“I’m the Queen of Hearts and I’m coming for your head,” spits Chicago-based FEMME-C Kaycee Ortiz on her debut mixtape, Beach Street. Released off Futurehood, the same label that spawned Mister Wallace’s Faggot EP, the menacing 16-track effort sees the transgender artist rhyming with newfound confidence—an ode to her grandmother, who proudly purchased her first home on Beach Street in Mobile, Alabama.
Years before Ortiz began channeling her lyrical prowess, she was a health counselor at a Chicago clinic, where she served as a supply systems manager in the American Air Force. Under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, before it was repealed in 2011, Ortiz was discharged early and moved to Atlanta to embark on a music career. But without a proper part-time job, she felt lost and returned to her Alabama native to emerge herself in the Mobile gay scene. There, Ortiz was able to explore her identity, but ultimately found herself homeless and fled once more to Chicago in 2007.
Today, Ortiz is “ready to let go of all her insecurities and tell her story to the world,” which is ever-apparent on Beach Street. From the mixtape’s thrashing opener, “Ain’t Tamer,” to her killer freestyle, “All My Lyfe,” Ortiz has transformed her challenging life experiences into one of the year’s most promising hip-hop breakouts. Listen to the BULLETT premiere, below: