This article originally appeared on Noisey Canada.
Don’t be fooled by the name of Sydanie’s newest song, “Flirt.” The fluffy connotations usually associated with the word are turned on its head by the Toronto-based emcee with more aggressive lyrics. The track is the first single since the artist’s first project Stillwater, which she released earlier this year. “Flirt” has minimal and airy production by Techno Hall of Fame, perfectly complimenting the artist’s brash wordplay. The timely record by the cool rap mom is used as a catalyst for her to reclaim her abrasive rap persona and discuss her own experiences with sexual violence.
“The song is kind of like a reintroduction to the many facets of my creativity,” she shares in an email. “I don't want people to get too lost in one aspect of who I am. I had to make a lyrically ‘aggressive’ song to remind people of who am I and where I come from. I'm a real rapper, a true emcee.”
Sydanie is set to release her second project, 999, next spring. Listen to “Flirt” below and read our interview with the artist.
Noisey: What does sexual agency mean to you?
Sydanie: Sexual agency means to me, that as a Black womxn, I have to work hard to protect my sexuality and the sexuality of my sisters. I have the right to be as promiscuous/flitty/whoring etc., or as prude/stush/abstinent as I want to be. It means I owe nobody nothing. My body belongs to no one but me. I will choose whatever makes me feel safe, happy, and healthy every single time, by any means.
This record is very timely, given all of the stories coming out regarding sexual violence and predators. What kind of message are you trying to send with “Flirt”?
I've struggled a lot with understanding my own history of abuse and sexual violence and I'm finally coming to a place in my growth where I feel in full control of my sexuality and power that comes with my femininity. My warrior spirit and my sensuality, sexuality have merged to bulldoze wastemans when and where necessary.
How does music allow you to channel all of that?
My music has always been a way for me to challenge my self-perception, especially since I see myself in other Black women. Shedding skin and growing, or at least trying to, is a fundamental part of my work. If there's no growth, there's no art. Sexual violence and healing have always been themes and topics I cover in my work and I think it’s important to grow from the place of victimhood (if and when possible) to triumph. It’s all a very personal process that allows my music to be more authentic.
Sharine is a Sydanie stan. You can follow her on Twitter.