Brooke Candy's given name is Brooke Candy, and she was born on 4/20. (Trust that we used our journalistic skills to verify this information.) Her father worked behind the scenes for Hustler when she was growing up in Oxnard. If her parents are surprised that she's become a stripper and rapper who smokes a lot of weed, well, they shouldn't be.
When she opens the door of her stylist's Echo Park apartment, she's wearing a baggy sweatshirt with marijuana leaves on it, and her hair is wrapped in a doo-rag printed with dollar bills. No makeup. It's a contrast to her look in her video for “Theme Music” — her infectious song with Detroit rapper Count Mack (below) — in which she sports glossy magenta lips and neon green shoestrings woven through her braids, strutting in a fur coat through a car wash.
“I'm stoned right now,” she imparts. A large ashtray in the middle of the table is almost full of butts, and her voice is raspy from cigarettes and weed. Candy, 23, has been “Tumblr famous” for a while now, posting photos of herself in over-the-top costumes like exaggerated platform sneakers and velvet bikinis for the past four years, alongside shots of herself with Paris Hilton or fellow female rappers like Kreayshawn and Gita. More recently, she and her stylist Seth Pratt began superimposing her pictures over cheesy backgrounds like '80s cityscapes or tropical settings.
We first encountered her, however, earlier this month in “Theme Music,” which was directed by Alex2Tone. Last week it landed on World Star Hip Hop, below the fabulous headline, “New Girl Rapper Showing Aeriola [sic] In Her Music Video.” It promptly racked up hundreds of thousands of views and a long string of comments, most of them negative.
“They're so mean. I love haters. When someone hates on me, it motivates me. You're doing something right,” she says. While that's typical rapper talk, we believe her, mostly because she was constantly bullied and made fun when she was younger, she says. “I grew up in the suburbs where there were cows but also tract homes with Real Housewives shit. I dressed and acted crazy, just like now.”
She recalls going to work with her father, his office crammed with stacks of dildos and porn. “By the time I was 8, I was seein' that shit,” she says. “That probably helped to shape my aesthetic, [which is] very over-sexualized.” Her family, on the other hand, is “straight-laced.” “I hang out with a bunch of faggots, and they don't get that,” she says. When asked if she's gay, too, she shrugs and says she's “whatever.”
Even with such a seemingly open-minded approach to sexuality, she's torn about stripping, which she started doing six months ago. At first she was in it for the money, but now believes it gives her performance experience. “You're shaking your pussy in front of a bunch of gross, disgusting guys. That's so uncomfortable and private … If you can perform with confidence there?” she trails off and then pauses. “It's empowering, I guess, because women hold so much power in their bodies, it's crazy to have these guys by their fuckin' nuts.”
Still, despite appearing topless and having a stack of money smacked against her ass in “Theme Music,” she seems concerned about and careful to point out the chasm between the image she portrays and its reality. “I would never tell a girl to do, right off the bat, what I'm doing,” she says.
Meanwhile, in the video for Grimes' song “Genesis” (above), Candy is dressed in an armor of sorts, wielding a sword and driving an SUV full of similarly-outfitted warrior women. You get the feeling she's trying on a bunch of personas to see which one fits best — and sorting out which are less gratifying in practice than in theory.
“You can't just be good at one thing, especially as a woman,” she says. “You have to be good at a million things. You have to be hot, a good dancer, good singer, edit your own shit. It's hard. So women who are doing it are leading the way for other women.”
And as if on cue, she laughs self-consciously, and asks that we not look at her nails, which aren't done.