VICE Noisey music's Kim Taylor Bennet gets up close and personal with Tt The Artist
Upstairs in an innocuous looking two-story house south Baltimore, is a small room, painted teal green and plastered with flyers and press clippings featuring producer and DJ Mighty Mark and spitfire rapper Tt The Artist. There’s a couple of laptops, a bunch of synths, and a tiny closet padded out with foam, illuminated by a single bulb. Mighty Mark calls this the headquarters of Zoo on Mars Entertainment and it’s in these cramped environs where Tt—that’s Tedra Wilson—lay down vocals for Diplo and Swick’s “Dat a Freak.” It’s also where she busted out arguably the best ode to cunnilingus, “Pussy Ate” (above).
“Right here, this is where we get it on and poppin, you feel me,” says Tt. “We got this special light, you can’t get this anywhere. Boom!”
Mighty Mark adds with a wry smile: “Million dollar budget.”
It’s a bit grimy, it’s 100% DIY—the set up is authentically Baltimore. A city that’s passed over by many touring bands, a city forever tied to The Wire, and more recently the set of gritty political drama House of Cards. It’s a city director John Waters has been flying the (freak) flag for for years, but in the past decade the metropolis has seen an artistic resurgence thanks to musicians like Dan Deacon and the Wham City crew back in the mid-2000s, thanks DJ K-Swift (who sadly passed away in ’08). Thanks to artists like Abdu Ali and DDm, The Space Is the Place Records, and hubs like The Crown and arts/film/music space Metro Gallery.
Hailing from Ft. Lauderdale—where she segued from marching band to rap battles in high school—Tt first moved to Baltimore for art school in 2002. Straight after graduation she hot-footed it to New York, but juggling three jobs, seven days a week hustling to pay bills meant that there was no time (or brain space) left for artistic endeavors. Since moving back from NY to Bmore in ’08 she’s come into her own.
“When I came in as a spectator I felt like I had to build real relationships with the community,” explains Tt, who currently splits her time between making music, organizing live art shows, and teaching video at Baltimore City Design School.
“She's more Baltimore than me,” nods Mighty Mark.
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