This Rapper/Performance Artist Will Totally Mindf**k You [Exclusive]
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you put a performance artist, clothes from VFiles, cheap tequila, early Uffie, Big Willie Style-era Will Smith, and weed in a blender? Well, now we have your answer. Meet Poorgrrrl, a rapper of sorts, who purposefully, defiantly, makes absolutely no sense.
Poorgrrrl was born in Miami as the alter-ego/performance project of Tara Long, a Parsons-educated artist. She works in what Long refers to as “broken word”—rap that’s not quite rap, not quite spoken word, or slam poetry, or whatever college kids did in coffeehouses in 1994. But she makes some bangers. Working alongside producer Andrew Byrd (not the dude with the fiddle), aka Byrdipop, who also goes by DJ Buddy Boy, Poorgrrrl makes music that simultaneously makes you want to shake your ass, get high, and zone out, and leaves one wondering, “What the actual fuck?”
Poorgrrl is nothing if not sharply self-aware. Lyrics include, “I sound so fucking stupid… / What the fuck am I doing?… / Dumb shit over and over.” But a lot of people don’t think it’s so dumb (including us). Poorgrrrl has performed alongside big names like Le1f and Shamir, and, judging from the local press, she seems to be a beloved cult figure in Miami.
Like the city itself, she’s made of contradictions; Miami is a place where tacky clubs live alongside the highest of high-end art, all while maintaining a status as one of America’s greatest actual melting pots. As a Miami native, Long (and by extension, Poorgrrrl) contains elements of both the city’s glamorous and darker qualities, all wrapped up in one enigmatic package. But who really knows—she also told us she may want to move soon, to Japan or the Netherlands.
Perhaps the best example of the Poorgrrrl aesthetic comes from Long’s “Triptic” video, which received so much vitriol from trolls that there’s a whole Reddit thread devoted to their hatred. Long loves the meanest comments.
We think Poorgrrrl is going to be big—she has an official EP, PITIPARTI (lol) coming out later this month through Milan-based label Parachute Records. We talked after Long’s most recent trip to New York, where she enjoyed some excellent tourist attractions. Read on for a taste of wonderful crazy, and listen to an exclusive Poorgrrrl album preview below.
Did you do anything fun last night?
I was on Reddit for like four hours last night. [Laughs]
What did you find?
Some weird videos. [Laughs] Not much going on.
“I’m really over all of these annoying situations where you have to be this bad bitch in a thong stomping around in your high heels.”
That’s what Reddit’s good for. I have a lot of questions. I’m so excited to talk to you. So I know Poorgrrrl started on Instagram, but could you tell me a little bit about how you decided to create her? How it came about?
We just kind of needed to come out, and then she did. She busted on out.
How would you describe her?
She’s kind of dumb. You know, she’s really real and she’s kind of dumb, but she has a weird intelligence of her own that is very unique.
I see that. And why “Poorgrrrl” as opposed to, like, “Rich Girl?”
I’m really over all of these annoying situations where you have to be this bad bitch in a thong stomping around in your high heels. I just feel like it’s so far from the truth, and if I can just be my damn self and be cool about it, then it would feel a lot better than thinking I have to go in a lot further than where I’m actually at.
I love that. And you live in Miami, and I feel like Miami is bad-bitch-in-high-heels central, right?
Central. It is the epicenter here of all that.
How do you feel like Poorgrrrl fits in Miami? Do you think she stands out in terms of what goes on in the city?
I think there’s a lot more people that vibe with her than you’d think; even the bitches stomping around in heels are like, “Oh, true. True.” She’s from here; she’s definitely a Miami girl. It’s like a side of Miami people haven’t seen yet.
I’ve never been to Miami. What’s that side like?
It’s definitely more of the “I’ve lived here my whole life and I’m unamused” feeling. I think a lot of what people hear of Miami and see in media is very curated, and there’s a huge lack of reality of what life is like here. It’s just a whole different vibe when you’re from here. You kind of have to live in that shit and be at the clubs and work at the clubs. It’s definitely an attitude that’s here that I haven’t seen portrayed yet in media.
I loved “Triptic,” your collection of three songs, but I was reading in the Miami New Times that you guys got bad comments about it. What did people say?
Oh man, this is the best. It’s basically perfect for Poorgrrrl to get these comments on a song. The song is called, “We Trashy,” so it’s not necessarily funny to us that people said, “This is garbage.” Like, yeah, it is! [Laughs] Exactly! One person told us we are cancer or we should have cancer. People wanted to do drugs with us, they think we’re on drugs. They think I’m 16 and have a trust fund and that this is a full-blown art school project. It’s so good!
It actually has its own Reddit, like a full-blown forum under “Delusional Female Rapper.” Pretty incredible.
Nuts! And this thread is super long too. So did you like the trolls?
Once the trolls have found you, it means you’re real. [Laughs] I exist.
Most people get really pissed about trolls. I think this is a good attitude.
We could write troll material. Bringing ‘em out. Callin’ ‘em out.
I wanted to ask more about the music. I read that you call it, “broken word.” Could you describe that a little?
People are having a hard time describing what this is. They keep trying to describe it as something that already exists, which is not happening because I’m not a rapper and I’m not a—I don’t know. They’re just things that I’m not. I feel like I’m talking and I’m talking shit, so it’s kind of like spoken word, but spoken word is kind of lame. The words and lyrics also are very broken, broken out of structure and context. I busted [that phrase] out once, probably by mistake, and I was like, oh, that works.
You love Drake, and compare yourself to Drake.
Poorgrrrl loves Drake.
What do you think of Views?
I think after [Lemonade], the male population needed something like Views. I don’t know how to describe the Poorgrrrl Drake thing, but it’s like a real thing. Drake and Poorgrrrl have a lot in common in a weird way.
You both are all over the internet. How do you feel about it?
If it wasn’t for the internet, I wouldn’t exist.
Polaroids shot exclusively for Milk by Tara Long and Andrew Byrd
Additional images by Devin Christopher and Sarah Moody
PITIPARTI will be released July 22nd through Parachute Records.