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“I ripped my skirt on stage my bootyhole was out but im black so aint nobody know lol.” That’s a tweet from Bbymutha, aka Brittnee Moore, on 1 February, 2020, the day she headlined a performance at CTM Festival in Berlin, where her floral miniskirt was subject to a wardrobe malfunction. She gleefully posted a video of the incident – tongue out, laughing, keeping the skirt down with one hand while on the mic with the other. This is Bbymutha in her element: brash, hilarious and absolutely unapologetic.

The day after the CTM performance, I find Bbymutha curled up in her sweats on a couch in a photo studio directly in the shadow of Berlin’s TV Tower. She’s scrolling through her phone, and doesn’t look up as she greets me upon entering the room – which is weird, because at the same time, she’s radiating a warmth that feels almost palpable. She has a wide, toothy grin. A tattoo of a black crescent moon adorns her forehead, behind a cascade of beaded locs. Before I even get through the first question, she casts her phone aside and exclaims: “I was just on the phone with my girlfriend, and I was like, ‘I hope that this motherfucker don’t come up in here asking the cliché-ass interview questions!’ Let’s do a real interview today, because I feel like I’m always out there in my interviews, but I’m finna go hard in this one.”

Duly noted. So, no questions about her choice of stage name (“I got four kids! What you think?”) or trap music (“Because I’m black and I’m from the South, they automatically assume that’s the type of music I make.”)

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© Lucas Christiansen

But still, as the mother of two sets of twins, balancing single parenthood and the demands of an ever-expanding career as Chattanooga, Tennessee’s premier sex-positive rapper must have its challenges. “I don’t sleep. I actually stay up until 5am sometimes because that’s when my older two kids get up to start getting ready for school. The older two are 12 and the younger two are six, so they get themselves dressed. I don’t even be doing shit, I be doing goofy shit, I be making music just in my room. My room is my universe, and I got a cat now so I be in my room playing with my cat. By 7am everyone is out of my house and I’m knocked out until 2pm. That’s my life.”

Well, whatever happens in the universe of Bbymutha’s room in the wee hours of the morning, it’s nothing short of revolutionary. It takes an unusually confident artist to make eclecticism their calling card, to eschew a signature sound in favour of a grab bag of moods, textures and flows that are both wildly divergent and exactly their own. Bbymutha’s ear for beats is uncanny. Take one of her biggest tracks, Rules, which uses a sample of a dog barking as a percussive intro, or BBC, which is built around an elastic bassline and truncated disco synths. “I think about beats the same way I think about men,” she reveals. “When I like a boy, I don’t like his overall package, necessarily. I like features. If you got some nice ass lips and they fit your face, you know? In the beats that I pick, there’s always a noise in it that I operate around.” She pauses. “I wish I could explain this better…” She goes back to her phone and plays an unreleased track, a slow and syrupy number called 11/11, which features a twinkly, arpeggiated piano sample. “So this beat right here. This little sound, that’s what I’m rapping around. I picked that out, and that’s what helps me find the flow.”

During our conversation, Bbymutha’s phone is never far, and every few minutes she illustrates one of her answers with a sound clip, video or screengrab of a text convo. When she mentions Christianity (her SoundCloud profile pic is a headshot of Joel Osteen, the televangelist pastor – “I love him! He’s scamming the Christians, I’m here for it!”) she stops to show me a video of her twerking on a religious protester outside an Earl Sweatshirt show. When I ask how her kids feel about having a rapper as a mom, she plays me a voicemail of her youngest daughter deriding her older brother for being broke. It’s like her brain is constantly firing information at you, and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch enough to piece together a fraction of what she has going on under the surface.

© Lucas Christiansen

“My brain never shuts up, literally,” she says. “Some people can freestyle. I can’t because my brain is constantly throwing out words and rhymes, but I can write for days. People laugh when I go to the studio because n***as really be in there for hours at a time and only get one song done. But I’ll have an hour session and get six songs done. It’s really fun.”

Not only fun, but funny – much of the joy in Bbymutha’s music comes not only from her all-over-the-place lyrical style, but the way she delivers her bars with expert precision. The most compelling example of this is Lil’ Bitch, an incendiary track off her 2018 EP Free Brittnee. “You don’t want yo mama hanging up them missing posters/ You don’t want yo daddy all depressed and in a coma,” she raps, before informing her haters, “I can suck my own dick/ I can suck my own clit.” “I’m funny on purpose!” she laughs. “I feel like my rap style is just poetry, arguments and jokes. Like when you be in the shower and you’re like, ‘Damn, that’s what I should have said in the argument!’ I turn them into raps!”

All Clothes: Daily Paper

© Lucas Christiansen

Bbymutha has gone on record saying she doesn’t consider her music to be political, but while discussing Lil’ Bitch, she concedes that many of her tracks could be where the personal and the political intersect. “I’m all for taking a stance,” she says, after a moment of reflection. “I went through a lot of stuff, so I’m always on defence mode. Even with my fans online, I argue with them bitches so much, and it’s because they don’t respect me, and I don’t do anything but respect people. I just feel like the audacity of these motherfuckers to be talking to me like this when I am providing music for them. I just look at myself like a bitch that be making art. I like art!”

Photography: Lucas Christiansen
Photography Assistants: Max Zimmermann & Corinna Hopmann
Styling: Olive Duran
Styling Assistant: Fanny Kübler
Makeup: Victoria Reuter
Hair: Kosuke Ikeuchi
Set Design: Marilena Büld

© Lucas Christiansen