Midway through our interview, the self-proclaimed “underground pop star” Michete exclaims, “Oh my god, Charli XCX just tweeted at me!”
Earlier today, the Seattle-based queer transfemme artist from Spokane had waged an all-out campaign on Twitter to get the British pop star to notice his new video “Tantrum,” which also features rapper Shamir Bailey and premiered on Paste this morning. His tenacity was rewarded with a Tweet from Charli herself promising, “I’ll watch!” with a heart emoji. “This is fucking huge,” he says. “She’s one of my idols, I love her so much.”
The gleefully snappy, snarky single in question, which name-checks Janet Mock and Pete Burns, delivers all the delicious satisfaction of serving a perfectly crafted barb to your sworn enemy, wrapped up in a punchy sonic package. In the DIY video, Michete and Shamir groove on Philadelphia stoops and hang out with a puppy alongside crude likenesses scribbled in Microsoft Paint, as Michete raps about being a “messy bitch” over the one-two ka-pow! of an electric guitar and a clean, percussive beat.
Michete, who connected with Shamir online two years ago and opened for the rapper on his tour last year, came up with the idea for the track in late October. He liked the hard-hitting, two-syllable impact of the word “tantrum” and collaborated with Shamir to create the verse and instrumentals. “I often come up with titles first,” he says. “I’m very into words. I like how no two words really mean the same thing and they all have their own implications and moods.”
Though the song, which encourages listeners to disrupt and “wreck shit,” certainly resonates with the post-election rage a lot of people are feeling right now, Michete says it was conceived before the election and wasn’t intended to be political.
“It definitely wasn’t written with that in mind, but I like that it’s arriving at a time when a lot of people are angry and will be able to relate to it,” he says. “If there’s a message I want people to take from it, it’s that I want everyone to know that it’s okay to be angry and that it’s a normal and healthy thing to feel, and that you shouldn’t be afraid to express it and let it out if you are angry. But also remember to have fun and laugh at shit.”