this project is an overall message. I am black. I’m an openly gay man, I’m in the music industry, I grew up with nothing, I own who I am and I am proud. This EP embodies sexuality, confidence, and oozes excitement. The message is showing that you can come from any background or sexuality and win. Hard work pays off. This EP is a reflection of all of that.
Your songs are also pretty damn sexy. Daddy’s Coming Home made me a little bit pregnant. How has being comfortable with your sexuality allowed you to be/feel liberated sexually?
That’s my job done then haha. When you don’t give a fuck about the opinions of others and you follow your heart and learn to love yourself, Everything falls into place. Writing music is the way I express myself. So openly talking about my sexuality empowers me.
You are also very experimental when it comes to playing with queer references in your videos. What inspires you when it comes to your visuals and the lewks you bring to the table?
Ji; It’s many different things. When I write, I 99 per cent envision the visual. I see fabrics, colours, and lights in my head. My mind is pretty crazy. I then forward all my crazy ideas to my team. Then we go back and forth with ideas and themes to fine-tune them.
In your honest opinion, do you think rap and hip hop is changing its view on sexuality at all?
I would say it’s 50/50 we have definitely come a long way. We have big artists killing it like Tyler The Creator and Lil Nas. However, we still live in a homophobic world and a lot of people are stuck in their ways. We still have a lot of work to do.
What advice would you give to other young rappers who may struggle to open up about their sexuality in the future?
I would start by saying that remember you are not alone. It’s easy to feel isolated and feeling like you don’t belong. There’s plenty of us out there and there’s plenty of people who love and accept you for who you are. Don’t be scared to speak your truth. Your future is bright.
Finally, what can we expect from James Indigo in 2021?
You can expect loads of visuals, you can expect great performances, and loads more dark, heavy music.