TikTok viral sensation, Tramp Stamps, are at the centre of a whole lot of online controversy.
In November 2020, the group appeared on TikTok, lip-syncing to a pop-punk track from Disney’s Freaky Friday. Before long, TikTokers took a turn and began to investigate whether Tramp Stamps were indeed, an industry plant.
Tramp Stamps are accused of having a pre-emptive, PR-ready website as soon as their TikTok videos were uploaded.
Their online presence immediately included a polished Instagram feed which also seemed to reflect a pre-meditated PR plan. As their clips started to gain popularity, TikTok users began to look into the band members’ histories. They discovered that the group wasn’t composed of three friends, but rather a group of professionals with years-old industry affiliations.
Vox has described one TikTok user’s opinion of the group as,
“It’s almost like it’s a bunch of people who were like, theatre majors and shit who had rich parents and now they’re co-opting riot grrrl aesthetics that people literally dedicate their lives to for money.”
The Trio Have Produced Music For Years
It’s been uncovered that the drummer, known as Blue, has been producing music for many years. Her tunes have appeared on MTV, DirectTV, Sephora, the NFL and Starz. This information is all available via her website.
Rolling Stone has also advised that the Guitarist (Baker) and the lead singer (Maino) both have deals with Prescription Songs, owned by Dr. Luke. The producer is at the centre of a years-long Kesha controversy. The Swedish-born pop music producer has been accused of sexual and emotional abuse by Kesha in an ongoing legal fight.
The group’s latest single, “I’d Rather Die” has also been criticised for its lyrics. As Vice explains,
“The song boasts lyrics like the line, “I’d rather die / Than hook up with another straight white guy.” All the members of Tramp Stamps are white, and the lyric didn’t sit well with certain critics who claimed that the language was hypocritical and fetishized people of color. Internet sleuths even cited wedding photos of drummer Paige Blue’s marriage to a white man as proof of this hypocrisy.”
On April 17, the group released a four-page response to their “haters”. The statement addressed their critics directly,
“You have gone to the ends of the fucking earth to shit on us, have told us to kill ourselves, and have used conspiracy theories on TikTok as a trend to get more views on your own videos.” It continued, “Fuck you. You don’t like our music? Don’t fucking listen to it. We’re not going anywhere.”
— TRAMP STAMPS (@trampstamps) April 17, 2021
The band explained that they aren’t signed to a major label and that their songs are entirely self-written. Due to their desire for full creative control, their face been producing their music under “Make Tampons Free,” which is their self-created music label.
Mocked and Criticised
In combination with industry-plant allegations, TikTok users have called the band’s aesthetic and sound inauthentic. The group’s latest single, “I’d Rather Die” was sampled in a TikTok video and now has over 5 million views. Thousands of users have mocked the lyrics, which include the lines,
“I can’t remember the last time I slept with someone I actually liked and he went down on me. I can’t recall a memory of someone driving home and not asking for a blowjob.”
The complete video for the single has also received mixed reviews from the YouTube community,
“This is like a Disney montage when the protagonist puts a streak of blue in her hair after her soccer boyfriend breaks up with her.”
“Their image looks like it was conjured up by a middle aged man who looked up “liberal emo alt chick” on Pinterest for inspo.”
Capitalising on New Trends
Music labels have started to capitalise on new trends, carefully organised and curated by producers and A&R guys in slick boardrooms. Prior mentioned Dr. Luke has also previously worked with Christian singer Katy Perry, transforming her public image with “I Kissed a Girl” fame in the noughties.
Watch Tramp Stamp’s “I’d Rather Die” below to make up your own mind:
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