A space queen. A hip-hop artist. An appreciator of boy booties. And a nice Jewish, Ivy League-educated feminist.
Malka Red is an up-and-coming rapper and performance artist, who’s celebrating Pride with a new single, the succinctly titled empowerment anthem “Yes Bitch.”
The name Malka Red is firstly a scientific reference—apart from her artistic inclinations, she holds a degree in evolutionary anthropology, and she was attracted to the Red Queen hypothesis: the idea that organisms need to continuously evolve to survive at all. She translated “queen” to Hebrew, and became the spacey-sounding Malka Red.
Malka Red, who is 25, grew up as Rebecca Carrol in Las Vegas, where she attended Jewish day school. After graduating from Brown in 2015 (she was very involved in Hillel), she moved to New York to pursue acting. As many performers do, she soon grew frustrated with the audition grind. A hip-hop fan, she began writing her own music and performing it at open mics, eventually developing her current music career. One of her singles was “Boy Booty,” a feminist riff on songs objectifying women. And then, the inevitable occurred: “It became this gay-club anthem kind of on accident,” says Carrol.
On the back of “Boy Booty,” Carrol started working the queer-party circuit, performing in towns like Lisbon and Mexico City, sometimes as the halftime performer during drag shows. (In touch with the LGBTQ community, Carrol also began identifying as queer.)
Carrol cites Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj as influences, since she also develops and embodies multiple larger-than-life personas (there’s the Red Queen of course, but also “good girl” Betty Buckets, sexy goth Panther, and glam queen Analysa). She also admires Chance the Rapper and Lady Leshurr (the latter is known for her one-take video, and Carrol has just attempted the same with her new single, “Yes Bitch”).
Carrol’s songs also contain the occasional Jewish lyric. Her near-eponymous song, “Red Queen,” for example, goes “Got DNA in Egypt/I like em boys with kippahs.” Her side hustles are Jewish, too—bar/bat mitzvah tutoring and Jewish enrichment for kids.
“Yes Bitch,” the new single, is a fearless declaration of presence, of femininity and weirdness and power: “She on that glossy street chic/The model mean cheek/The goddess mystique/She work the sweet sleek/Colossal green streak/A bit sadistic/Called a freak geek/They want a sneak peak.”
(Plus, the hook will stay in your head long after you’ve listened to the song.)
Next up for Malka Red is a sci-fi scripted podcast series, featuring the personas she created. After that, who knows?
“I want to make the music big,” says Carrol. “I love TV and film, I love acting—that’s the dream, is do it all!”
You can meet Malka Red for yourself by checking out the debut of her new music video, “Yes Bitch”:
Gabriela Geselowitz is a writer and the former editor of Jewcy.com.