Figgy Baby Is the Non-Binary, Mixed Mexican Artist Breaking Every Mold: ‘My Message Matters More to Me Than What I’m Wearing’
There’s 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.
“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, and 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 the way in which they view the world.
“That’s how I engage to 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 all the things that matter to them, and to us, bridging the gap between understanding and acceptance and identity and expression, all while making the commitment 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, moved to Mexico City, lived there for 15 years, met my father, had my brother and then the same year they moved back to the states, I was born.
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, the majority of my family lived in Mexico, and I had a really 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 greatest superpowers.
What does being Latinx mean to you?
The first thing that comes to mind is a 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 it’s also spirit and culture and learning. I was featured in a BBC article, which was 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, this 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 our evolution to really to tap into empathy and knowledge and indigenous practices and not being a taker but being a leaver — which is 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?
Bottom line, 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 really care about that, because they love me and we sit in joy presently together. When I came out to my father, we were sitting outside of a coffee shop and 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, “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, 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, the work I do with youth, and they see the value in my human practice and so I feel like that’s more important than necessarily understanding me.
If someone wanted to get to get a good idea of what your music and message is, 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 and I was riding my bike over to my friends across town, and then halfway, I got really hot and 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.
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