Under the Radar is Highsnobiety’s weekly celebration of upcoming talent. Each week, we’re spotlighting a rising artist who is bringing something new to the world of music and is capturing our hearts and minds (and ears). This week, we’re featuring Dana Dentata, a former metalhead who is casually making some of the most in-your-face, empowered rap you’re likely to hear this year.
“I’m never gonna trust no dick, bitch,’” spits Dana Wright over screaming G-funk synths and trap drums. The Toronto-born, L.A.-based artist has gone through a kind of metamorphosis over the last couple of years, returning to the spotlight with a renewed alpha-female energy.
“Trust No Dick” is one of eight strip club-approved tracks on DANAVI$ION, Dana’s newest release and triumphant return to music as a hip-hop artist. She took an understandable hiatus after dealing with years of abuse and a subsequent harmful relationship; the toxicity of it all clouded her creativity and she needed time to regroup.
“I had been traumatized and was listening to endless male voices tell me that I couldn’t rap and that my vision didn’t make sense,” Dana says. “Eventually, all of those negative voices went away. I took some time to crawl out of the ashes and was finally able to create music one hundred percent for myself, which is why my new EP is called DANAVI$ION.”
Formerly the frontwoman of all-girl, metal-punk band Dentata, she is known today as Dana Dentata. She’s moved away from making rock music, but there’s still something very punk about her current sound. Dana calls her music “stripper jams”— music for dancers, by dancers. It’s aggressive, it’s moody, and it’s perfect for the club.
“‘Stripper jams’ are sexy, empowering songs the girls can dance to on stage that aren’t about bitches all up on some rapper,” Dana explains. “’Trust No Dick’ is on rotation at The Brass Rail and the girls love the EP.”
She credits her time dancing at the well-known Toronto club for giving her the confidence to make music independently. Having found it frustrating working creatively with men in the past, being surrounded by confident, unapologetic women at The Brass Rail strengthened Dana’s desire to make badass, female-centric hip-hop.
Tracks like “3VIL” showcase Dana’s devilish charisma as she rhymes over a distorted, witchy, hip-hop beat. “Bitch are you Britney or Christina?” she wails over hair-raising church bells and electro synths on “XXXTINA”. The songs are begging to be played live, and Dana plans on doing just that. She’ll be performing DANAVI$ION with an all-female band, some whom are former Dentata members.
Dana’s evolution is more than just musical – she’s switched up her look as well, with her formerly booty-grazing tresses snipped into a chic mullet. What’s remained consistent through it all, though, is her dark, sinful aesthetic.
With idols like Marilyn Manson and Eminem, it’s easy to see why Dana hasn’t strayed far from the dark side. Though both artists have been criticized for their occasionally misogynist lyrics, Dana believes the music she’s making today is a more feminist iteration of their audacious, eccentric vibes.
“Those two have this hard, unfiltered aggressiveness about them that I’ve always been very drawn to,” she says. “It’s 2018. It’s the year of the pussy. I want to take the interesting, wacky parts of those artists and give it that female energy that it needs today.”
When an artist channels androgynous energy through their work, the results can be mesmerizing. Dana straddles the line between freaky babe and tough-guy rapper effortlessly, giving her a unique and fascinating brand of swagger. With DANAVI$ION on rotation, we’re excited to witness the weird and wonderful things Dana Dentata will get up to next.
For more of our features on Under the Radar musicians, check out our interview with 88rising’s NIKI right here.