Barf Troop is the female and non-binary rap collective made up of Babeo Baggins, Babenstein, Baberella Fox, Babe Field, Babe Simpson, and Babelien. The young 6-piece group has been self-releasing music on Bandcamp for the past four years, as Barf Troop and independently. "When we create we are letting all of ourselves out with no censor, with no restraint," the group wrote in a collectively-answered email interview. "Just like you do when you barf. Troop because we stick together like the Girl Scouts!"
That kind of filterless approach is fitting for members of Barf Troop, who all met on Tumblr, which is where they continue to connect with fans. The members of Barf Troop live all over the country, recording songs on their laptops, sharing and collaborating by emailing new stuff back and forth. The results are powerful and unapologetic takes on self-love, self-confidence, gender roles, and more. They sing about stuff that's hard to talk about, like the death of a close friend.
Barf Troop's lyrics are honest, clever, and full of truth. Each member speaks in their own unique ways, but together they sound cohesive. This past June, Babe Field's debut album Half Ripe was released on the Barf Troop Bandcamp, an addictive eight-song collection; there are songs tackling the gendered nature of rap and power dynamics, a smart and nuanced take on the realities of SNAP benefits, a song sampling Lana del Rey. On "What You Want" Babe Field takes on male entitlement, singing: "I can keep my standards low enough so you can reach the top and everything you felt like you deserve just for breathing, just for being a man . . . I got these silly fuckin alpha males on their bended knees, they want a weak ass bitch, and that's just not me."
"The most important message I want to convey through my music is that honesty is power," Babe Field says. "The artists who I look up to are artists that are unapologetic when it comes to their truth. It's the only way to create your own lane, and I want to inspire anyone who enjoys our music to make the truth a priority."
Because of how spread out Barf Troop is geographically I emailed with the members to talk about everything from working together when they're far apart to who inspires them.
How did Barf Troop form? You met on Tumblr, right? Where are all of you from?
Barf Troop formed four years ago as an inside joke between internet friends. Babeo Baggins introduced the idea of becoming a rap group as a sort of rowdy ruff boys rival to Odd Future. Barf Troop is more than one thing. We are all pretty gross babes so it was a great way to explain what we do. When we create we are letting all of ourselves out with no censor, with no restraint. Just like you do when you barf. Troop because we stick together like the Girl Scouts! We have two members in Virginia, two in Atlanta, one in North Carolina, and one in Canada.
What is the significance of having Babe in each of your names?
Well, babe is a cool term because in our personal opinion it's pretty gender neutral! We just added our names or variations of our favorite characters or animals.
How does being a group that is geographically spread out work in a more practical sense? How does it shape the way your group functions and grows?
There's a strong emphasis on teamwork and communication. It definitely makes us stronger and work harder.
How often do you all see each other in real life? Is it easy to collaborate on songs via the Internet or is it better in person?
Some of our members get to visit one another more than others due to being in closer proximities, but as a whole, we get to link up in person around once or twice a year. Most of our song making process has been completed via the web but we recently got the opportunity to work in a studio setting, which was really refreshing. It was cool to see everyone bring their ideas to life with the help of equipment other than our MacBooks.
You all just recently finished a mini tour where you were in D.C. and at Up Yours Fest at SUNY Purchase. What has it been like getting together and doing shows so far?
It's been awesome! We can't wait for the rest, these are the best times of our lives.
A lot of rap music is based off the idea of place and representing a city or area. Is the Internet barf troop's home?
Although Barf Troop wouldn't exist without the internet, we are a group of individuals that all offer varied, unique experiences and interests that have helped us mold our sounds into what they are now, and do have some region-specific qualities. So yes and no.
What does being in a group mean to all of you as artists? How do you think Barf Troop differs from other popular rap groups?
The best part of being in Barf Troop is that we're not an all-girl or all-female group, some of us are non-binary and gender neutral. Barf Troop has offered us life's most unique experience and thrust us into positions where we constantly re-examine how we operate, how we think, how we create, the spaces we occupy, and our goals. Where we intersect is the most beautiful thing-- where we can all put our heads together or build off of each other is when we are the best artists and people we can be. We're all able to grow and learn together in a supportive, loving environment that wasn't offered or accessible to us before, where we can be as open as we like without being immediately confronted with being told that we're wrong for not wanting to adhere to such and such. It's unlike any other, there are too many "best parts" to choose just one.
What are your hopes for the future of rap and music in general? A million Barf Troops?
A million Barf Troops would be great but we'd like to see rappers from not so great backgrounds be taken more seriously because their stories are just as important as everyone else's, even if they're saying it in a different way that you aren't used to.
Babe Field -- on the Half Ripe EP, you talk a lot about male entitlement but in the context of empowering yourself which is really cool. What do you want the people listening to your music to take away from it?
The most important message I want to convey through my music is that honesty is power. The artists who I look up to are artists that are unapologetic when it comes to their truth. It's the only way to create your own lane, and I want to inspire anyone who enjoys our music to make the truth a priority.
In all of your songs there are a ton of pop culture references from sampling "Bring It On" and "Scandal" to covering musicians songs like Lykke Li and Paul Baribeau. What is your relation to pop culture like?
Right now we're really into Young Thug, Nicki Minaj (QUEEN BEE), Ariana Grande, OG Maco, Rae Sremmurd, etc. Outside of music we're super into cartoons for inspiration, such as The Simpsons. We've been so influenced by The Simpsons from such a young age it's a part of our sense of being sort of! So many life lessons and so many imagery ideas come to be via The Simpsons and any cartoon!
What are your plans and goals for the future of Barf Troop?
To take over the world.