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Q&A: QUEEN TUT

Seshat Queen Tut crowned herself well before she began performing for the public, but it didn’t take long for the confident emcee to gain loyal subjects. Tut made a splash in her debut feature, inviting listeners to join her artistic journey on the opening verse of AR Wesley’s “Drug Flow RMX.” Since then she’s laced her royal rhymes on fellow Milwaukee musicians’ material and even graced the Summerfest stage with Lex Allen. She's released her first official project, the “Psychedelic Traphouse” EP. The five-song EP encapsulates Tut’s myriad influences and musical tastes. She pays homage to Jimi Hendrix on one song, sings with Abby Jeanne REBEL LOVE (who co-produced the EP) on another, and displays her equally smooth and razor sharp flow on each.

To see Tut perform live takes her music to another level. She commands the stage with a ferocious sweetness, complemented by a beautifully bold sense of style. Tut is most at home when surrounded by fellow creatives and she’s thrived off Milwaukee’s bubbling music scene.She’s an affiliate of the New Age Narcissism collective and SAFS crew, having accomplished all of this in less than a year.

Queen Tut on Tap Milwaukee

AMFM: You moved around a lot as a kid and went to a bunch of different schools. Did that make it difficult to create your identity? And what are the major influences that informed your identity?

QUEEN TUT: I think moving around a lot actually preserved my identity. Meeting new people constantly changes your perspective and reminds you how important your identity is to you. Growing up, I felt like the world was trying to silence me. It was difficult for me as a kid because I so desperately wanted to be myself. I was always going against some dress code, or going my own way when my friends would follow trends. My influences are vast, and come from everywhere from Tim Burton to Pam Grier.

AMFM: On the song “Carrie’s Revenge” off your debut EP you and fellow Milwaukee emcee Zed Kenzo rap about the tribulations of being weirdos. What is your message to people who bully and hate on those who are eccentric and different?

QUEEN TUT: My message is simple. It is courageous to walk out of your home knowing who you are, what you look like, and what you believe in, which may upset people to the point that they single you out. It is not courageous to walk outside wearing a disguise that makes you just as uncomfortable or unhappy. Life is too short to walk around being anyone but yourself.

AMFM: When we first talked at the beginning of the summer you were super new to the Milwaukee music scene, but people were already seeking you out. How did it feel to get that recognition early on?

QUEEN TUT: It was humbling. To he honest, I never thought for a second people would respond to my work in this way. I have/had no expectations, so when anybody recognizes me or shows love, I'm always thankful and appreciative. As a female emcee, it feels amazing to be welcomed so warmly by a scene dominated by male performers.

 

AMFM: You said one of your summer plans was to immerse yourself in the local music scene. What have you learned so far?

QUEEN TUT: I've learned that this city is filled with hidden gems. Milwaukee has so much talent and potential. The bands and collectives in our backyard need our support, and if we show enough love, our music scene can get the recognition it deserves.

AMFM: This summer you went to Afropunk in Brooklyn. What did you draw from that experience?

QUEEN TUT: Afropunk was my dream come true. I always wanted to go and felt like this year was the right time. Seeing Lauryn Hill, Grace Jones, Kelis, Lenny Kravitz, and newcomers like Kelela and SZA shaped my journey, and opened my eyes to how necessary music with a message is.

AMFM: I recently saw a trailer for a documentary about the 94-year-old fashion icon Iris Apfel. Where does your style come from and how important is fashion to you?

QUEEN TUT: My style is inspired by world cultures, my experiences, and art. I don't box myself in and I allow myself freedom of expression. Fashion isn't necessarily extremely important to me. I'm more about the aesthetic. I prefer great personal style over big labels.

FOR MORE FROM QUEEN TUT:
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PHOTO CREDITS: QUEEN TUT
CONTRIBUTING WRITER: JOEY GRIHALVA