Amanda Blank's home-girl hip-pop
When I catch up with Philadelphia rapper and aspiring pop artist Amanda Blank, it’s on a rare day off. She’s been relentlessly promoting her recently released and refreshingly diverse debut album, “I Love You,” which arrives almost three years after she first thrilled fans with her now legendary X-rated rhyme on the Spank Rock track “Bump.”
“I’m at my sisters’ house with my nephews. It’s my one chance to see everybody before I go back on the road with [indie-pop band] Matt and Kim,” she says. The sound of kids running around is audible over the phone as Blank tries to keep the peace.
It was as part of Spank Rock’s touring entourage that Blank cemented her name in underground circles, routinely hopping onstage to trade verses with the raunchy party rapper. Boasting a fresh street style and rapid-fire rhymes, she was quickly tipped as the next big thing to emerge from the electro underground, following the likes of M.I.A. and Santigold.
But even with a solid album of pop hooks under her belt (her new album's “Leaving You Behind” invokes the Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Blank is not trying to be anyone’s pop star.
“It’s so hard for me to even relate to any of that. I keep getting compared to Lady Gaga, which makes no sense at all to me,” Blank muses. “She’s clearly into all of that -- she named her album ‘The Fame.’ That’s cool and more power to her. I don’t know if that’s something I want. I know my record is poppy, but I’d rather just make music with my friends and have fun.”
It helps when your friends are producers and songwriters like Diplo, Switch and Santigold.
“I like that it’s this little scene and we’re all doing it together,” she counters. “We all love each other and stick together. The fans are a part of it too.
“Ultimately, I could really give a …” she laughs finally. “My goal in making this record was not to change anybody’s view of me. I made the record I wanted to hear, something for the ladies. If I don’t want to hear me rapping over 12 Baltimore club tracks, I doubt anybody else would either.”
-- Scott T. Sterling
Photo: Shane McCauley
Amanda Blank opens for
Matt and Kim tonight at the El Rey Theater, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., in Los Angeles. The show is sold