Discovery: House of Ladosha
IMAGE COURTESY OF LUCAS WILSON
House of Ladosha is a forward-thinking force to be reckoned with. An artistic collective that makes everything from t-shirts to club bangers to their own fierce vernacular, the New York-based, gender-bending glamazons have been gaining steady acclaim from the indie crowd and hip-hop heads alike for tracks like the recently released “Rollin,” which inventively references Naomi Campbell and Paris Is Burning in one fell swoop, and the now almost-legendary YouTube clip “BMF (Black Model Famous),” which finds House lyricist Dosha Devastation giving Rick Ross’ original track a run for its money. Coming off a killer performance opening for Azealia Banks at New York’s Irving Plaza, we spoke to Ladosha’s music side, Antonio Blair (the aforementioned “Dosha Devastation”) and Adam Radakovich (“Cunty Crawford”) about the gig, their journey thus far and where they hope it’ll take them next.
HOW THE HOUSE CAME TOGETHER: Blair: We all moved to New York from all over the country, and met as freshmen at Parsons/New School, but the House has grown so much as far as whom I would consider family. For the most part, all my friends are artists, designers, writers or performers, so I think that we all connected to each other through a love of creating stuff… anything.
Radakovich: We were all like these weirdos from all over the country who moved here at 18 to study fashion, and then when we met each other it was like “Okay, that’s who I need to be with!” We would go to parties together and just go off and be like, dancing to the most insane music. I was so homesick when I first moved here, but meeting my house family made me feel so at ease. They’re my oxygen.
GROWING UP: Blair: I grew up in Nashville, so I’m proud to be Southern by the grace of sweet baby Jesus, but my parents are both art-raging, so I was always surrounded and immersed in everything “art” related. I remember being really young and my dad being like, “You would love this movie by this photographer, Larry Clark, but you’re kinda too young to really understand it.” Boop, watched it anyway and fell in love. My parents never hid the world or tried to really guide me in a particular direction. They just let me do stuff and experiment and really do me. As a child, I was obsessed with Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, Barbie—I had over 30 Barbies and hundreds of outfits and accessories! I wanted to be a gymnast as a kid, one reason being because I liked the outfits. I was obsessed with anything cunt: Catwoman, Sheneneh, TLC, En Vogue, Prince, Marilyn Monroe, Nan Goldin books, Showgirls, and shit like that.
Radakovich: I grew up in a small town in Ohio. My parents were schoolteachers. It was very conservative but they always let me explore and do me. I also had an older brother Brian, who really turned me onto rap. But as a child, I would obsess over Missy Elliott, Lil’ Kim, Trina, The Cranberries, TLC, Salt-n-Pepa. My dad took away my Salt-n-Pepa Very Necessary tape because he said it was inappropriate for a nine-year-old to be listening to. I was devastated! I loved MTV’s House of Style, My So-Called Life, Clueless, Friday, etc. Anything that made me feel excited and fashionable.
HOW THE MUSIC GOT INVOLVED: Blair: It started in ’07 as a goof for shits and giggles, but then I put it on MySpace and people were like, “Actually I like this, you should do something with this,” and I’m all like, “No she don’t do that, she’s a fashion designer.” But shit happens—we did one show, which led to another, which led to another, and this shit kinda snowballed. Adam’s my best friend, so we have a super cosmic connection that can’t be put into words, really.
Radakovich: We were living with a friend in Hell’s Kitchen and just started doing it one day. Me, Antonio, and Ojay from Zebra Katz. Then it snowballed into this big thing. We were always sharing music with each other, and then one day we were like, “Wait, we should make some music!”
HARDEST PART: Blair: I think the hardest part for me is people really understanding it and taking it seriously, and not treating it like some bullshit gay-carrying crap. A lot of people just see gay in big, fluorescent, pink letters, and that disappoints me. Building a following was actually pretty simple—we just had the MySpace, and then the YouTube, and now Soundcloud, and we’ve been doing shows pretty regularly—it’s pretty easy. Also, it would be cute to make loads of cash for it, but that is not happening yet.
Radakovich: There’s still a lot of homophobia in New York, especially when it comes to music. We don’t really see that. I thank the skies that I’m queer—it’s so much fun and gives you the license to carry. People freak out because our beats and lyrics are so dark and crunk, but we’re up in looks serving them fish. But I think more rappers should just let go. Put on some pumps, honey, wear a dress—it really frees you, and will probably make your lyrics better.
RAP GAME CRITERIA: Blair: It’s all about good music and individuality, which I think a lot of… not just rappers, but artists in general, lack. If you are that bitch and you actually do spit the hot, hot fire, then how could you ever be denied your props? Real recognize real! Because at the end of the day, being a straight black male doesn’t mean you are gonna be good at rapping, boop!
Radakovich: People get so freaked out by our presentation and our content, but we don’t care. We’re really honest. We say a lot of shit that some rappers probably wanna say, but can’t because they’re closeted or carrying. But we don’t care. We just wanna make drowed-out, bass-heavy bitch tracks, and that’s that.
AZEALIA BANKS’ MERMAID BALL: Blair: [It was] H.A.M.! It was really magical to me to see her up there living and everybody singing along and knowing, like really knowing the words. I felt happy to be a female rapper that night for sure. That night was for the cunts, definitely!
Radakovich: It was mad cute. We went the hell off. We let New York know what it meant to give a show. Azealia looked so cute—I’m happy for her. It’s nice to see a young woman of color doing her thing and reigning. It makes us wanna rage harder. And I always love a function where a bunch of queens can come together and celebrate themselves!
THE FUTURE: Blair: It would be so cute to be Beyoncé, but that probably won’t happen. I just want to keep making music and building up the house as a brand and a movement. I’m carrying, but making visuals for songs and dabbling in fashion. More photoshoots to really get the image out, and traveling for sure. Still going H.A.M. on the exposure!
Radakovich: I just see us pushing boundaries. Antonio and I have this connection where we know what to do without even speaking on it. We just wanna twerk, give looks, travel, meet cute boys, wear major clothes, and just do us. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
FOR MORE ON HOUSE OF LADOSHA, VISIT THEIR WEBSITE.