Lovin' You Better
Photo: Kathleen Williams
The lesbian hip-hop duo God-Des and She met at a National Organization for Women benefit. At the time, She was playing with a rock group when God-Des approached her in hopes of kick-starting a collaboration. “I had never really thought of doing hip-hop, to be honest,” laughs She. “I mean, I liked it, but it wasn’t something I was thinking would be my path, but I was like, ‘Well, I’ll try it. I’ll see what’s up.’ ” Two albums and one L Word appearance later, there’s no doubt that She made the right choice.
The pair’s latest album, Stand Up, has spawned two hits, the R&B anthem “Love You Better”—a mainstay of Logo’s New Now Next, the station’s weekly music video program—and “Lick It” the lyrically graphic cunnilingus instructional music video (which MTV banned). In the video, the ladies commandeer a sex education class to impart their “expertise,” and the results are hilarious. “Everything we do, we like to have fun,” explains God-Des. “Even serious topics, we kind of like to bring humor into it and just never take ourselves too seriously—life is way too short.”
Maybe it’s this attitude that keeps the ladies constantly moving forward. In addition to appearances at South by Southwest and Dinah Shore, they are working on their third album. Teaming up with Public Enemy producer Brian Hardgroove, God-Des and She are excited about the new direction their music is taking. “She and I have always just recorded in our house. We’ve never really had any help—we write our own music. So, it’s going to be nice to have some other ears and some really trained musical people to help us with it,” says God-Des. God-Des goes on to explain how their sound is constantly evolving, saying, “We don’t ever like to be boxed in to one style or sound—we kind of like to really push the envelope. On this record, it’s going to be…on another level of sound. Is this pop? Is this lock? Is this hip-hop? Is this soul? It’s going to be really good.”
The group’s diverse sound is the result of equally diverse sources of inspiration. “We really take influences from so many different things and people, we have such a wide musical taste. I mean, we listen to anything from Lupe Fiasco to Neil Diamond…to Wynnona Judd to Tu-Pac. We like music that makes you feel,” explains God-Des.
Describing the duo’s writing process, She says, “We critique each other—like, for example, the song ‘Love You Better.’ I wrote a hook for that song and [God-Des] was like, ‘Man, that hook is not good enough.’ I remember going across the park in Brooklyn and being pissed—I was walking with my headphones on, and I was singing out loud like a crazy and writing a new hook for that song…I came back and was like, ‘I wrote the best hook ever!’ and laid it down and that’s the current ‘Love You Better’ hook. We definitely challenge each other to be our best.”
The out artists have also faced challenges from unexpected places, namely closeted gays in the music industry. “The people that really think it’s going to work…are middle-aged white guys who aren’t gay, that are totally like, ‘Oh, yeah! Totally! Great! Cool,’ ” She says, admitting, “We’re always so fucking flabbergasted that it’s these dudes that totally think it’ll work. The people that are the most scared are the ones that maybe have to hide, that maybe have to be worried about them being found out. Therefore they’re like, ‘Well, there’s no way you could be out.’ And the truth is—we’re out. There’s no going back.”
It’s no mistake that they are so open about their sexuality. “We kind of look at our career as activism, because it isn’t the easiest route to be out and to be very visible. There’s so many female actors out there that are totally gay and will never say that they are, and that hurts everybody,” She adds.
Their pride is not lost on their fans, as God-Des and She receive a mountian of mail from people affected by their music. “We get emails all the time that literally make me tear up,” says She. “They are just so heartfelt—from, like, girls in super-small communities that can’t be out—that, if they didn’t have our records to listen to every day, they don’t know how they’d get through…it just makes me bawl. But, it’s really cool and I’m so happy that I’m able to affect people in a positive way like that.”
But at the end of the day, despite their growing success and bright future, She pledges to stay humble and keep it real. “When we win our Grammy next year—that’s my plan—we’re totally going to be having barbecues and Budweiser at the crib, you know what I’m saying? Because that’s how we roll as people. I don’t foresee that changing. Ever.”