Introducing Babeo Baggins & Babe Simpson of rap collective Barf Troop
Photography by Charlotte Rutherford
Introducing Barf Troop: the force of nature rap collective (comprised of Babeo Baggins, Babe Simpson, Babelien, Babe Field, and Babenstein) has been inspiring the Internet for years with their unique flows, sick style, and inclusive message. Formed online as a response to the male-dominated world of rap, Barf Troop’s DIY attitude and creative vision are paving the way for artistic female and nonbinary babes alike. From their Calico Collective art event, to Babe Simpson’s fire track “Martians,” and Babeo Baggins’ breakout mixtape “Posi+ive,” the troop can’t stop winning.
Can you share one superpower?
Babelien: Telepathy is a big one in Barf Troop.
And one weakness?
Babeo: A big one for me is, although I hate to do it, let me put a Drake line here "they point out all my failures and whisper my accomplishments". I work very hard and people not respecting that makes me feel really belittled. It's going to take a lot of time and self reflecting for me to be able to handle that without anger.
What Rae Sremmurd lyric describes your current mood?
Baberella Fox: "everybody got a dream that they chasing and everybody got a motherfuckin hater." Barf Troop is on the rise and people are either for us or against us. The important thing is we ain't going nowhere!
What’s your favorite part about working with of a collective of artists?
Babelien: The diversity within the group, but also the similarities. It's great to have likeminded people to bounce ideas off of, and the support and love we get from within the group is so great. You can really feel it.
What's something you are afraid to do on your own?
Babeo: Play a show! We've never played shows alone but I'd be really scared to. Barf Troop is my support group and I need them there to give me the power up before going on stage or I might not be able to do it. Knowing you have someone on your team who has your back when you mess up makes things so much easier.
What makes you feel most independent / sufficient?
Babelien: Looking back on things I've written like... "Damn, I did that? That was me? Wow." I love to impress myself and the rest of the Troop, so any time I can do that and say I did it on my own is exciting for me. It makes you feel so huge.
If you could exist in the world of any cartoon, what would you choose and why?
Babeo: THE SIMPSONS! The Simpsons means so much to me. I have grown up with it as well as learned so much from it. The Simpsons has always had a way of tackling tough issues and hitting key moral points in a goofy manner. I learned so many things from the Simpsons without even realizing it. I've carried so many life lessons with me for so long because of that show. I really don't want to imagine myself as a person who had never seen it because I know for a fact I would be completely different. The Simpsons really helped shape me into the cool being I am today. That being said, I need to be in the Simpsons as Krusty's blue-haired afro child and bart as my bf, clearly.
Instead of becoming big fish in a small pond/city, you formed and grew online. What challenges and opportunities for innovation go along with coming up on the Internet rather than in a physical setting?
Babe Simpson: Without a "home base" and us living so far apart, it becomes hard to pin point where a sound comes from, so we aren't a huge part of any local scenes in our own areas (yet) because we're not all together to be active and play shows constantly. On the other hand, Barf Troop has been spread much faster through the internet and has allowed us to play in locations we wouldn't have been able to access so easily if we were only grinding locally. We definitely have to keep lines of communication very open because we're not able to have like, clubhouse sitdowns like other artists about what we'd like to get done, but it's very easy to bounce ideas off one another through voice calls and voice memos, so it's like we carry our team in our back pockets all day long.
Barf Troop has a notoriously devoted and active fan base. What have been some of your favorite experiences with fans online, irl, or while performing live?
Babe Field: My favorite was in February at Up Yours when after the show I talked to one of our fans and she told me that she loved my music and had really good energy, she held my hands and it was a really cool experience to see how responsive everyone has been. Everyone who's come out to the shows/share our music with their friends have been super supportive and performing is so much less nerve wracking when you know people have your back and want you to succeed.
Are there any artists you’re dreaming of collaborating with in the future?
Babeo: TINASHE!!!!! She is so amazing and a perfect pop star. Outside of that, I'd love to do stuff with King Krule because I've always been his biggest fan.
Babe Simpson: Flying Lotus, Gorillaz, Nicki, Kendrick, Christopher Owens, Sleigh Bells, Charli XCX!
Advice for those on a mission to glo up and DIY?
Babelien: The glo up is special to me. I like to think of it as becoming your own greatest creation: building yourself from the ground up like you would a brand new house. Becoming what you dream of being and learning to love yourself in the process should be the end goal. You have the power to pick and choose exactly what kind of person you want to be in life, and that's something that can never be taken away from you. Think of yourself as a blank canvas. If you could paint anything there, what would it be? How do you want to see yourself? The whole premise of DIY is self-empowerment, if you ask me. It's just about taking that plunge.
What would you like to see more of in the remainder of 2015?
Babeo: LGBTQ and female artists! Most of all in the rap game. The constant narrative has been about men and their plights and their accomplishments. But that story has been told! There are no other stories for CIS men to tell at this point. That isn't "real" anymore, their "struggle" isn't the important one anymore. I don't want to hear about it! I want to hear about trans girls and non binary babes and gay boys. I want to hear about struggles of people in my circle of life, I want to hear their stories! Those are the stories that need to be told. Those are the ones everyone is waiting to hear. It has become a point in our current culture for listening to these voices and letting them speak clearly and loudly for all to hear. So I think it's time for us to start doing that in the rap game as well.
What would you like to see less of in the remainder of 2015?
Baberella Fox: Less of people dismissing the ideas of young people as simple fantasy--especially the ideas of young black kids and other kids of color. Think about Willow and Jaden: there are many people out there who think of the Smith kids as nothing more but "weird" and "silly", when in reality they are doing things that no one's been doing and people don't know the proper way to react, so they immediately resort to shaming. When you dismiss a child's imagination and don't take their ideas seriously, they can never grow from that and it hurts their self-esteem. Encourage kids. Listen to them. Let them know their importance.
What doesn't kill you…. :
Babelien: Ruins your hairline.
Babeo: Teaches you how to kill your next opponent.
Simpson: Makes you stranger.
Originally published in IN #4, Fall 2015