Prado is the Queer Indigenous Rapper Revitalizing the Game

In a sea of musicians Prado is a refreshing face; a breath of spellbinding, yet revitalizing air. Influenced by the eclectic likes of Jeff Buckley, Nicki Minaj, and even Icelandic bizarro queen Bjork, Prado offers a sound unlike anybody else at the moment. 

While she initially began as a ghostwriter for male Soundcloud rappers at 15, Prado has come a long way since then. At only 22 years old, the Vancouver native has already amassed quite a dedicated core of fans and hoards of attention, with Refinery29 naming her song Men in Black as one of the best songs of the week back in December 2020. 

This success is certainly not undeserved. Prado’s songs are pieces of slick, banana-flavored candy wrapped up in cellophane. In the video for her latest release Gucci Store, Prado dances like a domineer against a yellow background, a long tassel of glimmering diamonds trailing from her ears. Her lashes are long and her words are pungent, biting. “They used to call me a dreamer / Now they reflect off my beamer,” she snarls in her infectious, darling voice. 

This is an important moment for the rising star. Prado’s debut EP, the self-titled Prado Monroe, recently arrived on June 18. Just in time for some summer lemonade. Or some hot cocoa. Depending on where you are in the world. I was fortunate enough to speak with her about pride, the song-writing process, and Kanye West. Check out the “LOUIS TEE” Visualizer below:

Describe the upcoming PRADO MONROE EP in three words or less. 

Cinematic, energetic and carefree. Each song ended up being around two minutes but despite the length it still feels very organic and big.  

Is there a phrase you return to while writing? Or do you aim to recreate yourself with every project?  

I definitely try to recreate myself every time I make something new. There’s this phrase I’ve returned to throughout my career — “I don’t.” or “I won’t.” I’ve noticed that there’s this continuous aggression and defiance when I write but it’s also sort of tongue-in-cheek. But, I really just want to make bops.  

You got your start in ghostwriting for male rappers as a teenager. I’ve often noted that female rappers seem to have to aim higher to  gain the same respect that male rappers do. What did the ghostwriting  process teach you personally?  

I actually began ghostwriting on Twitter writing for this guy on SoundCloud. I don’t have an ego when I write anymore. It’s very much a freeform, idea vomit kind of process. Completely based on feelings. Ghostwriting helped me get my ideas out and learn about the industry. I learned how to interact with men, how to roll with them. I can speak their language now. So now I can claim stake. I really feel like a vet.  

In that same vein, I noticed your ghostwriting moniker was AlienKanye. I love Kanye! What does Kanye represent to you?  

Freedom. Kanye is really one of the only black artists that will surpass all of this. I don’t have sympathy for him, but I wished he could see how big of a symbol he is to us. He’s so hard working, too. I remember watching a video of him in the studio, how you can start off with a theme then jump around and flush ideas out. I learned the process from him.  

You’re at a big moment right now, with your debut EP PRADO MONROE out now. How do you feel now versus the beginning of writing the album? 

When I started writing I didn’t think it was going to come out. I never write for the audience, I only write for myself. But now I’m ready. I want a big discography. I’ve really learned that there is no reason to work quietly. I want to work the loudest. 

With Pride Month just kicking off is there anything you have planned to celebrate or reflect on?  

I’ve actually never come out before. Every day is pride to me. I’m actually in Vancouver right now in the studio we established for POC and queer people to make music in. And on June 18th we’re doing a livestream fundraiser for the Black therapy fund. I think now more than ever it is so important to support the cause. I hope we can use this month to give an opportunity to those that need it. And really when you think about it, the community is out here doing the most for the community. So fuck everyone else.  

How do you approach visuals? Before or after the song is made? Do they depend on one another in terms of how you create?  

Oh definitely. You see everything as you create. For example, Men in Black is this really industrialized song and I knew what it would look like as soon as I started writing it. I won’t put anything out if I don’t have a visual for it.  

What do you want your audience to know?  

Me, organically as I am. As much as the music is polished and propped up, I still want it to be authentic. And I want them to enjoy that.

Listen to the PRADO MONROE EP, out now, and follow Prado on Instagram to stay up to date with her adventures!

Interview by Jasmine Ledesma

Jasmine Ledesma

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