Badass is just one word to describe The Buttress, AKA The Flyest Buttress. Straight outta New Jersey, this artist, musician, filmmaker and female rapper has the swag, the sound and the vision. She doesn’t conform to the “pretty” and doesn’t mind sporting wild hair and non-existent make-up, while making herself look strange or downright creepy. She doesn’t need nakedness to make her videos interesting and she isn’t using her looks to sell her music. She relies on her refreshing rapping abilities, kick-ass beats and interesting and creative visuals within her music videos. The Flying Buttress is definitely not your average female rapper and supports the cause 100% as her name suggests.
I personally, could not praise The Buttress more. And I don’t say that lightly. But I definitely give credit where credit is due, and this young lady deserves to be seen and heard. Wicked Horror’s Nicola Odeku just had to sit down and get to know this dark and dangerously talented woman.
You’ve been rapping for just over two year’s now right? Have you always wanted to rap? What made you decide to go for it?
I definitely didn’t always want to rap. I have this thing, maybe it’s an illness, I’m not sure, where I am never content to just enjoy something, I have to try it. When I was in 5th grade I had to learn guitar after I became obsessed with Josie and the Pussycats. And in high school I had to learn cello cause I was obsessed with Rasputina and classical music. In college I had to make electronic music because I was obsessed with experimental/noise music. When I got into hip hop I never even really thought to try it, I mean I rapped a lot in the shower and stuff, reciting other people’s rhymes, but it didn’t even occur to me that I should make my own stuff. That is until I noticed people were listening to white girls rapping. I thought I can do this too, so I did.
I read that RZA is your biggest influence? What other artists do you listen to?
I listen to a lot of stuff. Being that I haven’t even been listening to hip hop that long, I’m still always discovering older stuff that blows my mind. Like this past year I was introduced to Fu-Schnickens, who I’m obsessed with, and Channel Live, and Aesop Rock, and a bunch of other stuff that’s been out forever but I just never really got into it until recently. I definitely vibe way harder with 90’s and early 2000’s stuff than what’s out now. There’s so much older amazing stuff that I’ve never even heard so I’m always getting into some old stuff. Besides that I listen to a lot of non-hip hop stuff as well. I love dancehall, and exotica, and classical and electronic music. I love artists from every genre really. And they inform my hip hop practice as well. Like some notable non-hip hop artists I really love that I think have influenced my style a lot would be KoRn (judge me I don’t care), Rasputina, Yma Sumac & Bounty Killer.
Where do you get the ideas for your super sick videos? Does your filming background help with that?
I am just a visual thinker, that is why I got into film in the first place, and I always have these images or thoughts in my head, and as I set out to make them sometimes I fail (most of the time actually) and sometimes I am successful. Film is its own beast and it’s very hard to make good ones, so the more films and music videos I make the better I become at expressing my ideas, I think. Even though I feel like I’m moving backwards a lot of the time I think each new failure tells me something new about my practice and what I need to change to become a better filmmaker and artist in general.
Your EP, “Behind Every Great Man” has awesome cover work, do you illustrate your covers yourself?
Thank you, yes, I do. I’ve been drawing/painting since I was a small child. I actually went to college with the hopes of becoming a 2D animator, but I realized quickly that I didn’t have the patience for that. I decided to become a filmmaker instead after my first year.
Do you have a favorite song of yours?
Yea, it’s either ‘Pilgrims by the Millions’ or ‘Inferno’. They both are really personal, much moreso than my other tracks. I think ‘Inferno’ might be a stronger track, but ‘Pilgrims’ just has a really special place in my heart cause it was the first real song I did, after toiling for a bit, it was the first time I listened to a song I recorded and was like yeah, this is pretty good.
If you could collaborate with anyone right now who would it be?
I really wanna collab with Aesop Rock. That dude is a genius.
Has it been a struggle to get yourself heard?
Yea, I think so, but at the same time I feel like I don’t really know, cause I am pretty lazy when it comes to self-promotion. I definitely work way harder on the music and videos than I do at putting them out into the world. My approach is kind of “if you build it they will come”, and so far I’ve gotten a nice little following from pretty much just uploading my stuff and throwing it around the Twittersphere and blogs and stuff. I could definitely push way harder, I just don’t really have the motivation to, sadly. That side of things is very boring for me. I wish I was rich and could hire an intern to do it for me or something, cause I know it’s really important. I’d love to find an investor, cause I know there are some companies you can pay to promote your stuff for you. I really don’t know anything about being business-minded or social media savvy or any of that stuff. It’s a little frustrating. But the fact that anyone listens to my music makes me really happy. I think for my time frame I am doing pretty well.
You grew up with a religious background, has that helped to shape your views on religion and your dark side in which you portray so well?
Hell yea. I mean religion, even though honestly I think it messed me up quite a bit, really was the main thing that shaped me into the person I am. I didn’t just go to church on Sundays, I lived it, I was completely obsessed, and distraught all the time, because I was so afraid of hell and the wrath of God. I developed severe OCD as a young child because of it – for example I was so afraid of “flipping God off” (this is really absurd) that I would curl up my middle finger so hard so that it was never pointing upwards. It got to the point where my fingers were cramped and the pain was really terrible. I would also have this sudden thought that “God wants you to lie in cruciform right now or else you will go to hell” so I would stop whatever it was I was doing, even if I was holding something valuable, I’d drop it and lay down like Jesus on the cross and cry and ask for forgiveness. I broke my guitar that way, it sucked.
So yeah, that was terrible, and then as I got older, around age 15, I started to realize that I could no longer rationalize my faith, cause I just think so much, and Christianity was making less and less sense to me. I realized that I honestly couldn’t believe for much longer, even though I really wanted to. I felt like Andrea Yates to some extent (that is a large part of why I made a song about her), except my struggle wasn’t that I was scared of my children going to hell if they didn’t die innocent, I was scared that I was going to go to hell if I died after I’d completely lost my faith. I knew it was inevitable at that point, so there was a good half a year period or so where I really wanted to die, I wished for it, I heavily contemplated suicide, with the hopes that maybe if I died before my faith had totally left me, I could go to heaven too. It was one of the darkest periods of my life, but one day, I just had this realization, maybe I was so fed up with all this severe emotional turmoil, where I was just like – forget this, I want to live. Christ is supposed to represent life, but my belief in him has all but completely eliminated my will to live, and that was so wrong. It was like this epic, life-defining moment where I finally decided to live for myself, and almost immediately I felt like I had this incredibly strong, amazing will to live and create. I was ecstatic off the high that it gave me, and that is exactly what ‘Pilgrims’ is about. That whole experience has greatly informed my thoughts on religion, and perhaps why a lot of my stuff that deals with religion is so “dark”, because that was one of the darkest periods of my young life. At the same time I don’t completely hate religion, because even though I do think it is a bad thing, my experience with it really shaped me into the person that I am now. I still have to deal with OCD and pretty bad anxiety and all this stuff that I don’t think I’d have as bad if I wasn’t raised the way I was, but at the end of the day I’m grateful for what it taught me.
With your no bull manner and talk of filicide (to name just one topic), do you encounter any hardcore haters or Internet trolls?
Honestly no, not really. I mean some of my stuff definitely really bothers people, and they’ll leave comments or something, for like a day, but then they disappear. I think that’s partially because even though some of my stuff might be a little “shocking” or something, my messages are overall kind of ambiguous. Like after I dropped ‘Pilgrims’, even though that song is very anti-Christian, a bunch of these random Christian motivational speakers and stuff started following me on twitter, and just random religious people were liking it and stuff. Which is totally awesome, I’m glad it’s like that. The only people that are really “hardcore” about pursuing me in any way are a few people that I think might love me a little bit too much. I feel like they wanna skin my face and wear it or something, which I think is kinda cute but a little creepy. That would be a pretty epic way to die though so I can’t complain.
Art, film or music, do you have a preference or are you just happy that you can simultaneously mix all three?
Film, definitely. Film film film film film. I would be sad if I mysteriously went mute tomorrow and could never speak again, or if I suddenly lost all of my drawing abilities, which are not very impressive in the first place, but if I went blind or something and couldn’t make films, I’d be crushed. My only goal in life is to make beautiful films. I’ve barely begun to do that. As far as I’m concerned all my films suck, but they won’t forever, that is a promise.
What’s next for you?
Man, a lot. A lot of stuff. I just got back from Death Valley where I was on my first ever paid directing gig, which was a huge deal for me, I was and am so excited about it. That music video will be dropping March 31st, so watch out for that. It’s for a dope folk artist named Ryley Walker. Then I’m also directing a video for another band that I love and I don’t even want to tell anyone who it is cause it’s gonna be a great surprise, we are shooting that mid-April and the video will follow sometime thereafter. [I’m] also tentatively supposed to maybe shoot something for two hip hop artists that are very well established, hope that happens, but either way, right now I’m definitely trying to expand my portfolio and work with other artists on video, cause at the end of the day that is what I really love to do more than anything, the film stuff, and that is what I’m really trying to pursue career-wise.
Musically I have a lot on my plate too, I’ve got a bunch of exciting collabs in the works, and I have this little self-produced EP under my belt, it’s a fun little side project me and my friends came up with one chronic smoke heavy day. We were just f**king around and I made some beats which actually turned out quite nice and then we all spit on them. I was gonna drop that ASAP but just decided we should do a little video for that, which we’ll be shooting sometime within the next month most likely, so watch out for that as well. I’m also in the process of writing a short film that I want to shoot before winter is up, and I’m also re-shooting some special effects scenes for a film I made last year. I’m going to get that a soundtrack and hopefully put those two short films out this year. Also some new music and some new videos will be dropping this year. I don’t know yo, a lot of stuff!! I’m so friggin excited for this year to be honest. Last year was very slow and sad for me, I think because I had just moved from Chicago back to New Jersey, my home state, and was having an awkward transition or something. But recently I’ve been grinding like a mother f**ker, there’s just something about 2015 or something, I love it. So excited about everything right now. Stay tuned!!!
You can follow and check out The Buttress on Twitter @cockspit, Facebook ButtressGG and soundcloud.
Check out her first ever video ‘Pilgrims by The Millions’ below and let us know what you think in the comment box provided!