For Spokane hip-hop artist All Day Trey and Seattle pop singer Nicky Buell, their newest single “Imma Dip” is more than just a cross-state collaboration – it also marks the first time both creators have worked with another LGBTQ+ artist on a track.
“It’s just a song of liberation,” Buell said. “It’s a departure from a toxic way of thinking about social expectations. And I feel like a lot of my fans did get that.”
The freefalling chords of “Imma Dip” almost seem to represent the shedding of the societal weights placed on queer individuals while the lyrics, equals parts confessional as firm, fiercely reject the idea of hating ones’ self for being themselves.
Buell, 20, said there was never any doubt about having All Day Trey on the song after hearing his work, specifically his infectiously mellow April single “Mochi.”
“I think it was two or three weeks after ‘Mochi’ released, I shot him a DM,” Buell said. “I was like, ‘Hey, we should collab.’ And then he was like, ‘I was just about to message you.’ ”
The production for “Imma Dip” was overseen by a close friend and collaborator of Buell, Fluencie, who laid down the instrumentation and specifically the slippery bass that underpins Buell and All Day Trey’s verses.
After reworking some of Buell’s first melodic ideas for the song, he and Fluencie turned around a completed instrumental within the hour.
“We just had this crazy connection of, ‘Oh my god, we did it.’ That entire production was done in like an hour. … It was just kind of magic, honestly,” Buell said. “Then Trey came, and he really served the vocals, and his bars were fire. I’m so happy I had that opportunity to work with Trey.”
And for All Day Trey, who is pansexual, issued his debut album “Stay Afloat” in May and recently performed at Lucky You Lounge, the opportunity meant just as much.
“Getting to follow up ‘Stay Afloat’ with a collaboration with another queer artist, especially another queer artist of a different genre, I just feel like we’re really bridging the gap from east to west and adding much-needed representation in the scene for both genres,” All Day Trey said.
That lack of representation and their own first-hand experiences with homophobia turned into a conviction for both artists to honestly tell their stories in “Imma Dip.”
“I hope what people take away from ‘Imma Dip’ is they listen to the song and walk away feeling like they don’t care what society says they have to do or who they’re supposed to be,” All Day Trey said. “They can just feel comfortable being themselves.”
“Whoever listens to my music, straight people, gay people, any kind of individual, I really want them to take my message and interpret it in their own way,” Buell said. “But I feel like I was really adamant on this song because I specifically had a message, and I really wanted to reach out to my queer fans and that base.”
But in transparency, there is vulnerability, and a song with a subject like standing up for gay validity like “Imma Dip” hasn’t always been met with support.
“I actually got kind of a disowning message saying, ‘I will never partake in a progressively pushing lifestyle,’ and was inferring my ‘Imma Dip’ song,” said Buell, who came out publicly as an artist in his first single “Thirsty,” which dropped in January.
“It’s been kind of a struggle releasing my music and comfortably being gay. I do it confidently, but there’s always going to be people like family and stuff like that who won’t always fully support you.”
In spite of any pushback or less-than-supportive reactions, the deeper significance behind “Imma Deep” hasn’t changed. If anything, a song like that has allowed the artists to further establish their own irrefutable identities for listeners and themselves.
“Working in the hip-hop space, I’ve never had the opportunity to work with another queer creator, so that was just huge for me, to be able to make a song like ‘Imma Dip,’ ” All Day Trey said.
“With hip-hop being kind of a traditionally homophobic space also, it just took me a long time to get past all those negative connotations that were put around being gay by society. ‘Imma Dip’ is like my first, ‘I’m here, I’m me, I’m queer.’”
And for Buell, who’s own homophobic experiences growing up and struggles with family shaped some of the inspiration for the song, his message of self-acceptance remains the same.
“First of all, it gets better. Second of all, be who you are. … Be the most authentic self you can be. People who have more conservative-Christian families, like something I’ve experienced myself, there’s so much hate and internalized homophobia you have, and all I say is things get better, and be who you are.”
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