Slayyyter Pulls No Punches

Slayyyter Pulls No Punches

Story by Zach Shucklin / Photography by Hadriel Gonzalez / Styling by Waina Chancy / Makeup by Caroline Hernandez / Hair by Mary Lee

Boys, beware. Your time is over. Broken a heart? We'll hear. Acted a fool? We'll know.

There's a reckoning on your tail, chipping away at your patriarchal seat of power song by song. From Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" to any version — but especially "Taylor's Version" — of a T Swift album, there's a proud lineage of female artists lyrically socking their reverse muses in the balls. And it's only growing stronger. Who better than Slayyyter to take up the mantle with her new single, "Stupid Boy"?

Hot off her debut album Troubled Paradise, the emerging pop star is back with a stripped down dance track that'll make you want to... well... dance and strip down! And beat the shit out of guys! She's not alone though, linking up with bounce legend Big Freedia to really show those sleazeballs who's boss (hint: not them).

Featuring cautionary lines like "I hate your guts" and "have you ever met my fist," Slayyyter pulls no punches, calling boys "stupid" roughly 56 times throughout the song's four-minute runtime. Oh, and by "punches," I mean that literally, seeing how the accompanying lyric video finds Slayyyter KOing her IRL boyfriend in a WWE-themed nightmare.

PAPER caught up with the busy musician to discuss her experiences with stupid boys, upcoming new music and why it may be time to prescribe hyperpop a xanax.

"Stupid Boy" is obviously about someone you really like.

Sort of... I didn't really write it though. Like, I wrote my rap verse in it, but my boyfriend helped me write that song. So I guess it could technically be about someone you like. It could be about someone you hate, but it was actually a boy that wrote it.

Where did the inspo come from?

I was working on a bunch of lovey-dovey pop songs and then wanted to make something a little edgier. The producers came up with this beat that was very bare bones and I started reciting this little poem my boyfriend gave me that just was like, "Stupid boy, I hate your guts, blah, blah, blah." And it kind of just turned into this empowering, kind-of evil "I hate boys" song.

It's a different sound than your previous stuff with Troubled Paradise. Is this something that you're moving into?

Not really. I love this song so much. [But] it didn't really fit into my last element, it doesn't really fit into my next album. So I wanted to release a one-off and do a cool collab because my next project, I'm going very, very dance-pop.

What was it like working with Big Freedia?

It was really sick... Freedia is so, so cool. And I knew that it would bring this track to the next level to have such a legend featuring on it.

Dress: Cristobal Eolo, Shoes: Alexander by Darius

What's the fun that comes out of a collab?

It's kind of like marrying two different sounds in two different worlds into something that can be really special. I don't really do a lot of colalbs just because, this sounds so lame, but I get really nervous to ask people because I'm afraid they're gonna say "no." So I was so happy that Freedia was down. That was such a dream come true.

Is pop music like that? Are people snooty when you reach out to them?

At the end of the day, it's all just a big game. And people want to collab with people who are bigger than them to help them kind of, like, get bigger or whatever. So if you're a bit of a smaller artist, it's very rare that someone who's a lot bigger will be down. So I was really grateful for this collab to come out the way it did.

A lot of your songs like "Daddy AF" and "Celebrity" have this irreverent quality. Where does the humor come from?

I guess it just comes from not wanting to take myself all too seriously. I mean, I take pop music very serious. And I love what I do. And I love writing songs. And I love thoughtful songs. But like, it's also fun just to include certain lyrics and lines that are kind of silly. I think it makes it more magical and more fun. It's what I love about artists like Doja Cat and Katy Perry.

You mentioned you mainly did the verse, but I still feel like there had to have been some personal inspo for "Stupid Boy."

Mostly I feel like it embodies that vibe of when you meet someone who you're attracted to, but you also kind of hate them a little bit. Like "they're so annoying," but you want to have a one night stand with them. So I feel like that is definitely the vibe. I don't know if I can say this, [but] wanting to like hate-fuck someone. Sorry for cursing!

Dress: Charles & Ron

After you release music, do you find that people from your past will message you and ask if the lyrics are about them?

I haven't really dated a lot of people in my life. So the songs especially from my last album that are specifically about people, like, they for sure know, and I've probably told them and stuff, but they don't dare reach out because that would just be really embarrassing for them...

It kind of harkens back to Taylor Swift. Obviously, there's a degree of misogyny that comes with criticizing women for putting their own experiences in songs. What are your thoughts about that?

I think it's so crazy because that's quite literally the point of songwriting. When you're really feeling strongly about something or someone or something that's happened to you, it's the best way to get it out. The best therapy for it is to write a song about it. I hate the idea of certain songwriting topics being off limits... that is so stupid. Everything about songwriting and what makes music so powerful is that it's your real experiences that maybe someone else might connect to.

So "Stupid Boy" must have been a really cathartic track then?

Definitely. It's not really about someone so specific, [just] boys in general. Boys at the club that try to touch you when you're not really looking for that. Men in general that are disrespectful. I think it's an empowering anthem of dominating someone, owning your sexuality and telling a man to back off. When I wrote my little verse about the boxing ring, that's where the whole wrestling idea came from. Girls being fighters against the male gaze, which sounds a little too deep for how silly the song may be, but it really reminded me of women being boxers trying to fight guys off in the club.

What do you think the stupidest things about boys are?

When they think they're being slick or they think they're being sly. I feel like women are so smart. And women's intuition genuinely is one of the craziest things I've ever seen, so it's funny to me when men think that they can get away with stuff.

Dress: Cristobal Eolo, Shoes: Alexander by Darius

What inspired that direction for the lyric video?

I am obsessed with WWE Divas. They all go about their careers in such a pop star way. They all have their own style and they have these rhinestone costumes and they have to, like, rehearse their leg movements. So I wanted to do something where I got to live out my fantasy of being one for a day.

When was the first time you realized you could channel your power into music and song?

When I was in high school I started channeling all of my saltiness and hatred for guys that would break my heart into music.

What are we going to expect on the next project?

It's very dramatic. A lot of the songs are very theatrical. A little more retro kind of flavor to everything. I've been really inspired by Kavinsky and a lot of different electronic pop, like Sebastian. I feel like the next project is me embodying more of a femme fatale persona.

What inspires the shift in directions for each project?

It's really just phases. Recently, I've gotten into this David Lynch film phase where I'm obsessed with all his movies. And I'm obsessed with like, Miami in the '80s. I've gotten so sick with hyperpop. Everyone and their mother is starting to do hyperpop, so I started really deep diving into different older electronic producers and people who were really experimental in the '90s or early 2000s.

Dress: Charles & Ron

Yeah, I will say hyperpop has gotten so big. Everyone sounds like they've fucked a computer.

It's not that it's a bad thing. I'm down for anyone to make whatever they want, but when it comes to being in the club that's not the music I want to dance to. I want to dance to, like, "Hung Up" by Madonna.

So who are you working with on this next album?

The guy behind "Clouds," his name's Nicopop. He's a really amazing producer. I've been working with him a bunch on songs. Nate Campany and Kyle Shearer, who did "Letters" on Troubled Paradise... they are amazing. They produce a bunch for Carly Rae Jepsen, they produce a bunch for Caroline Polachek, and all these different artists. I'm doing a bunch of songs with them. I think I've made like five or six songs with them that I'm obsessed with that will be on the album.

You touched on it in your song "Celebrity," but working in pop music is not always as glamorous as people make it out to be. What are some things people get wrong?

I feel like it really is disheartening sometimes. Every single photoshoot you do, every single song you make, there's this criticism that comes with it all because the stan Twitter accounts and these forums... Just the constant criticism nonstop about what you're wearing. And if your wig looks fucked up, and all that stuff. So yeah, all that can be pretty annoying. Also with the song leaks. Getting hacked is, like, obviously the worst.

When something happens to you, do you ever optimistically look at it as material for your music?

Oh, for sure. I feel like the best songs I've ever written come from me at my worst places. "Clouds" is one of my favorite songs of all time, and I wrote it when I was literally so depressed, wanted to quit music, had imposter syndrome. But I was feeling it so intensely that I was like, "Let me just put it in a song." And immediately my week turned around. Every heartbreak, anytime someone does me dirty in a little way. I'm always like, "Haha, I'm gonna write a song about."

Photography and production: Hadriel Gonzalez
Styling: Waina Chancy
Makeup: Caroline Hernandez
Hair: Mary Lee
Production assistant: Matt Ramlochan