Queer artist Bryce Quartz is no stranger to a bit of controversy. Known as Greensboro, North Carolina’s official queer, cubby rapper, he has released such tough and hard-hitting tracks such as “Make America Gay Again” and the diss track “F.U. (Falwell University)”.
In “F.U.”, Bryce details his experience and disdain of Liberty University, the world’s largest Christian University, where he attended from 2015-2016. Following the release of the music video for the track, which was filmed on campus, Bryce was banned from the school, despite the fact that the LGBTQ+ community on campus rallied behind him.
Bryce now runs a local queer music showcase in North Carolina that provides a safe space for queer artists to express themselves without fear of judgement. He has garnered support from well known musicians Ryan Cassata and CJ Run, Jaye Naima, and GodIsMikey, and plans to continue to use his platform to uplift queer artists.
Bryce will be releasing his new track “Game Over!” on all platforms on Friday, July 31st, and this is guaranteed to be one of his best tracks yet! It’s flamboyant, bouncy, and perfectly captures who Bryce is as an artist: bright, fun, and energetic!
We had a chance to catch up with Bryce to talk about his new single, his experiences as a queer artist, and what we should expect next from him!
Kyle Jackson: How and when did you get started in the industry?
Bryce Quartz: I started writing and releasing music in 2018 after several major life changes. I transitioned into adulthood very abruptly and I never really got the chance to figure out what I wanted to do in life. I remember being at home one day, listening to a song from BROCKHAMPTON, and hearing lines from Kevin Abstract and being able to identify with it.
I realized that I could do it too, even as an openly gay man, despite what the industry typically portrays — Making music finally gave me a purpose in life. I’m lucky to even be alive today. It’s important for me to share my story as a proud and out queer person because some people never live to tell theirs.
I want my music to help young queer people feel confident about themselves and know that things do get better with time, no matter what. I think I really started making a name for myself when I released my music video for my song “F.U. (Falwell University)”, which is a direct diss track towards Liberty University, the school I attended in 2015-2016.
Jerry Falwell, Sr. blamed 9/11 on the gays and feminists, so I burned my student ID on his eternal flame grave. Once I dropped that, I would get messages from people thanking me for speaking up, and telling me that I inspired them. That’s when I knew I was doing something right.
KJ: What do you find most challenging about being a queer cub rapper in the industry?
BQ: The industry is known for gatekeeping. Lil Nas X didn’t come out until AFTER he broke records. Frank Ocean never really officially came out, but he was famous long before he even hinted at it publicly.
There’s a reason for this: Queer people aren’t welcome in Hip-Hop, and we never have been. The ones that do find success have always had to pave their own way or keep it a secret. I think that’s the most challenging part — Making a way for myself with no handouts is not an easy task, but if I want it as bad as I do, I have to believe in that and work my ass off towards it.
However, I also think it’s difficult to navigate the industry within the underground LGBTQ+ community. For instance, I find myself feeling insecure in the Bear community because I’m not this picture perfect image of a Bear or a Cub. So I’ve had to learn to feel comfortable in my own skin and be confident about who I am.
It’s okay that I’m not the spitting image of the hottest Cub around because I’m me, and that’s all that should matter! At the end of the day, I’m here to authentically be myself, share my story in hopes that it helps people, and make fun music in the process.
KJ: Who are some of your musical influences?
BQ: This is one of the hardest questions because I take inspiration from so many! Frank Ocean and Blood Orange are my favorites right now. Their lyricism and musicianship never ceases to amaze me.
I look up to and take inspiration from Flo Milli, Megan Thee Stallion, BROCKHAMPTON, A$AP Mob (A$AP Ferg is my fav lol), Mac Miller, Denzel Curry, Flatbush Zombies, Tyler, The Creator, Rico Nasty, Princess Nokia, 03 Greedo, MF Doom, Common, Nas, and Childish Gambino, among others.
I’ve also been a fan of Big Dipper for quite a while. In fact, he was probably the first gay rapper I ever knew about. I’m also constantly inspired by my good friend and rap dad, Big Daddy Karsten. He’s helped push me into being a more well-rounded and professional artist, and I can’t thank him enough for his friendship and love.
KJ: What can audiences expect from your new track and album that they’ve never heard from you before?
BQ: For my new single “Game Over!”, you can expect a bouncy and fun track that conveys my exuberance and energy to a T. It’s a refreshing, high-spirited song that exudes confidence and represents what is to come from my next mixtape American Queer, Vol. 3: Third Times A Charm.
You can expect clever wordplay and vibrant, sunny day vibes. It’s exactly what I want to represent as a young Lil’ Cub: quirky, enthusiastic, and fun-loving.
It’s a stark contrast from the abrasive and angry songs I’ve released in the past, and I’m so excited for the world to see this side of me!
Be sure to look out for Bryce Quartz’s new single “Game Over!” on all music platforms July 31!
Watch Bryce Quartz’s music videos for “F.U. (Falwell University)” and “Make America Gay Again” below!