Winter never gets too cold in the Southeast but damn if most of us aren’t waiting for the blooms and blue skies to come through soon. Many artists have been cozied up pushing their creativity these past months in preparation for regal summer bops and Ripparachie has been proactive in putting together “Flickin Shade”, a mood made for the pool but also in clear claim of one’s personal psychic protection. With pop panache, “Flickin Shade” shines some sun on our eager await for Spring and Summer while being a strong statement on doing his own thing, not paying mind to the toxic energy and naysayers, whether it be thru their jealousy or faux morality.
Produced by Marvin Cruz (Soulja Boy, Riff Raff, Chief Keef), this collab brings out Rachie’s realized potential with elevated slickness and sass master manifestos. Though floating-on-cloud frivoli is invoked, “Flickin Shade” is by no means fluff. A taste at shortly under 2 minutes, this single showcases the dynamic flow of the rapper’s beats within beats, pointed word play and syllables, positioning “Flickin Shade” as anything but flat despite the sweet simplicity of accompanying synth sets.
Though Rachie’s lyrics are not overtly queer, bits and pieces peak thru. “Flickin Shade” contains small references to his sexuality as well as a nod to the legendary Harvey Milk. Within is also a slight shout out to Fee Roc, a brother who passed away from cancer a few years back, and importantly the first person to start calling the artist by the name Ripparachie, in mirror of Liberace, “because of being feminine before I even came out the closet”. Born in Lafayette, IN and growing up in studios, thanks to his producer father, Ripparachie’s first show was booked at the tender age of 14, opening for Too $hort. Regardless of legal troubles as an adolescent, Rachie’s mom always made sure he always kept recording, going back and forth to Chicago to pave his path as a young rapper.
Fast forward and after being jumped due to homophobia in 2015, Ripparachie had enough of the closed minded community he was around. He packed his shit and moved to ATL, bringing family and producer Kaddy Kobain. Not knowing many people on the scene, Rachie got an opp in 2018 by Candy Ken who was in search of a verse. Soon enough, he started recording with Lord Narf and other Awful Record members, and the momentum grew from there, perfecting his flirtations with genres he closest describes as “ratchet, trap, and cunt”.
Coming out of the closet and fully embracing who he is fully and apologetically has only further motivated Ripparachie to transcend both in sound and appearance as a more positive rapper. His vibe works seamlessly within a range of subject matters whether it be the folly of the club, going nuts like its New Year's Eve or prompting the audiences to feel his story and truly hear what he is saying and what he has processed.
There is no doubt that identity plays into everything Ripparachie raps about, even if it might be more subtle than overt, especially to the un-queer ear. His signature fashion shade as of late has been pink, part due to their project, The Pink Panther Party, but also due to his experiences when canvassing on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign. “I felt like I was on the front line for my LGBTQ community,” Rachie remembers. “I've had knives pulled out on me just for asking if someone had a minute for LGBTQ rights and that day was when I felt like enough is enough.” Something as simple as wearing pink is a subtle fuck you to the toxic masculinity and homophobia he’s dealt with outright from cis society in general and even in the rap community, a simple but strong solidarity of queer pride.
“Gays have their own lingo and I bring it to the trap. I want people to see the other sides of being openly gay and actually being out here on these streets,” the artist explains. “It's not safe out here and I want people to know that there's some of us out here trying to bridge that gap, especially in the black community. It shouldn't be this dangerous to be LGBTQ. You might hear me mention about plugs not judging me or something similar and that's because I want people to know that there are real people out there that don't discriminate. Only those afraid of themselves are homophobic.”
Ripparachie walks what he talks, not just another openly gay musician for the media perks, but a person who has lived and felt the pain and ridicule and wants to see actual change. Hoping to see more QPOC on all platforms, knowing the respect is long overdue, Ripparachie has proudly made himself visible as a queer rapper and we have a feeling the perfection of “Flickin Shade” is just part of the beginning to the artist’s future deserved rise and recognition.
Sunni Johnson is the Arts Editor of WUSSY and a writer, zinester, and musician based in Atlanta, GA.