Dai Burger Talks 'Soft Serve' & Her "Where My Girls" Anthem
Dai Burger reps New York better than any other rapper you know. Born and raised in Queens, the rapper has been around since day one, hitting OG places like Contra and The Dark Room with her sassy, saucy lyrics when there were few (if any) women doing the same. It might come as a surprise that her debut album is only just now surfacing, but trust us: it was worth the wait. A culmination of everything that keeps Burger’s sound on fleek, Soft Serve is the funny as fuck dose of rap we need in a time when things are getting very serious (to say the least).
Burger hits on classic New York experiences with tracks like “Dolla Slice”, rallies the ladies with “Where My Girls”, then brings you right back around to finish off the album with “Rosé”. And while it’s obviously impossible to pick just one from the crowd, we’ll leave the newly-released “Where My Girls” vid here for your viewing pleasure. After you’ve had your fill, keep scrolling for the full interview with New York City’s favorite rap kween.
So it was a big weekend for you!
Yeah, it was! I’m finally resting, catching my breath…the party was crazy and just getting it out there and the promo, so it’s been a whirlwind for sure.
Yeah! I mean I know Soft Serve literally just the dropped a few days ago—but how are you feeling now that it’s out?
I feel good! People are starting to respond, and I’m seeing all the screenshots and the tags so I’m like, “Ok, good, people are listening.” That’s all I care about—as long as it’s being heard, you know? It’s not just sitting there collecting dust on the first day.
For sure. And I was just watching the “Where My Girls” video—I love it.
So fun right? You wish you were there right? [Laughs]
Definitely wish I was there instead of in an office right now! [Laughs] So I know your debut EP was out in 2015, and now it’s coming to the end of 2017 and you have your debut album—how are you trying to establish yourself as a New York rapper with your first full length record?
The way I look at it is when I started music, 2015 was my debut EP but I had a couple projects before that, and honestly I never looked at it as trying to establish anything. I’m just a girl who likes to talk and sing and put on a show. That was just me. So it’s not like, “I’m gonna do this or that,” I was just doing what I love in general. But, you know, now as you go, everything has to be a brand and branded and this and that, so I’m just focusing on how people can understand me better. And whatever happens with it is fine by me, as long as I’m doing what I love, you know? I’m not going to change it to adjust, so that everyone receives it. It’s an acquired taste.
What was the process like putting together the whole album?
Well, I worked with a lot of the same producers that I like to refer to, ‘cause you know sometimes you get a vibe going, they know what you like and you know what they like. But I also introduced some new people, who just have this sound that I just know can be well received. So just mixing it up. I’ve always had the pop factor in me, ‘cause yes I’m a rapper, but you know I like to think of myself as a funny rapper, I don’t think I’m saying anything SO serious. Like you might be scared of me, like “Oh, she crazy” and I am crazy, but not like thug crazy! It’s like a cute thug. Cute gangster. Just trying to show them the pop princess that I am. I think it’s OK to have fun, act a little silly, talk your talk.
Honestly I think it’s like what we need right now.
Right! Everyone takes themselves very seriously.
They do, and it’s like you don’t have to be so harsh and put on this facade every time you cut a track just because you want people to believe in you or whatever.
Right, and it also boils down to just being yourself. You can act like anything you want, but if it’s not real no one’s gonna believe it. So you’re better off doing what suits you, you know.
Is there any one song on the album that’s like your anthem or just your favorite track?
It’s so hard, because they’re all so good! I’m not hyping myself up because of that but it really is. I don’t know. I have a love for “Tatted Up”, I just feel like it’s so summery, and so Soft Serve, and even “Rosé”, it’s the last song on there, but it’s so, oh my gosh, it’s a song I would listen to even if it weren’t me singing it, you get what I’m saying? That’s how I know a song is good, when I love it like it’s not me. It’s like, I don’t care who sang this, this song is hot! So I’d say those two. But I love them all for different reasons! It’s like, I could bump any and still feel OK.
Yeah, we were definitely bumping to it in the office.
Which one did you guys like? Everyone loves “Dollar Slice”.
That’s what I was gonna say!
I feel like it is so New York, it’s like classic New York dollar slice, St. Marks, you know.
Yeah I do, I love that one.
Hard times, so you go get that slice and a soda special. [Laughs]
Yeah, I like that one and I like “Where My Girls” too.
Oh yeah. That one’s an anthem. And with that one, also, we’re starting an initiative, me and The Brewery Studios, where we’re gonna invite girls ages 12-18 and we’ll show them the technicalities of engineering, stacking vocals, seeing a song through to the end, so I’m excited about that too.
That’s so cool. When is that?
We’re starting that now, so hopefully it will be a monthly thing where we invite the girls in and you know, get some work done with them.
Yeah, and it’s called Where My Girls! It’s the Where My Girls Initiative. You know, as a female artist, it’s been hard. I’ve been doing it for a few years, and it helps to have your own knowledge, because then you don’t have to wait on anyone to tell you things—you can kind of do your own thing. So I want to start instilling that in girls now. I wish I had that when I was starting, you know?
Yeah, I mean as a New Yorker, do you feel compelled to kind of pay it forward to the community and just younger girls like you were saying?
Oh yeah, I owe New York. I owe New York City everything. Born and raised here, and I don’t know, I taught dance schools, I’ve just always had a thing with the girls. Even my last performance, at my release event, I had these little girls, like 8, and they shut it down with me. We ended with shake and bake, and they knew all the moves, and we killed it. So I love keeping the kids involved, and just positive things.
So many icons have come out of New York—do you feel like you’re building on that legacy or do you think about that stuff when you’re making music?
I think I’m building on it, but I also think I helped start it. Because when I first came out, when I was doing shows at Contra and The Dark Room, there were no girls doing it like me. And even the transgender and the queer crowd, that’s so infiltrated in music now, that wasn’t there, that didn’t exist when I started. So it’s like, they will sometimes call me the legend, or the icon, because I kind of started the “I-don’t-give-a-fuck” phase, I’m gonna wear what I want and I’m gonna dance on the stage crazy. So I am building on it but I do believe I am a founder of it. Run and tell that! [Laughs]
How have you seen it change just since you’ve been around?
I’m just glad it’s growing. I’m glad that people are able to be themselves on stage and be understood and related to, so I’m happy. The more the merrier. I’ve never been selfish, I love sharing empowerment and growth with everyone, so I love it. Everyone’s cool, everybody’s my homie, so it’s like whenever we see each other it’s all love. I love my Cakes da Killas, my Nokias, and all my kids running round here, so we’re like family, at the end of the day, it’s like a music fam.
Now that the album’s out, what’s in the pipeline for you for the rest of the year?
I am very excited to start touring again. We’re gonna start planning it, hopefully for October, and I’m excited for that. That’s where I thrive the most, I love making the music and shooting videos and having fun, but there’s nothing like performing to me. So I can’t wait. As much as I love New York, I love taking trips and then coming back. And then it’s like, ah, reflection.
I feel like when you leave and then come back you have fresh eyes on everything too.
Mhhmm. And it’s just so dope, because you know the internet is, it’s like I have friends around the world. I could go to Australia and I will know people there already, in a place I’ve never been, on the other side of the world. It’s so crazy and I love that. I have friends all over and I want to meet them all. It’s pretty awesome. So I’m ready to see everyone again, perform, get the stuff percolating, circulating, yeah.
Featured image courtesy of Dai Burger
Stay tuned to more fresh NYC talent.