Published on August 8th, 2012 | by Wild Gender0
ELEVEN QUESTIONS with Heidi Barton Stink
Heidi Barton Stink is a hip-hop artist and trans activist based in Minneapolis. Her work is as much an invitation to community building and accountability as it is a call to arms for queer liberation. Her rhymes are hard hitting without sacrificing wit and humor. During live performances, Stink holds the stage with a natural vivacity and demanding presence that is not easily achieved when rapping over a backing track. Heidi Barton Stink’s sophomore album A Charming Gut contains tracks such as “Consent Song”, on the importance of sexual consent, and Freak Show, railing on the inappropriate questions often asked of trans and gender variant people. A Charming Gut knows that social change begins at home though isn’t afraid to kick down the door.
What what was the last thing you listened to?
I was just listening to ball bearings dropping into bucket of butterscotch pudding.
The last place you visited?
Dave’s Discount Pudding Emporium in northeast Minneapolis
The last thing you said to yourself?
“Shit, my ball bearings.”
I think its important how love and positivity in so pervasive in your music while still being bold, assertive, and tough as shit. When was the last time you were filled with a sense of love?
There are a lot of queers, trans people and rad kids in Minneapolis that make me all squishy inside. My heart is all a-flutter whenever I see my people, I’m full of love.
At what moment did you know you wanted to start rapping?
Damn I don’t even know. I know I always wanted to be a performer and at some point in high school my secret bad poetry became bad raps.
Thoughts in your head the first time you took the stage?
“I wonder if any of this sounds any good. Why are their children at this bar? Did I leave my oven on?”
What makes you want to keep rapping?
Mania mostly, but when somebody I’ve never met tells me how much my music means to them, I feel like it’s getting out there. Reaching people, them connecting with my ideas.
What other artists are inspiring you right now?
Mostly my crew here In Minneapolis. See More Perspective is my hero, he’s my albums producer and he raps on a couple songs as well. He brings this really positive energy into whatever work he’s doing, he’s fun, he’s entertaining, he makes HipHop music that sounds amazing and he uses this as a platform to educate.
Kaoz is a rapper, poet and actor I work with from time to time. He really examines issues that effect gay men of color and pretty much everyone else in a fresh and exciting way. Kaoz raps about sex and fostering a culture of responsibility around sex, with the bluntness and veracity of a political poet. Which I guess he is, because what’s more politicized than bodies and sex.
My dude Guante is also great. National Slam poetry champ, writer of beautiful songs and almost as neurotic as me.
Calculus, I have never written a good song about calculus.
So we have crossed paths a couple times. Your performances blow my mind and then you leave before I can engage you in any meaningful conversation. Because of that I have come to think of you as Batwoman or some other elusive super heroine. What super power do you feel would be most relevant to your life and why?
Pyrokinesis, I feel like a lot of shit that should be on fire is not on fire.
What have you been working on lately?
I just put out an album called A Charming Gut earlier this summer that I’m really proud of. My next project is top secret, but right now I’m working on getting butterscotch out the pockets of my favorite jumper.
Check out “Freak Show,” a track by Stink.