There’s something radically disarming about Jerraka Brown, the 28-year-old hip-hop artist better known as Cuddlethot.
Maybe it’s the shock of the blonde curls paired with the tea glasses or the lightness of her unassuming figure. She’s poised and nonchalant here at Mothership Coffee in Fergusons Downtown. Turns out the composure featured on mixtapes such as 2020’s The melting Thoth is not so much a musical style as a personality trait.
“There are a lot of different styles of me out there, and I want to continue that throughout my career,” says Brown, whose influences include Kanye West and Tyler, the designer. “I don’t want to be forced to make relaxing, lo-fi music to unwind. I want to make firecrackers. I want to see the moshing crowd sometimes.
Brown fell in love with recording at a young age. Growing up in Seattle, she accompanied her brothers to their friend’s home studio, where they rapped and taught her beatmaking. Even after joining the Air Force, Brown kept the music close, writing ghosts for musicians she met while stationed in Anchorage, Alaska, for four years.
In 2017, Brown moved to Las Vegas, where she found she belonged. “The energy is crazy here; it’s so fast,” she says, “whereas in Seattle and Alaska it’s like people are going there to settle down, raise a family, get cable TV and forget about their dreams.
Not Brown. Upon arriving here, she immediately began releasing music as Cuddlethot, performing at events such as DTLV Field Trip, and working at Junxion Sound, a downtown recording studio where producers locals have contributed to Grammy-nominated projects such as West’s. donda.
Transparency abounds in Cuddlethot’s writing. The host and singer digs into her own life, crafting stories around love and emotional struggles, like in the sweet “Toxins,” a song about “keeping a person around just [because] we’re both alone,” Brown says. On the track, Cuddlethot candidly raps, “I had the depression/I still do/Come sit in my cesspool/I’m here if you want/I really don’t want you.”
“At the end of the day, I make music for myself; it’s a ventilation thing,” she says. “But I also make music for those who are like me: young gay black people. Weirds who don’t quite fit in. Clumsy children. The hopeless romantics.
With artists like Lil Nas X flaunting his LGBTQ status and rapper Isaiah Rashad embracing his sexual fluidity, hip-hop’s hyper machismo seems to be waning. And Brown, who describes herself as “black, queer, and human,” is absolutely here for it.
“I had a few people from other countries reach out,” she says. “There’s this kid in Germany who said, ‘I really like your music. I’m also queer and I try to make music, and you really inspire me. It was crazy for me, because I I’m not the greatest artist. Like, how did you even find me, bro?”
Brown continues to make room for other artists like her. Each season, she and creative hub Juicebox Ent host Low-Fye Nite, a local music showcase for sweet indie artists staged at a secret location (keep an eye on Instagram @lowfyenite for more details on the June 24 edition).
When it comes to new music, Brown is hard at work following this year’s “Field Day” swagger. She carefully weighs her next release, focused on making it “better than the last,” even though some of her past work might be hard to top (see: “Henderhoneys” reference in “Pull Up Like MJ” ).
But above all, Cuddlethot wants it to take its listeners to a good place. “I just want them to feel warm,” she says. “I want my music to feel like a hug. As if personally cuddled by me, Cuddlethot.
CUDDLES juiceboxent.com/cuddlethot Instagram: @cuddleth0t
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