DFW Music News

Hip-Hop Artist Jackie Faye Is a Whole Lot 'Nawf' And a Little Bit Cuntry

Jackie Faye is a multi-cultural force in DFW music.
Jackie Faye is a multi-cultural force in DFW music. Ryan Chung
Jackie Faye’s newest album, Cuntry, is an EP that can be described as, in a word, original. It's very much a product of its enigmatic and almost obsessively peculiar creator. In an already male-dominated field of hip-hop, Faye has by sheer hustle carved out a space for her music as a queer, Asian-American female who also plays guitar as she sings and raps.

“I named it that because I like the word and also it represents the body of work accurately, that feeling when I know what I want, go for it and get it but piss people off cause I’m a woman," Faye says. "So they judge me/hate me for it and I’m like OK, let’s be cunt-ry. Also there are country music elements not from a beer-drinking music standpoint but country like the South … Country like UGK and Erykah, country like Beyoncé, or Solange or Nelly.”

One of her songs, “찌개” (pronounced "Jjigae" for non-Korean speakers) perhaps best encapsulates her unique approach to music. Over a jazzy hip-hop beat produced in tandem with Faye’s sparse guitar, she raps, “I’m in the booth / Y’all bitches boo / All of my life dealing with flipping the rotten shit, making it soup."
She is, of course, referring to Jjigae, the kimchi soup that's a Korean staple.

“At the end of the day I'm just a young shawty from the Nawf,” Faye says of her home neighborhood of Far North Dallas, known affectionately as "The Nawf" by its denizens. “Shoutout to Audelia and Skillman. Just trying to give back to the flavor of the city, gochujang and five-spice in the mix.”

This mix of humility and humor is as commonplace in Faye’s personality as it is in her music. She attributes part of it to a now rear-view (but recent) experience with cancer.

“It’s not like it was a good cancer but every single doctor said if they were to pick a cancer it would be that one," she says. "It was scary in that you were forced to confront your own mortality, think about how human we are … We aren’t gods, we can plan out shit as much as we want but we really don't know what the fuck is going to happen.

“It forced me to think about if I die tomorrow how I want to experience the rest of my life. If I didn’t want to experience anything I could just kill myself. But really, though, it’s keep going or give up.”

What could have been tragedy turned into a sense of urgency that turned into hustle. Faye put her nose to the grindstone to complete Cuntry, her first EP after a string of singles.

“At the end of the day I'm just a young shawty from the Nawf." – Jackie Faye

tweet this

One of the highlights is a song so good she recorded it twice, “FTS (Fuck That Shit).” The first is with Faye solo and the second as a reprise with three Dallas artists — Honin, Maya Piata and Small Town — forming her backup crew, echoing the chorus “Fuck that shit / Baby I ain’t doin’ it / And if you want me to / then fuck you.”

The three musicians' voices, together with Faye’s more subdued delivery, give what otherwise could be considered vulgar lyrics a sense of almost otherworldly beauty, capturing the listener and putting them in the song.

Currently, Faye is in Los Angeles promoting the album, playing shows and planning her next moves, but she'll be back in Dallas soon enough.

More recently, Faye recorded a video for “FTS” with her red Gibson SG guitar and her backup singers in tow, featuring Dallas’ renowned skyline and highway spaghetti in the background.

“All the songs on Cuntry with no O started with two chords and a guitar, every single song, so we wanted to bring it back to its rawest form and I think it was my young cousin that said, ‘I think it would be really cool if it was you and three bad bitches singing around you,'" Faye says of the video. "So we said OK, and the homie and manager Bran Movay, he arranged the vocals on top of it and I wanted Dallas to feel like as much of a character as possible and I wanted it to feel live.”

Listen to Jackie Faye’s EP Cuntry below:
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.