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GUN$ Garcia: Bad Bitch, Guns Blazing.

October 1, 2013

GUN$ GARCIAText by Chesney Davis. Images bu Abigail Reimold.

There are so many now. That’s what Regina “Gun$” Garcia, heralded DJ associated with the Mad Decent collective, feels about the number of women in hip-hop who share her endeared title of a “bad bitch.” These women, Garcia’s contemporaries, haven’t so much crawled out of the shadow of their male counterparts as much as they crashed in, guns blazing, with confidence and innovation.

“Girls can rap now,” Garcia says.

And they even get respect for it. Like the women she features on her turntables or selects for her pumped-up mixes, such as Azealia Banks and Kreayshawn, Garcia never feels the need to diminish her femininity or prove her creativity in spite of gender. She insists it is part of why she has been able to carve out a niche and seen success as a result.

“There’s sexism all the time,” she asserts. “People give me back-handed compliments all the time and you have to just not care. I’m not a good DJ in spite of the fact that I’m a girl. I think that’s part of the reason why I am. I know what girls want to dance to because I like to dance.”

An alumna of the all-female Moore College of Art and Design, it’s easy to see why she has such an affinity for strong women. That foundation is also why she’s never hesitant about being competitive with men or women, always going for what she wants. But going for what you want can have its challenges.

“It’s so hard to work for yourself,” Garcia admits, “because I don’t want to work. I’d rather sit around and do nothing. So when you have to be like, ‘OK, now you have to go home after you’ve just worked six hours and do more work researching music on the Internet,’ or whatever it is that I’m doing, it’s not always the most fun. But you have to do what you’re passionate about or else it’s not worth it.”

This passion has also prompted Garcia to share her knowledge by teaching other now-known Philly DJs such as Uncle Ron, Suga Shay and her Yellow Girl Mob partner, DJ Yolo Ono.

“I think that her ability is to see the bigger picture and think about the fine balance of being a woman doing something – but also kind of not limiting yourself by that, like almost as if it’s a gimmick,” says Yolo Ono. “I think it comes from a really genuine place of being empowered and representing women overall.”

All of this, Garcia says, is part of her desire to see more unity among the DJ community in Philly.

“I’m trying to make a joint force with all of us girl DJs from Philly,” Garcia says. “I think that’s what’s kind of been missing as far as relations between DJs, whether boy or girl. There’s money for everything we make and we can all make it a lot easier if we do it all together.”

This month, Garcia will release the sequel to her 2011 mixtape Bad Bitches Bomb First, a project that helped solidify her place as a crowd favorite.

“The first time I did it, it was actually really hard to find girl rap music that I felt like applied to the parameters of ‘bad bitch’ music,” she says. “Now, it’s like, there’s too much. So I have the opposite problem.”

And what a good problem to have.

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