“I make KillaCorn music,” says Pinky KillaCorn, the rising rapper from uptown D.C. “I make my own genre of music. I can’t really put it in a category.”
The 27-year-old describes “KillaCorn music” as a personalized mixture of gangster rap, jazz and especially D.C.’s homegrown go-go sound. She got her start rapping over go-go. But before she started freestyling, the MC involved herself in after-school arts programs, performing West African dance and taking part in musicals like The Wiz and Once On This Island.
“I’m everywhere, doing everything and there’s nothing you can do about it,” KillaCorn says.
That explains her unique stage name, which she devised after a talk with her producer. Learning that corn appears in food and even fuel, KillaCorn (who chose not to disclose her legal name) did some research, and found out corn comes in basically everything. She decided she wanted to aim for the same kind of ubiquity — to become as universal as corn.
But the rapper wants to do it on her own terms. “As long as I don’t look like everyone else,” she says, “then I’m cool.”
With candy-pink hair and a bright smile, KillaCorn does stand out. Her relaxed but driven vocal style caught the attention of Virginia rapper and singer Visto, who had spearheaded an informal group called the Hippie Life Krew. A fan of the long-locked, weed-loving vocalist, Pinky happily ganged up with him.
Warning: Explicit language.
Visto and KillaCorn’s highest-profile collaboration yet arrived this year: a hooky, laid-back single called “What Hippie What” that found KillaCorn clarifying who she is — and who she is not.
“Hol’ up, hol’ up naw, see Pinky ain’t no bad b***h,” she raps in her raspy tone. “Boo, I’m a goddess, a hippstress, a savage.” (In Hippie Life Krew parlance, “hippstress” is the feminized version of “hippie.”)
KillaCorn says she has more work on the way with Visto, but her latest release isn’t a song, it’s a video. Today she dropped the visual for her single “Tequila,” coinciding with National Tequila Day.
Warning: Adult content (and tequila-induced vomit).
Originally released in 2014, “Tequila” has the makings of a party staple. KillaCorn’s flow sounds steady but mellow, like she could do it in her sleep. It’s not her strongest lyrical work — “What’s your preference? I prefer tequila straight up like an erection,” she raps — but the track’s occasionally lackluster verses are redeemed by its hypnotic production.
Between the partying and peacocking, KillaCorn hasn’t shied away from serious subjects. Last year she did an introspective tribute to Michael Brown — the 18-year-old killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri — on a track that sampled a witness’ account of the shooting.
But KillaCorn’s main objective is to spread the love.
“I want everybody to love themselves, be themselves, improve themselves,” she says. “I want to inspire anyone I can inspire to love themselves. That’s a big problem in the world because everyone’s trying to fit in.”
Pinky KillaCorn appears at D.C.’s Pure Lounge on Friday, July 24.
Top photo: Screenshot from Pinky KillaCorn’s “Tequila” video