No matter what kind of song she makes, Dai consistently delivers cheeky, uplifting bars. The queen of Queens acknowledges her role as one of the queens of New York’s underground. But now she is ready for the international spotlight.
Her new album, Bite The Burger, builds on everything she has made thus far. She is more confident than ever, keeping her signature playfulness. This energy shines on the bouncy singles “Salty,” “Flame Emoji,” and “Vitamin P.” Dai Burger puts it best herself on the final track when she commands, “Who gon’ check me boo? I’m downright uncheckable.”
Shirt, and skirt by Junlin He.
In “Salty,” you say you’ve got the recipe. What is it?
It’s a secret recipe! But it’s got some splashes, and dashes, of everything you need! A little sugar, a little spice, a little bit of everything nice—but go easy on the salt, please.
It’s clear from your music that you’re sweet, not salty. It is inclusive—all about everyone enjoying themselves. What keeps you so positive?
I’m just a positive person. I’m an Aquarius. I grew up as an only child, so I’m very outgoing. I want to have fun when I meet new people …because I’ve been alone [for] so long. I like making friends, having parties, and hosting people because I didn’t have that growing up. That makes me more outgoing in the sense of ‘Yeah, everyone come!’ Come one, come all; I want to party with everyone. I’ve gotta keep the positivity flowing.
You give back, and fundraise for causes, too.
Yes! I’m happy to do shows for fundraisers. Recently, I did a show at Mood Ring to raise money for Hope for Pedro—to help fundraise for a friend of mine who was in a tragic accident, to help with his medical bills. They are still accepting love, prayers, and donations. And this weekend, I am one of the headliners for a fundraiser for queer, and trans women of color, with drag acts, and queer performing acts. I gotta show up for all my girls, and all my girls means ALL my girls—and I accept everyone as such.
And you have a charity project called Where My Girls. How is that going?
It’s been going well! We are planning our next trip. A little bit about the project: we bring in young girls from ages 9 to 18, and bring them to my home studio, the Brewery Recording in Brooklyn. We teach them songwriting skills, equipment, how to record, how to manage time. It’s to give back because like I said: growing up I never had someone to show me these things, or let me know that there’s even a future in just being yourself, perfecting who you are, your craft, your hobbies to turn into a future career. They need to know that!
And while people were doing it before, in the past decade or so, there is definitely more room to pave your own way.
The internet has helped and changed everything. And it has its ups and downs, but DIY is in. You can make whatever you want!
On the topic of the internet, how has that affected how you work?
This day and age is all about creating content. If you don’t have content, you’ll get lost. People will forget your art; they will forget what you’ve been standing for, or selling. You’ve got to stay on your toes with your content, delivery, and your internet presence.
Content, and culture move so quickly now, too.
You’ve either got to do something best, or do it first. If you make something new, people can always replicate it. I don’t worry about that, though—I like to stay two steps ahead. If you get copied, you’re already on to the next look. Well, I am… haha!
Shirt by Junlin He; jacket, and pants by The Recluse Club.
One of the tracks on your album is called “Five Dubbz” (as in Five Ws - who, what, when, where, and why). I’ve got five of my own:
Who are you rolling with lately?
My clique, my crew, my day ones, my A-1s. I keep my inner circle small, but I keep my friend net wide, and growing. My elementary school friends are still around, my best friend.
That’s great that you can tap into old, new, everyone.
And I’ve never changed. I am just being me, and I appreciate people who accept that and just respect me for who I am.
What experiences inspired this album?
On the cover, I am perched in my queen-like state. I’ve come to accept it: I’m a legend. I am one of the queens of the underground. Some call the underground; I’m in queer rap, x-rap—whatever you call it, we are taking over.
Where is your favourite place to be?
Anywhere I am performing. That’s how I gained my notoriety, and entrance into the music scene. I started as a dancer, which turned into doing music, which turned into performing down in the Lower East Side, and in Brooklyn. Performing on coffee tables, moshing. I got known for my crazy performances, and my upbeat music. I love feeding off the energy when I perform live.
When was your favourite performance?
It’s all becoming a blur—I’ve performed over 300 times. Check the resumé, baby! I’m aiming for 3000… But the best was when I did Austin’s pride parade in 2016. I was like a princess with a rainbow dress. My girls, and I, all had our own Mini Coopers in the parade, and I performed from a float. I’m not even from Texas, but there I was, a whole princess. (Shout out to Austin.)
Why do you do what you do?
Because I love it. For my culture: to uplift the people coming behind me, and those who came before me; to represent as a young Black girl in New York City doing it. I made a career out of being myself, and perfecting my craft. I am an artist. I love art. I am art.
Jacket, and pants by The Recluse Club.
You’ve lived, worked, and played all over the city. Quick fire: what are your favorite things about each borough?
Well, in Queens, you’ve got Jamaica Ave. $100 dollars, and you’re a princess there. In Brooklyn, I love the brownstones. There is nothing like them; it’s a culture that can’t be replicated. Manhattan, of course, is the hub: money, transit, art. All types of people are on the subway next to each other. The Bronx, we can ask Cardi B about that. Staten Island, we see you over there, and we’re waving from across the water. We still claim y’all. Long Island gets an honorary mention, too, since I live there now.
♪ I’m at Jones Beach, jones-ing, it’s hot.
I’m drinking thot juice / and I mixed it up with real fruits ♪
—that’s one of my favorite lines from an older song "Canary Yellow."
Any last things to add?
Bite the Burger, or get left to starve! Download my album now.