Politics, PBR, and Pulverizing the Patriarchy

An Interview with Glitter Moneyyy

 Photo: AJ Abelman

Photo: AJ Abelman

Chicago is on a severe thunderstorm watch the night I sit down with Glitter Moneyyy at the Cork Lounge. It’s no surprise, Ashley Renee Clopton and Taylor Dariarow have been pouring their souls into the city since moving from Florida, and the duo – formed in 2016 – has taken Chicago by a glitter storm. Under the names Queen TrAshley and TayyySlayyy, Glitter Moneyyy performs politically charged, self-empowering hip-hop anthems that are simultaneously provocative and hilarious. Their goal: destroy the patriarchy one show at a time.

The two met while partying together at the University of Florida, where Dariarow was a student. Clopton, studying Tisch School of the Arts in New York, would often fly down and visit her childhood best friend, Dariarow’s roommate. There was a playful intimacy between the two from the beginning, as they often shared the same bed during Clopton’s visits. Dariarow jokes about how she used to try to stay up all night with Clopton because she thought she was a night owl; Clopton all the while waiting for Dariarow to fall asleep so she could sneak out and hook up with a dude down the street. “This went on for years, it was a big secret,” Dariarow jokes. Clopton adds, “I just didn’t want to get into the fact that I was going to see this dick who I clearly shouldn’t be seeing.” When I suggest he could have been worth it for creative purposes, Clopton is quick to clarify, “He’s not even a good enough fuck boy to use in my songs.” Dariarow suggests, “He’s like a soft boy?” Clopton lights up with laughter, “Oh my God, yes, that’s exactly what he is, a soft boy! Like, I wouldn’t even call him a bitch boy. He’s not even at that level.” They both nod and drink; their laughter and enthusiasm radiating. It’s infectious.

They find their inspiration in life and in each other. Clopton says, “Everything that we go through on a day-to-day basis, the good and the bad, that’s a big influence. Our friendship is a huge influence.” Dariarow adds, “And drugs.”

Every single song comes from a big old cloud of weed smoke, as proven by their latest single, “Smoke Until You Die.” Dariarow says, “We definitely smoke whenever we’re together. It influences the music, in theme and in vibe.” Clopton agrees, “All the drugs I’ve done have made me who I am today, and they’ve opened me up into being more authentically myself. That’s pretty much what Glitter Moneyyy is all about, being ourselves on stage and trying to convince people that they can be themselves in life.” Dariarow is quick to add that they have each other, with some drugs to enhance it. It’s a win-win situation.

Their songwriting process stems from a constant stream of communication. When they aren’t hanging out in person, they communicate via WhatsApp (insert sponsorship request here, they joke). “We start WhatsApp-ing from we’re awake until both of us are asleep. It’s so abnormal,” Clopton jokes.

Twurk for the Nation, their debut album, was recorded at Second Bedroom Studios in Chicago and released last year. With tracks like “Wanna Be on Top?” and “Woke Ass Bitch,” the duo clearly dusts off any shred of subtlety from the record. Twurk for the Nation has listeners dancing, laughing, and tossing back bottles of champagne. But it’s their live shows that truly transcend. A frenzied mix of banter, beats, and booze, Glitter Moneyyy’s live experience is one to remember – that is, if you haven’t already blacked out. Their exuberant stage presence is attributed to both artists having extensive theater backgrounds. Clopton says, “Both of us come from theater, both of us have an eye for the bigger picture. We’re both thinking constantly, ‘What is this stage picture going to look like? What is going on in this exact moment?’ It’s small things like that. Making sure that everything the audience sees is important.” And in those small moments, they succeed with tremendous results.

If drawn onto Venn diagram, it’s interesting to visualize three layers of Glitter Moneyyy – hip-hop, politics, and comedy – overlapping on a scale. Clopton and Dariarow connect with all three elements, although they feel the third simply falls into play based on who they know and how they perform. Dariarow says, “I think the comedy shows happen because we have a lot of friends who do comedy. Those are our connections. And it’s great.” Where does the political side come from? Well, it’s impossible not to be political in comedy, I offer. They are quick to correct me. “It’s impossible not to be political in life,” Dariarow stresses. Clopton adds, “If you aren’t being political, then what are you making? Like, what’s going on with you? If art is supposed to be representative of the times, well, every single second of my life since Trump has been inaugurated has been excruciatingly painful on the political front.” Makes sense to me, I say.

When asked for any final thoughts, they take a second, sipping the last few drops of their PBR. “We want to empower people,” Clopton declares. Dariarow nods in enthusiastic agreement.

They’re off to a strong start.

Glitter Moneyyy will perform at Strip Joker @ Uptown Underground on June 9, 2018, 9:30pm. Tickets $20.

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