There are a lot of different labels we can attempt to stamp on Figgy Baby, an emerging rap artist based in Los Angeles. We can call them Mexican American, mixed-race, gender-bending, queer, non-binary, rap star, music maker… any of them would technically apply. 

However, as you’ll soon learn, Figgy cares infinitely more about what they bring to the table than how they are labeled. 

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“My message matters more to me, what I’m wearing or my style; that’s all superficial anyway,” they begin. “Take the earrings off; take the chain off; take the nail polish and the skirts off. And my practice is still my practice. I don’t want to complicate it too much for my audience.” 

In fact, although they do use they/them pronouns, even those are fluid. The reason behind that choice is nuanced and transcends gender. 

Figgy, who grew up in what they call a “mixed-Mexican” household with a Mexican father and an English mother, shares that “non-binary” is also how they view the world. 

“That’s how I think about knowledge, information, truth, relationships — there isn’t right and wrong or black and white. Instead, we exist in this infinite purple,” they shared.

mitú chatted with Figgy about everything that matters to them and us — bridging the gap between understanding and acceptance and identity and expression, all while committing to sit in shameless joy.

What was your childhood like growing up in a Latinx household?

My parents met in Mexico City, where my dad is from. My mom is actually from England. So, I grew up in Orange County in a mixed-Mexican household. My mom grew up in Long Beach. She moved to Mexico City, where she lived there for 15 years. There, she met my father and had my brother. I was born the same year they moved back to the States.

Luckily, I grew up with both parents speaking Spanish fluently. I feel like the dominant culture in the household was definitely Mexican, and for all four of us, there was no doubt that we were Mexican. I grew up watching my parents dance cumbia; them teaching me to dance. Movement was always present. We were very proud, and that pride was instilled in us at an early age. We were privileged enough to go to Mexico once a year, pretty much my entire childhood.

Unfortunately, most of my family lived in Mexico, and I had a deep connection with them. My identity growing up was ambiguous, and I think that was one of my biggest insecurities — but now it’s one of my most incredible superpowers.

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What does being Latinx mean to you?

The first thing that comes to mind is tapping into ancestral knowledge. I am a big believer that it’s in my DNA, in my genes, running through my blood, in my skin, in my language, and my family — and it’s not just science but also spirit and culture and learning. I was featured in a BBC article about not being able to speak Spanish as confidently as I’d like to, and that is a commitment to the culture, me being vulnerable about that.

This interview right now, our connection, tapping in, wanting to build, is our commitment to our culture. Again, we want to tap back into the actions: how am I practicing my human, and who am I practicing it with? It just goes back to commitment. I can learn Spanish; anyone can learn Spanish, but it’s about the why — I’m learning because I want to communicate with my family because I love them. Also, our history is colonization, and understanding how this world has been built and broken a thousand times over informs me about our entire human experience. And I want it to inform my work, and not just for Latinos but for humans, and our progression and evolution to tap into empathy and knowledge and indigenous practices and not being a taker but a leaver— a quote from “Ishmael.”

I see the shamelessness in so much of our community and how they’re continuing to evolve and break down things even in their own household, even in one generation, the revolution, and evolution that’s happening in a singular lifetime, and seeing that in the context of being Latinx is empowering. 

How has your music and self-expression affected your relationship with your family?

The bottom line is they support me. At this point, they want me to shine and thrive pretty unquestionably. I don’t think my parents, especially my father, always get me, but I don’t care about that because they love me, and we sit together in joy. When I came out to my father, we sat outside a coffee shop. I just started ranting about my philosophies and being non-binary and fluidity and my own eternal evolution and all that, and I finally took a breath and asked, “Well, what do you think?” And he said, “I don’t understand a lot of what you’re saying, but I believe that you believe it.”

And I’ve told that story to people, and they’ve been like, “Well, that’s kind of a crappy response.” But it’s not. These are things that I’m just learning about now that my father’s generation had no access to, really. So, I’m like, “Yeah, of course, you don’t get a lot of this,” but I think there’s so much value in him just affirming, “That’s your truth, and I’m not going to take that away from you.”

At the end of the day, my parents like me — they enjoy my humor and my charm. They like that I’m so invested in my culture, my dance, the way I engage with my family in Mexico, my volunteerism, and the work I do with youth. They see the value in my human practice, so I feel that’s more important than necessarily understanding me. 

I don’t think my parents, especially my father, always get me, but I don’t really care about that, because they love me and we sit in joy presently together.

If someone wanted to get a good idea of your music and message, what song should they absolutely listen to?

“Mr. Baron,” “Spice Boi,” “Tongue Troubles,” “Seams,” and “Watermelon Earrings.” 

I actually have a story about “Watermelon Earrings.” Someone sent me a message from Copenhagen, and they were like, “I found you on TikTok, and I just want to tell you about something that happened to me. I was wearing a dress for the first time, riding my bike over to my friends across town. Halfway, I got really hot. I wanted to take off my jacket,  but I got really nervous and self-conscious, and then I put my earphones in, and I played ‘Watermelon Earrings,’ and it gave me strength, and it made me feel brave, and I got back on my bike and kept going.” I couldn’t believe that — it was so crazy. It ruined me.

Figgy Baby just released “Spice Boi,” an EP of summer bops, and will be touring the Detroit and Chicago area this coming August. You can find them anywhere @figgybaby.