"Okay, 3, 4, 5 . . . " Amanda Mallory, a/k/a Philly hip-hop diva Amanda Blank (who comes to the House of Blues Monday), isn't counting down the intro to a new joint. She's counting quarters at the laundromat. "Hey, sorry, my washer and dryer are broken, so I'm doing laundry here. I'll have to keep it rated PG, I guess."
HO' NO MO' "I can't imagine wanting to rap for 12 songs in a row about having sex," says Blank. "Sex is a big part of my life, but I'm not, you know, crazed for it."
Anyone even minimally versed in Ms. Blank's œuvre would chuckle at the idea of her trying to keep things clean. Emerging from Philly dirty-rap crew Spank Rock, Blank distinguished herself among a sea of rap dudes with her dizzying spitfire attack and willingness to get nasty in a manner that was both playful and intimidating. "In my first interview ever, someone asked me what it felt like to be the Kelly Bundy of rap music. I was like, 'I wish!' I'm more like the Jerri Blank of rap music, like the character from Strangers with Candy — that's where 'Amanda Blank' came from. Because, you know, that character is so funny and kind of crazy-looking and all fucked up and whatever — though I'm less and less like that character as I get older."
Whoa, whoa, there: "As I get older"? Is the author of such Lil' Kimisms as "You'll be choking on my dick when I tell you to suck it" (from the 2007 Spank Rock/Aaron LaCrate collaboration "Blow") and "I've got rough-sex hair and a pussy made of gold" (from the 2005 Hollertronix mixtape B-More Gutter Music highlight "Super Freek") mellowing out on the she-gangster tip?
"What people know about me, especially on the Internet, is very specific, and it's very different than what I think I'd want to do. I can't imagine wanting to rap for 12 songs in a row about having sex. Sex is a big part of my life, and it especially was when I was in my early 20s, but I'm not, you know, crazed for it, you know?"
This could very well mean that by the time we get her full-length debut (I Love You drops in July on Downtown), it might be from a new, more mature Blank. "The thing is that when I was writing all of those earlier raps, I was single, you know? And I was just out on the town, 21 years old trying to, you know, get it all in. Meanwhile, in the last two years, while I was working on this album, I was also actually in love with somebody and had a totally different relationship with a man than I'd ever had before. I think that that plays a big role in this shift in my attitudes. My approach to having sex changed because I was having it with someone I was very much in love with."
That said, don't let the album's name fool you into thinking that the record is an ode to all things lovey-dovey. "It isn't a love album. Well, it is, but not really, because it isn't, like, 12 songs of 'I love you.' A lot of the songs are actually kind of angry." The change in tone isn't just lyrical, either; in place of the typical electro-crunked Amanda Blank booty-jam dynamics, expect to hear a good helping of pop. "Not corny or bubblegummy, I just really like a catchy pop tune with lyrics that people can relate to, and this album reflects that."
Sounds promising enough, but the risk remains that fans might not accept this more grown-up Get Um Girl (to quote another of her old tunes). "I'm actually really nervous. I don't think, in making this album, that I did what people expected and/or wanted me to do, for sure. But you know what? I've only ever made music with other people, as a collaborator. With this album I was like, 'What do I want to say?' It's my record and not anyone else's, so I can really switch it up. So, you know, either people will be disappointed or they'll love me. Either they want the Amanda Blank character or they don't. But people will be into it." She says this with some familiar certainty. "Because it's good, you know?"
AMANDA BLANK + SANTIGOLD + TROUBLE ANDREW | House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St, Boston | June 1 at 8 pm | $25-$35 | 888.693.2583 orwww.houseofblues.com/boston