By: Ana Paula Gonzalez
Blushakurx, also known as Da Pimptre$s, is a New Orleans native from the 7th Ward currently making her way up the charts with her unique alternative rap style. With inspiration from various genres of music, she is particularly excited for her first solo set at this year’s BUKU Festival.
The BUKU Festival is one of New Orleans’s largest music festivals. Attracting around 35,000 guests, the festival features top talent in the industry, such as Tyler the Creator, Glass Animals, and Kali Uchis, along with featuring newer musicians, like Blushakurx, who are just starting to make their way up. The festival has a positive energy that is brought by the multitude of food vendors, art installations, and of course, the EDM, hip hop, and indie rock music being performed.
A student of the Upbeat Academy during her high school years, a local foundation that “empowers and inspires New Orleans middle and high school students by providing access to the technology and tools used in the production and performance of hip hop, rap, r&b, dance music and other popular genres,” it was not until college when Blushakurx began producing her own music, and taking her passion for music seriously.
“I remember listening to Awful Records at that time, and like Father, and Abra … and on top of that they had [Playboi] Carti at that time, it was such a DIY record label that I felt like well fuck, they shit sound like the shit I’m recording right now! And I was thinking like damn, you know, I probably can do that!”
Starting out her career homeless, sleeping in the back of her friends’ cars, and not having much family support on her back, Blushakurx worked incredibly hard. One day in 2018, she got a call asking if she wanted to perform one song at BUKU Fest, “but that wasn’t that that showed me this was it, it was when I was at Jay Electronica’s set.” Jay Electronica had called three people up from the audience to freestyle, and a BUKU Fest employee, who had seen her earlier performance, made sure that she was one of the three who got to step up on that stage.
“I was screaming this shit…and Jay Electronica, as I finished, this man was over here like on his knees bowing to me and he was like ‘yeah, I’m going to meet you again,’ and that’s when I became Blushakurx.”
Her career took off, she began performing at almost every venue in the city, but then 2020 hit, and Coronavirus caught her bad.
“I was coughing up blood, I thought I was going to die.”
Though a terrible time in her life, she explained that it “was the best thing that could’ve happened to me.” She realized that her ego took over as she was becoming a larger name throughout the city, so she decided to change up her mentality, along with the sounds of her music.
“I had no choice to explore and to ask myself, do I want to be a fucking rapper, or do I want to be a fucking artist?”
As soon as the world began to reopen, Blushakurx was able to tour and perform at shows, trying out her newly reinvented sound – one of these places being in New York City with Deathproof, performing in front of almost 1,000 people. She described it as being thrown out into the water, and “I fucking swam, I fucking swam like Michael fucking Phelps … because you know, this is the shit I’ve been waiting for…I’m really working with real people who really do this shit, [and I’m] doing all the shit I was thinking about doing when I was in that dorm room, like I’m really doing that shit now, and it’s a beautiful feeling.”
When it comes to BUKU Festival, Blushakurx believes that it is a completely different experience than performing at a concert.
“The festival is a challenge, and that’s a challenge I love to accept, because at a festival, when you’re underground, your job is to draw the fish in…when you speak, that’s the bait. It’s up to you because the big names like Trippie Redd, there’s already gonna be 300 people waiting for him, but for me, I already know that’s going to be a solid 20 to 15 people waiting for me. It’s up to me to bring the other 60 over…if I come there with that energy, it’s up to me to make my name.”
Performing on Day 1 of BUKU Fest, she is dedicating her set to a very special person in her career, who unfortunately passed away prior to the pandemic. Rand, the former owner of Mid-City Pizza and Banks Street Bar, who she wanted me to specify was the King of Mid-City, “was the first person to put me in a position to where I was able to perform with someone from Awful Records…he really put me out here in a position to where I could get to where I’m at now…[and] now that I’ve got my own set, I want to dedicate it to Rand and just show him like I did it on my own and I really wish you was here.”
To younger artists in New Orleans who are hoping to become big in the industry, Blushakurx’s advice is to “don’t stop. I know that road from New Orleans is so fucking hard, [but] I’d just say like if you want it, you go get it, don’t let nothing fucking stop you, I don’t give a fuck what it is, they shoot you, you bounce back, like don’t fucking stop…” She feels “the biggest thing is consistency and you gotta stay on it, you gotta stay on it because the moment you give up, the moment you crack, the moment you fold, that’s giving everyone exactly what they wanted…You losing, and you never want to lose…just never give up, no matter what the fuck is against you, and always stay true to yourself, always be that person you are because you from New Orleans, you got that New Orleans pride.”
Blushakurx’s New Orleans pride comes from the thriving alternative underground music scene in New Orleans – a scene that helped her get on her feet as a musician. People are working incredibly hard in the underground, and she believes that they are what truly makes up the real music of New Orleans.
“To be able to get these opportunities… to be able to perform at music fests with the little bit of experience that I have, to be able to fly out and experience … what it is to be in the industry in all these different places is a blessing to me. I come from having nothing, everything I have is really from my grandma, my grandma taught me everything…but it’s amazing because I’m starting from a girl that’s starting from a fucking dorm room and figured out how to navigate her fucking way.”
BUKU Festival will be held on March 25 and 26 of 2022, and will be held in accordance with public health guidelines regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.