Many artists have postponed new releases to avoid distracting from the Black Lives Matter protests that have swept all 50 states. And yet, the recent unrest has generated some of the most beautiful sounds I’ve ever heard. At the top of the list is a 30-second diatribe from a concerned citizen who told LAPD police commissioner Michael Moore to “suck my dick and choke on it” during a live Zoom meeting. The consonance is unbelievable—the satisfying crunch of “suck” and “dick” and “choke,” all climaxing at the supremely poetic, “I yield my time, fuck you.” And then there’s the sweet, sweet noise of hundreds of protestors shouting “Move bitch, get out the way!” at a line of NYPD officers. But perhaps this summer’s true anthem is “Lose Yo Job,” featuring a 27-year-old Black woman named Johnniqua Charles.
In February, Charles was temporarily detained in Dillon, South Carolina by a security guard patrolling a strip club. “IM NOT POSTING THIS TO BE FUNNY TOWARDS THIS SUBJECT!!!!,” the guard captioned the original video at the time. “I’m posting it cause that rap was lit.” You can see him visibly stifling a smile as she wiggles her butt and gleefully yells, “You about to lose yo job. Get this dance! You about to lose yo job ’cause you are detaining me for nothing!” Her chant has a playful rhythm, and her message is matter-of-fact, like she’s telling someone their fly is down. The security guard did not lose his job, but other authority figures are about to—on Sunday, the Minneapolis City Council pledged to defund and dismantle their police department.
Last week, DJ Suede the Remix God, a producer for artists like YoungBoy Never Broke Again and Megan Thee Stallion, teamed up with DJ iMarkkeyz, who recently remixed Cardi B’s “Coronavirus” cackle, to transform Charles’ impromptu hook into a full-blown rap anthem, which has since exploded online. “I’m a truck driver & I listened to that loop for MILES today hauling 30,000 lbs of cereal!!! You’re the best!!!!,” one commenter wrote on Charles’ video explaining the backstory behind the song. This newfound fame is helping her turn over a new leaf: She has struggled with homelessness and addiction, and her sister has started a GoFundMe to help get assistance for Charles and her 3-year-old son.
Yesterday, Johnniqua Charles, her sister Andrea, and remixers DJ iMarkkeyz and DJ Suede all dialed into the same Zoom call to talk about the build-up and reaction to their viral hit.
Pitchfork: Johnniqua, can you recap what happened the night the original video of you was filmed?
Johnniqua: I was in the club all night. I went in with a small pocket book with money and personal stuff like my ID in it, and I set it in the DJ booth because I knew the DJ. At the end of the night, he was getting his stuff together to leave the club, and I’m going out because we’re leaving together. Then I remember—oh, my pocketbook. So I was just trying to get it back and [the security guard] wouldn’t let me. We start arguing, and I get real disrespectful with my mouth and I say, “suck my dick.” Other people were around and they started laughing—maybe he thought I tested his manhood or something—so he threw me up against a car.
If all I said was “suck my dick,” you can’t arrest me for that. Before the video even started, I asked him for like five minutes what the reason for handcuffing me was. So I was like: “You can’t hear me? Then I’m going to sing it to you.” The words just came. And I already know, if this went to your supervisor, [sings] you about to lose your job. I know my rights and I know the law.
DJ iMarkkeyz and DJ Suede, how did you guys find the video?
Suede: My fans were just tagging me. And I reached out to Keyz, and I was like, “Bro, we got to do this.” It was just going too viral, and I thought it was dope.
iMarkkeyz: I’d seen it on different blogs, and I was actually going to hit Suede up as soon as I got into the crib. There was too much going on at all these protests. I actually got caught. I was in the protest where the Manhattan Bridge was blocked.
How did you get into remixing and music production?
Suede: I’ve been making tracks since 2012. Then I started doing remixes, but it’s so oversaturated, I had to think of something that nobody else was doing. So I got really, really high and really, really drunk one day and I just made a beat out of something crazy, and it went viral. And I never stopped. I work with NBA YoungBoy, Juicy J, and Megan Thee Stallion, but had I not started doing these remixes, I probably wouldn’t have met those people. Just recently, I did this remix of a Lil Boosie clip called “put your pussy lips on Live, I’ll give you $1,000.”
Andrea: Oh you made that? That’s dope.
iMarkkeyz: Me and Suede started on Vine. I’ve been DJing ever since I was about 15, and producing since like about 13. I also direct. In 2013 I started making Jersey Club music, and I remixed official songs like Diplo’s “Express Yourself,” back when the EDM scene was going crazy. And in 2014, my biggest breakthrough song was called “Rounds” that I remixed from a Vine by Carl Garrett. That’s where the whole element of revision and putting mashup videos together came from.
Suede: We’re the only ones doing what we do—like we could literally take this whole conversation and make it a whole song. If it make noise, we can make it heat.
Can you walk me through the process of remixing “Lose Yo Job”?
iMarkkeyz: Well, the way she sang it and expressed what happened, I immediately thought of some crunk, Lil Jon-type shit.
Suede: It was already a song, so we just had to sauce it up.
iMarkkeyz: In the process of it figuring out how we wanted to do it, I thought of a song that was produced by Suede, Megan Thee Stallion’s “Simon Says.” In the beginning there’s a sample from Three 6 Mafia. I was like, “I want to do something like that.” I made the beat in five to seven minutes, and then, to orchestrate the whole song, it took less than two hours.
Suede: We already both have big followings, so I knew it was gonna do something, but I didn’t know it was going to do what it did. It went viral in probably less than 24 hours. I think it’s gonna be relevant for at least the rest of the year just because of what’s going on. We talked to [Andrea and Johnniqua] to get the business straight, and then we put it out just like a regular song.
What has the reaction been to the remix, and what does the future hold?
Andrea: People from places I never even heard of are messaging her telling her: “Thank you, this video is just so awesome, I love your spirit, I love your personality.” People are just loving her for simply being her, and that’s huge. This platform is giving her the opportunity to see that there’s a better side to life.
Johnniqua: Now I want to go protest, with my song playing, in the front. For people from George Floyd’s family to contact me and be like, “You’ve brightened up our day”—that means a lot.
Originally Appeared on Pitchfork