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Rapper Dai Burger Just Wants You To Express Yourself

The New York rapper opens up about encouraging young women to pursue music, being a Black queer woman in hip-hop and creating her own lane.
Rapper Dai Burger Just Wants You To Express Yourself
Photo by Oluwaseye Olusa

Dai Burger’s sophomore album, Bite The Burger, opens with “Cook Book Intro” a sizzling introduction to a brash, genre-blending album full of anthemic tracks.

Burger, born Dainene Baldwin—her stage name is a combination of a nickname and her favorite food. “The burger sums up everything, burger is a complete package,” she said.

Burger, who got her start as a backup dancer for Lil Mama and stylist for designer Patricia Field’s clothing boutique, initially thought she’d be a singer.

Rapper Dai Burger Just Wants You To Express Yourself

“I felt like I wanted to sing,” the rapper told ESSENCE. “So I do incorporate some R&B songs and I do sing my hooks sometimes but I eventually found a balance where I could do singing meets hip-hop meets house as well.”

Burger’s latest album is the perfect blend of all those genres. Her single “I Be Knowin” with Brooklyn rapper Billy B seamlessly fuses R&B and hip-hop. Burger’s collaboration with rapper Cakes Da Killa, “Flame Emoji,” is an energetic, swagger-filled track. And “The Function” is a thumping, house-influenced homage to New York nightlife, a song that resonates with Burger because “I love pumping through the function.”

For the rapper, content is key. She loves to tackle topics head-on, pointing to songs like “Pics,” which explores sexting and the dynamics at play. “I love talking about things that people might overlook sometimes. People might not want to talk about things but I find a way to capture it all.”

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Burger has the energy to back up her bold lyrics.

About “Salty,” an anthem that calls out haters and sees the rapper flaunting her success, Burger says, “I’m not intimidated by other people. That’s an action. If anything, I’m the opposite. I’m an encourager. I love seeing females doing their thing, I love seeing girls boss up and working hard and chasing their dreams.”

And Burger puts her money where her mouth is when it comes to female empowerment. In 2017, she launched an initiative called Where My Girls, which gives girls between the ages of 10-18 the opportunity to learn all about music production.

“I’m here to represent even the upcoming-and-coming entrepreneurs and musicians who may not have a role model in that sense,” she said, adding that she wants to show girls that they can pursue their dreams outside the typical 9 to 5. “I want to share those options with people because it’s not impossible now, it used to be impossible.”

Rapper Dai Burger Just Wants You To Express Yourself

The rapper’s push to get more women into music is also thanks to finding her own community in hip-hop, not always an easy feat for a queer Black woman.

“I just do me and stay consistent with who I am, it’s all you can do. I’ve been lucky to be so accepted into the circles around me and there’s such a platform for us now. There used to be underground parties and we had to keep the queer on the low. Now, me being here and queer, it’s like I found that lane where I’m able to express myself and speak for others, who might’ve felt suppressed, to feel loved as well.”