On June 1st, 2023, openly queer and international artists Aja, Kezra Leon, xMetalMouthx, Big Daddy Karsten, Jesse Paradice, Nuépa, Bryce Quartz, Shilow and Count Klassy dropped their one of a kind, joint project, ‘Bargasm’.
Credited as an international cypher, enriched with queer identities spanning across 9 different styles of lyricism and wordplay, this collaboration is trailblazing within the scope of the rap and hip hop communities, while highlighting queer excellence. “We want to create a platform for our community that can become a regular release and encourage collaboration,” says Shilow, the founder of Bargasm and one of 9 artists featured on the project.
“If the industry doesn’t want to do it, then we will just do it ourselves,” notes Aja, television star and one of the artists on the roster.
This is history in the making and as Big Daddy Karsten says, “The gayluminati is real, and we’re angry.”
We had a quick chat with two of the beary talented artists from this cypher, our friend Big Daddy Karsten, and Bear World Magazine contributing writer, Bryce Quartz, to get more of the tea about “Bargasm.”
Kyle Jackson: Can you tell us about Bargasm and how it all came to be/whose idea was it?
Bryce Quartz: Bargasm is an LGBTQ+ rap cypher with 9 artists from around the world, including Karsten and I. It also includes Aja (NYC), JesseParadice (Cleveland, OH), Shilow (Kansas City, MO), Nuepa (Toronto, CA), Kezra Leon (Tampa, FL), xMetalMouthx (Lumberton, NC), and Count Klassy (Toronto, CA).
Shilow reached out to me about a year ago and asked if I’d be down to be on the track, and of course I said yes! I get to rap about gay shit with a bunch of my peers? Sign me up!
It’s taken us pretty much the entire year to plan it all out with videos, the audio, the branding, etc. I’m just excited it’s finally out!
Big Daddy Karsten: I was hit up by Shilow about a year ago, just like a month after we did the song “Lazy Bitch” together, and told me he wanted to do something like an XXL freshman cypher thing, but queer! I thought it was a good idea and connected him with Swedish artist/producer Soleil Camara, who also produced “Lazy Bitch”, and the ball started rolling!
Kyle Jackson: It feels like we might be witnessing an important part of queer history with Bargasm. Do you feel this way, and how does it feel to be a part of it?
Big Daddy Karsten: This is definitely a turning point in Queer history, but also Hip-hop history. A lot of queer people rap, very few do Hip-hop. There’s a big difference between rapping and actually doing Hip-hop. This cypher is Hip-hop in its purest form – A cypher, competitive rapping, where no star status matters. It’s just all about who got the best bars.
I don’t think this has been done internationally, and with such a big contrast in style and popularity. It really is a beautiful moment.
Bryce Quartz: Yea, it definitely feels this way for me at times, mainly because there’s such broad representation here from LGBTQ+ rappers where all of us have our own unique style and sound. In a time where our community is being attacked continuously by prejudice and hatred, I am proud that we have all come together on this track to just be explicitly queer and true to ourselves.
Kyle Jackson: What do you hope this project will do for Queer representation in the media?
Bryce Quartz: This project wholeheartedly shows solidarity between different LGBTQ+ subcultures, and that’s how it should be represented. This project also shows how powerful we are when we come together as a community. Queer people belong in hip-hop too, and this cypher proves that we’re only growing and evolving. We are here to stay, so get over it!
Big Daddy Karsten: I don’t know, maybe I just hope to show that Queer people do this globally, and that we do it just as well, or maybe even better than a lot of these straight rappers who get put on by the straight people running these gigantic platforms – The platforms that keep “Gayt-keeping” us out of the big picture.
Kyle Jackson: Why do you think the industry has failed to take notice of Queer artists and do you think this is changing/will change?
Bryce Quartz: The industry is just now catching up to the mainstream power Queer people have now, and always have had. We’ve always been around to influence everyone else, but I believe now is our time to start taking the forefront and spotlight. The LGBTQ+ community is full of talent and skill. There are hundreds of talented drag queens, musicians, visual artists, writers, etc who are all queer, and it’s time the public takes notice.
Unfortunately, with the way our world works, it’s gonna take some more time before we get the true representation we all deserve. Some of us may never get that. But it’s up to us as creatives to keep pushing forward even when it feels like nothing will change. Just being ourselves and doing our thing is powerful and is the only thing that will continue to push us forward as a community.
Big Daddy Karsten: These things come and go in waves. Queer entertainers make it, Queer rappers who actually do Hip-hop don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I love the queer entertainers out there, who are being labeled as “Hip-hop artists.” But, they’re doing it big!
There’s a lot of talent but, to me, personally, I have a hard time defining them as “Hip-hop artists.” In some ways, that can be said about the type of stuff I do sometimes, as well. But THIS is Hip-hop, and I highly doubt that you will see music like this done by other Queer artists topping charts any time soon.
Kyle Jackson: What do you hope fans get from “Bargasm”?
Big Daddy Karsten: I hope fans get that “screw face” from hearing these bars! You know, that face you make when you’ve just seen a car crash and you can smell the toxic fumes in the air? That’s the face real Hip-hop fans make when they hear a top tier bar that just hits different.
Bryce Quartz: I hope they get slapped in the face with the gay agenda and come back for second rounds. You know, just like they did with their neighbor last week. I hope they see how much work we all put into this, because we’ve been sitting on this for quite some time. And lastly, I hope they see how fun it is just being yourself and having fun!
Kyle Jackson: In just three words, describe what you think fans should expect from it.
Big Daddy Karsten: Diversity, togetherness, and FIRE!
Bryce Quartz: Originality, diversity, and cum. Jk, there’s no cum! But maybe there can be. I don’t know… (side glance)