Villano Antillano Talks Reshaping Her Male-Dominated Genre as a Trans Artist

Villano Antillano Talks Reshaping Her Male-Dominated Genre as a Trans Artist

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«I’m not striving for tolerance, nobody has the power to ‘tolerate’ me, I yield that power myself.»

By Griselda Flores

Villano Antillano is a force to be reckoned with.

The Puerto Rican rapper, who broke out in 2018, carved a lane for herself in a male-dominated genre normalizing a queer perspective in a space that’s often tainted by toxic masculinity. “There is no tolerance for women like me in the genre I have forcibly inserted myself in,” the “Vocales” singer tells Billboard. “To say there is would be a delusion and an attack on the works of queer people everywhere who consume said genre.”

A leading voice in the Latin queer and trans artists movement, which aims to spotlight LGBTQIA+ musicians who are often overlooked by the mainstream, Antillano most recently teamed up with Argentine producer Bizarrap for a hard-hitting EDM-infused rap session.

In it, Antillano is as unapologetic as ever, speaking truth to power. “If I have a flow cabrón, if I’m adding pressure, if you can’t deal with me, my bad … I am the boss and you are the secretary, you’re not at my level to be my adversary,” she fiercely spits in “Session #51,” which dropped Wednesday (June 8).

Below, Antillano kicks off our Pride series featuring queer Latin artists who are helping reshape their genre.

How have you helped create tolerance in your genre?

There is no tolerance for women like me in the genre I have forcibly inserted myself in. To say there is would be a delusion and an attack on the works of queer people everywhere who consume said genre. I have helped make queer musicians and artists more visible perhaps; but tolerance, respect and equality are not things we have at the moment. That’s just the truth. Also, I think it’s important to state that I personally am not striving for tolerance, nobody has the power to “tolerate” me, I yield that power myself and demand respect over all things.

As a queer artist, how have you helped reshape your genre?

The same way I reshape the world every time I step outside, by taking up space unapologetically and forcing people to understand that they have no dominion over queer people.

How did accepting your queer identity impact your craft?

Medically transitioning and allowing my body to adapt and shift with estrogen has been one of the most wonderful and simultaneously difficult things I have ever done. Immersing myself in that journey allowed me to become a better artist because it allowed me to experience myself much more thoroughly. I process emotions in entirely different ways now and have access to an incredible amount of power that I did not before.

What’s your all-time favorite Pride anthem and why?

House music is centered at the core of Pride for me. In my opinion and despite what a lot of people believe, House and EDM belong to the LGBTTQIA+ community and some of the biggest breakthroughs in those genres have come from queer black artists, I cherish that and I feel like it ties me to my community. Honey Dijon for example makes me feel connected to that, and it’s not just one song or anthem, it’s her movement. Azealia Banks does that for me too, she’s a musical genius and when I wanna feel tied to that magic I definitely tune in.

This year I’ll be celebrating Pride by …

Getting high with my friends and having a lot of sex. It’s our right and responsibility to keep hedonism alive. Plus we’re all super hot and young and the world they have left us is literally in shambles, we deserve some fun.

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