PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERIC HART JR. | STYLING BY GABRIEL HELD
MS. BOOGIE & TRANNILISH
A conversation between besties and musical collaborators
Miss Boogie: Hey sis. For those who don’t know, tell them who you are.
Trannilish: It’s Trannilish. You could call me Lish, AKA Ms. Titties Gigantic. My look is dramatic.
Miss Boogie: Miss Boogie over here, AKA Miss Boogie What’s Goodie also known as Ms. Douche Down. Sis, so what song are you starting your day with?
Trannilish: I’m going to start my day with a little bit of Kaytranada, Teedra Moses “Be Your Girl.” What about you?
Miss Boogie: So it’s this cute song. It’s like an older song, but it’s called “Hold It Down” by this collective 4hero. I really love the lyrics so you should check that out. I don’t know if I’ve sent it to you yet, but I will soon.
Trannilish: Yeah, definitely send that over.
Miss Boogie: Yes sis, okay. My memory is usually faded because I smoke too much, so what’s our link up story? How did we link up?
Trannilish: We linked up in summer 2009 when I was doing my little fashion thing, you know, body paint, makeup. And you hit me up because you were walking the Latex Ball and you wanted me to do your makeup. Myspace days.
Miss Boogie: Right, a decade ago. I remember like it was yesterday.
Trannilish: Over a decade ago, bitch.
Miss Boogie: So it was the Latex Ball and the category was Female Figure Runway and they said bring it like a magazine editorial. So you have to, like, go through a magazine and pick your look — what you were going to bring it to the runway as — but you had to bring the picture, like the clipping to show how good you did the reference. So we picked…
Trannilish: It was Naomi Campbell from i-D Magazine 2009.
Miss Boogie: We did a Vivienne Westwood Naomi Campbell look of course. Oh my god, that was a minute ago. I know there’s probably a YouTube video. Most likely, yikes. I kind of want to see it, but then I kind of don’t. So what are you up to today?
Trannilish: Today I’m going to do some writing, just finish up some songs and that’s pretty much it. Thank god it’s Friday. What about you?
Miss Boogie: That’s right, Fem Queen Friday. I would love to say I’m doing the same, but I’m actually just running errands and preparing for the future. What’s your creative process, by the way? I know we’ve shared a lot of studio space together, but when you’re alone, what does your writing look like?
Trannlish: So when I’m alone, what it normally looks like is, you know, I get inspired by a song. I get inspired by a movie. It’s normally songs from when I was growing up, like, Britney Spears, Sisqo, a lot of stuff that I didn’t really get the chance to listen to when I was younger because I come from such a strict Jamaican household. So it always starts with that. Something that’s catchy to me and then I build from there, you know? Or if I’m having an experience, I’ll just build from it. I normally start with the beat first, and I try to get my hook going and once I get my hook going then it’s up.
Miss Boogie: I love that. So you’re working on an EP?
Trannilish: Yes, I’m working on an EP. What’s your creative process like?
Miss Boogie: It’s always all over the place. It’s really a reflection of me, and like I’m a mess. So my creative process is also a mess. Since rap is really my thing I kinda just collect a lot of lyrics, a lot of things that I want to say. Like if we are having a conversation on the phone and we say something funny or cool or catchy or just real life shit, I try to just document it. And then when it’s time to make a song, I just revisit everything that I’ve written down or recorded in my voice memos. And then I put it together like a collage and a song comes about. Right now I’m working on an album, just speaking it into existence. I’m just enjoying the process and writing little by little, I’m getting in the studio whenever I can, or whenever I need to. I really just have been trying to push my lyrical acrobatics and my punch lines, or just my references, and I always want to make music that when people in our community listen to it, they’re like, Oh shit. Like I know exactly what she’s talking about. Like, you know, Ms. Douche Down.
Trannilish: Mhm, relatable.
Miss Boogie: I think it’s so important because we grew up listening to music that was basically against us, and against our existing, about murdering us, and often it would be our favorite rappers and we wouldn’t have a choice, but to love it. And I just want to change that.
FROM LEFT: TRANNILISH WEARS SUNGLASSES BY AMORIR. MS. BOOGIE WEARS SUNGLASSES BY CHLOE, NECKLACE BY VIVIENNE WESTWOOD. THEY BOTH WEAR DRESSES BY GYPSY SPORT.
MS. BOOGIE WEARS JACKET BY RICKY KING AND VINTAGE GLOVES.
TRANNILISH WEARS SLEEVES BY GYPSY SPORT.
Trannilish: For us, by us. FUBU.
Miss Boogie: For us by us. That’s right. That’s right. FUBU. FUBU. FUBU me hoe.
Miss Boogie: Sis, I know that stepping into your creative and into your musical process is new on your agenda. So how do you juggle that with all the other stuff you have going on in your life and just surviving as a fem queen, which is a whole ‘nother, like, creative process?
Trannilish: Well, you know, being a fem queen is a 24-hour job, and baby, being able to do music is just the extras. I’m always a fem queen. That’s a 24-hour job, honey. Feminine is my vibe, darling, and queen is my spirit.
Miss Boogie: I love that! Yes sis, you ate that. Fem is my vibe, queen is my spirit. You dig it?
Trannilish: Yes, definitely. Okay, so I’m 30 years old, you know, I’ve been a fem queen since I was 19 years old. I’ve done a lot of things in my life, but none of them I really love like I love doing music and right now I just want to devote all my time to my art.
Miss Boogie: That’s so beautiful, but you know, for me, I think that statement is so beautiful because we really have to think about what we’re going to leave behind, you know, not a lot of us have the luxury to raise children and have a physical legacy. So I think creating anything is really important for fem queens because we want to be remembered for something.
Trannilish: Exactly, and not just remembered for something, but for changing the narrative of what people are trying to remember us for right now in the media. You know what I’m saying?
Miss Boogie: Exactly. Especially with that movie…
Trannilish: Secret Society.
Miss Boogie: Secret Society, right. Where they just took the most inaccurate narrative of the fem queen experience and put it in a movie and basically led the majority of Black America to believe that that is the only narrative that exists for fem queens. Then on top of that, they didn’t have fem queens in the movie acting as fem queens. So that was really disrespectful.
I think that it’s such a lack of research because at this point we have Black trans women doing everything you can possibly imagine down to being cops and nurses and rappers and singers and actresses and construction workers, like we’re in every space possible.
Trannilish: In politics!
Miss Boogie: In politics. We’re in every space possible if you do your research. So to make a movie about us and not hire us is extremely disrespectful and a low blow.
Trannilish: Not only that, not just to make a movie about us, but, like, I know a lot of trans girls and I grew up in New York, with some of the most beautiful fem queens darling you have ever seen, and there’s no shade. None of us do the things that they said in those movies. Bitch, like, excuse me. I hate the way the media tends to try and portray us Black transsexuals.
Miss Boogie: Right. And we’re also Black people, so…
Trannilish: Just like Black lives matter, Black trans lives matter.
Miss Boogie: I know that’s right, exactly. Sis, you have a name for your EP yet?
Trannilish: It’s either gonna be Mix Up, Queen, or Trannilicious. I really don’t know. Or Whatchamacallit.
Miss Boogie: Oh my god, you nailed it. It’s on record right now in this interview.
Trannlish: Whatchamacallit. Yup, that’s what it is. Whatchamacallit. I can’t wait. It’s got so many bangers. We have so many songs together. I’ve got to see which of our songs I’m going to put on my EP. So what do you think your album is going to be called when it’s time for you to release it?
Miss Boogie: So I did an interview, not so long ago with Them over at Condé Nast and they kinda just ran with the conversation about my album and broadcasted more than I was willing to commit to at the moment, but I did tell them that my album was going to be called The Breakdown. It’s a reference to my physical transition, my mental transition, and breaking down my experience through lyrics. I really want the album to just be a day in the life for a girl like me, for a fem queen. A lot of people think that this lifestyle is more complex than what it is, but when you really boil it down, we’re just people trying to be people, you know? That’s what I want to break down on the album. Whatchamacallit and The Breakdown, can’t wait!
Trannilish: I understand that it’s good to talk about everything that people go through, life and hardships, but I think I want to carve the path for my career to where I’m not going to really be touching the bad stuff. It’s going to be all about the ups, my good experiences, you know what I’m saying? With all the bullshit that’s going on in the world, you know, I’m a funny person who likes to crack jokes. I like to laugh every day. Everyone out here is focusing on the bad, I just want to praise the good again. No matter what you’re going through, let’s praise the good, like no shade. Let’s all jump up and party.
Miss Boogie: Yeah. That’s just as powerful. Knowing you throughout the years, you don’t really dwell on trauma and that’s beautiful, but that’s also so important because when I think about making music as us, it’s important for there to be different flavors for people to pick from just as there is in mainstream hip hop and pop music. We can’t all be talking about the same exact thing.
Trannilish: And we gotta meet on the same avenues on the same intersections, bitch. It’s like yes miss thing, alright girl, let’s go down this avenue together real quick.
Miss Boogie: Exactly, the stroll as they would say.
Trannilish: Yes! Holding hands, skipping.
Miss Boogie: I love it. I love it.
Trannilish: Jumping double dutch on the corner.
Miss Boogie: Sis, how do you juggle? I know personally that there isn’t a love life right now, but, for the readers, how would you juggle being a fem queen who is creative and making a name for herself and dating. Is that something you think you could juggle?
Trannilish: Before, I was doing the relationship thing, but I wasn’t being creative, and it was hard as hell to manage that shit. Like, oh my God, you need a bottle of aspirin on hand for that. I mean, I think it’s easier to juggle a career and being creative and my love for dick, minus the love. Keep that on the side. You know what I’m saying? I can manage the love for dick. Hold the emotions for me right now. Let me get to where I’m going first. Cause a man, it takes a lot out of you, you know. After the dick comes, that’s it, you got to go. So I would rather just keep the dick and hold the feelings.
Miss Boogie: I feel the same way. AKA my latest single “Dickscipline” is kinda just like, give me my dick, and I’ll go about my business.
Trannilish: She don’t play stupid for Cupid, darling!
Miss Boogie: That’s exactly what “Dickscipline” talks about. Take what you need from a situation, how not to be afraid to request it and move on — just being very transparent about what you need and what you want. I think about dating as a creative and a fem queen on top of that, a lot of men who come into our lives think they know what we want or what we need. They try to treat us like they treat everyone else. And although that is, I guess, a part of equality, we’re still very unique creatures, and we have very specific needs and it’s important to just vocalize them. So I don’t really know if I’m interested in juggling all of it. I’ve tried and it always fails because, you know, people love us for different reasons. A lot of people can’t handle the kind of love that people have for us. So, yeah, just a dick appointment, here and there works for me.
Trannilish: Dick me off, or trip me up and send me back home.
Miss Boogie: Exactly. Keep me posted. If you’re coming over now, then I got to douche down, that’s right. Being a bad girl isn’t easy. I feel like we’re bad girls by nature. What does Black Trans Lives Matter mean to you?
Miss Boogie: You said a staple?
Trannilish: Yeah. It’s a staple. It’s a lifestyle. There’s no other way than that. It’s a slogan. It’s a lifestyle. It’s as important as “I Have a Dream,” that speech that Martin Luther King gave. It’s a staple. I have a dream that Black trans lives will matter as much as every other life matters.
Miss Boogie: I highly agree. Yes.
Trannilish: What about you? I mean, we talk about this all the time, but like, what does it mean to you?
Miss Boogie: Exactly that. Everything you just said. Black trans lives matter to me. It’s an experience, and I think we’re just trying to showcase that we’re not asking for anything, we’re just trying to make sure that our voice is heard amongst ourselves. I always say that I don’t mind if we all move to another planet, it doesn’t mean that we’re all going to be friends just because we’re Black and trans. But I do think that we will understand each other’s needs a little bit more and be sensitive to them. Luckily, we’ve found that creativity to help us feel freedom without really having to ask for it. So fuck what they heard.
Trannilish: Fuck what they heard.
Miss Boogie: Fuck what they heard, you feel me, sis. So I guess you’re in Atlanta now, but I’ll see you in New York on the flip side. How many blunts have you smoked today already?
Trannilish: Chill, three.
Miss Boogie: Probably five. Oh my God. Wow. I’m looking for some bud in Chicago, I’m in Chicago right now. So if you know anybody who has good weed in Chicago, let me know.
Trannilish: I got you sis, I’m about to send you a referral.
Miss Boogie: Exactly. Weed, dick, money. Send me anybody who has any of the above. I’m taking appointments at the moment.
Trannilish: You need a daily dose of dickscipline?
Miss Boogie: I need a daily dose of dickscipline, that’s right. Link in my bio. I want him to click the link in my bio and put the dick in my butt. Sis, see you in New York. See you in the studio. See you on the avenue.
Trannilish: See ya sister, love you up!
Miss Boogie: Love you down! Bye.
MS. BOOGIE WEARS DRESS BY 1XBLUE AND ALL JEWELRY HER OWN.
TRANNILISH WEARS CHAIN HEADPIECE BY HAI TRIMMINGS, DRESS BY MOSCHINO, CUSTOM GLOVES BY BABY PHAT.
TRANNILISH WEARS RING BY VERSACE.
MS. BOOGIE WEARS TOP BY PATRICIA FIELD, SKIRT BY FAITH CONNEXION. TRANNILISH WEARS SCARF BY CHANEL, DRESS BY RUFF RYDER AND SOCKS BY BALENCIAGA.
Photo Assistance by Rodney Chrome.
Styling Assistance by Evan Dombkowski.
Makeup by Shawndaye Pascal.
All clothing (except Gypsy Sport) courtesy of Gabriel Held Vintage.