Fan of My Friends (or FOMF from here on out) is a regular column from bomb-ass singer MeLa Machinko. She knows mad people cause she’s cool as fuck.

I am MeLa Machinko aka New Money Machinko aka Katie Kaboom aka The Honey Badger aka Yung Oh No Baby What! Is You Doin. I’m a singer from Brooklyn, New York, and I’ve worked with a gang of rap folks, and put out a couple of FLAME ASS ALBUMS. But if you’ve ever heard me, it was likely on a Talib Kweli or Pharoahe Monch record. I’ve been all over the world and met a bunch of people, and they like me because I’m cool as shit, and cute as a button, and I have a great singing voice and good bewbs. That’s how I make friends, and I keep them by not being a dickhead. My friends are cool, talented, interesting folks, and I’m still a fan of them all. So I came up with a scheme to hang out with them, pick their brains, and have some fun. Y’all will enjoy it too.

… But since this is my column and DAMMIT I’m important too, I decided to interview myself first. So you can get to know me better and clock the goddess’ wavy stature.

I prefer if while reading this, you picture me sitting across from also me—wearing different ‘fits and hairstyles. Interviewer me is wearing round rimmed glasses. They aren’t prescription.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

In high school I worked in the Accounts Payable Dept. of the Intrepid Museum. I basically cut checks all afternoon. My boss was a youngish pretty, nasty Puerto Rican lady who already hated her life but loved freestyle music. I almost jumped overboard. Fuck KTU, yo.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?

Wipe the cold out my eye. And see who’s Facebooking me, and why.
Seriously, it’s a terrible habit. I’ve got to stop rolling over and hopping on the ‘Book. It’s unfuckinghealthy.

If you could change one thing about your career, what would it be?

*snorts* I would have, like, so much more money. SO. MUCH. MORE. I mean, I’m still working on that, though.

What are you the most proud of?

I’m proud I got a lotta quality, stand-up people around me. It says something about me.

Name a celebrity you think is lame and why.

Wild celebrities are lame. WIIIIIIIILD celebrities are lame. This week, Tyrese’s lame ass is lame outside. AGAIN. Ignoramus. I hope he falls off his bike and breaks his two front teeth. Now if you meant one that I know personally who is lame? No comment. I don’t have enough money to be calling those people “lame” in my new column. Ask me again in a year.

What human would you trade lives with, and why?

Nobody. It’s live as shit to be me. Plus I earned all of this existence, and I deserve it.

What thing do you love that you think would surprise people about you?

Dr. Pimple Popper videos. Love. I could lose a DAY watching white goo ooze from sliced-open people. IN A CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT ONLY THOUGH. Stop squeezing shit out of yourselves on YouTube, people! You’re not even doing it right. That’s why it keeps coming back. YOU HAVE TO REMOVE THE ENTIRE SAC.

Who’s going to play you in the biopic?

Young me, Azealia Banks (if she can summon a spirit of ackright from somewhere. Forever got love tho. We all we got.) Older me, Charnele Brown (Kimberly Reese from A Different World) Not a week goes by without one person stopping me in the street thinking I’m her. Don’t get me wrong, Kimberly Reese is a baddie. Pero Charnele Brown is a smooth 2+ decades older than me. Y’all gotta cut the shit.

Say something nice about your mom/dad so they can smile when they read this. You don’t call home enough, by the way.

Most of y’all hate your mom’s Facebook activity. I LIVE for when Syb shows up. Syb cuts UP on these hoes ok?! Love you, Mom. You my best thing.

Do you love avocado, or are you a savage animal with broken taste buds?

Bitch don’t try me. You know what it is. Avocado is a lifestyle.

What do you deeply desire everyone to know about you?

If you’re talking to me and my song comes on, I need you to not take it personally that I can no longer hear anything you’re saying. I didn’t snub you on purpose. I’ll tune back into your convo in like two and a half minutes. Unless the next song is my jam. Then I’ma just dance on you.

Why haven’t you introduced Machinko to The Rock, Idris Elba or 2Chainz yet? Why don’t you want her to be happy?

SIS WE WORKING ON IT, OK?

Name a perfect song, and defend that song.

“International Player’s Anthem.” It strikes every note correctly. It makes you feel every feeling it wants you to have, for as long as it wants you to feel it.

Did you know that the Willie Lynch letter is not real, the Michael Jordan who played basketball and makes sneakers is not the same one who owns the prisons, black women are actually supposed to menstruate too and the horizon is proof of a round Earth? If not, please tell us how this information makes you feel.

You better come through with the Notep buzzer beater, though! HA! yeah man all that shit’s dumb.

Yes, I know where I am. I also know where you’re reading this. But…

I never liked the term “underground.” As much as I have always been in love with “underground music,” it has always felt to me like the very thing I love about the music that tends to fall under the umbrella—the freedom and risk-taking sonically, the noncompliance to the popular rules of the day—it’s always seemed that the title “underground” sought to undermine those qualities, by boxing it in. And everyone who used it, used it that way…not just popular music lovers.

Beyond the catchall use of underground as “music that’s not generally commercial sounding and/or widely commercially released,” the term is at once used as a pejorative (see: Ebro) to mean “unappealing to the masses/unable to crossover because it’s not good enough” (which we know is horse shit)—as a badge of honor; a secret club for the smarter, cooler kids; a weapon used to shame anyone who dares like popular music. Most of that shit is wack and needs to stop.

It’s wild corny to fix your face to say that all the music that doesn’t make it past the corporate gatekeepers and onto the radio 100 times a day just isn’t as good as music that does. Plus a lot of that shit is trash.

But the so-called purist fans can hobble their favorite artist’s career by rejecting anything that to them remotely smells like they want to gain a fan beyond the hot, funky, obscure basement rap club they’re standing in. Think of any “backpack” or “conscious” (subsets of the underground) artist who collaborates with a mainstream artist and puts it out. Now recall their Twitter mentions that day. (Did you even listen to that 2 Chainz verse on De La’s album? He blacked. Haters hated anyway.)

Underground can mean how the music sounds, or how famous a rapper isn’t. It’s further complicated by the facts that A) the major deal is all but dead, so almost everyone is independent now (what that means these days is a convo for another time), and B) there are artists who do have major backing who pretend to be underground, for the authenticating narrative (and so they don’t get taxed in full by collaborators).

Soundcloud is a huge player in the underground conversation (and probably not so incidentally, “Soundcloud rapper” has also been used as an insult). Lil Yachty got his start on Soundcloud. Now he has a Target commercial. Some call him an industry plant. If XXXTentacion never changes his moody emo violent sound, but still gets chosen by Walmart ‘cause one day Drake apologizes and puts him on his Summer single, is HE still underground?

It’s exhausting.

I want the stigma gone, and I want the elitist heads to stand down.

Every rapper’s story began underground, one way or another. If the underground can mean all those things, then why can’t it mean the genesis stories of mainstream faves? Why can’t it mean the Polo Club, before they became the Migos? Kendrick is, as I type, coasting up the Billboard charts. He’s widely accepted as the most “woke” rapper of the times, still making the Blackest music. Section.80 is underground, ain’t it?

What if underground could be all the dope music that’s waiting to be brought to light, and all of the stories that come from the ones who went on to greatness?

I might could love that underground.

If you want more MeLa, and we know you do, follow her on Twitter @MeLaMachinko and stay tuned for more #StopMeLa at UGHHMag.