Today Mykki Blanco releases their first new music of the year by way of “Free Ride,” a single co-produced by FaltyDL and Hudson Mohawke. The track, which was premiered by Annie Mac as her Hottest Record on BBC Radio 1, also marks Mykki’s debut with their new label home, Transgressive Records.
It's been a decade since the moniker Mykki Blanco was created — first as a video art project on social media and then as a vehicle for self-discovery in the journey of forming their identity. In that time, they have pushed hip hop to some of its most untethered bounds, melding noise and experimental elements with club and trap sounds, whilst also forging a uniquely subversive path within a genre which had historically been very homopobic and transphobic. Today’s single ushers in a new era for the artist, a next phase which represents a significant evolution in the maturity and growth of their acumen in the craft of songwriting and musicianship.
The genesis of “Free Ride” dates back to Spring 2018 during a few days of recording sessions in NYC. Mykki had just ended their first long-term relationship and the experience is reflected on the track’s refrain, “What I wouldn’t do for love.” While the result was an early favorite among the new tracks, it was then set aside until Hudson Mohawke added his unique signature in the summer of 2020, giving it a new lease of life. Mykki exuberantly described it as a “perfect union” between the producers and the ideal launch song for their next set of releases. Last month, updates to the vocals were recorded at Falty’s newly built Falty Towers Studio in Brooklyn. “Free Ride” was mixed by James Rand and features backing vocals by Grammy-nominated Mykal Kilgore as well as Leah King and L1ZY.
Of the track Mykki notes, "Some of the most intimate moments and conversations I have ever shared were with my mother on long drives in the Southern countryside when I was a teenager. The music that soundtracked these memories on our daily journeys was the stuff of my mother’s generation. I would find myself daydreaming, reflecting and envisioning the kind of life I would like to create for myself. These memories and the music of Luther Vandross were the first inspirations behind the creation of my new song “Free Ride”.
Hannah shares that “it was one of my most enjoyable shooting experiences so far. The collaboration with Mykki was based on trust and respect since day one. I met them by chance, and, as we like to say together, it had to happen. If I had to describe some of my intentions with this video, I think I would say that I wanted to picture my representation of the family experience: mixed, unstructured, messy, and yet full of love. I also aimed to break the traditional codes affiliated with a religious gathering like a christening, obviously to try to make it more fun. And finally, with humility and some derision, I wanted to overlap my idea of "the world from before" and hopefully the world that will come after.”
Mykki notes that the scenes reflect some of their aspirations for their future life and also what the experience of creating this video was like, “Seeing the first edit of this video was actually very emotional for me personally. I’m at a place in my life now where I know I want to have a family of my own one day and that I have entered a more mature phase of my life where this is a kind of thing I think about now. And on a professional level, I know videos have been such a key part of my journey and this truly feels like a video which is showing the world something new from me. Especially in light of the year we have all been through with the pandemic with limited engagement in person with those we love, this just feels like such a warm and positive visual to be sharing with the world to recall the joy we’ve been missing from gatherings like this and an encouragement to remain optimistic in looking forward to be able to return to engaging like this with those who we love. I am so grateful and impressed by Hannah and Division and the rest of the team involved with bringing this video to life, the video has such a beautiful cinematic feel to it and really captured what I’d hoped we would be able to show with the video for this song.”