Micah Tron is a rapper born and raised in San Francisco. She’s a queer woman of color, but the hurdles she has faced go even beyond her race, sexual preference, and gender. She lived in a shelter after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina and a few years into her twenties, she was diagnosed with epilepsy. But she hasn’t let this stop her from pursuing her music career – she says it actually motivates her. After her nephew was born deaf, she learned sign language, and her latest dream is to make music for the deaf community. She spoke with reporter Lo Benichou about her story.
MICAH TRON: Tramicah Dimpsy is my government name. Micah Tron is my artist name.
When I was younger, my mom got me a karaoke machine for Christmas and I had been dying for it, too, and I got it and I was juiced and so I started…downloaded instrumentals from the internet, put them on CDs, and putting them into the karaoke machine and then rapping in my beats and making little cassette tapes.
I was trying to dabble into poetry because I was into the whole Def Jam on HBO thing. I was also thinking about journalism at the same time that’s why I went to New Orleans for, to study journalism – I wanted to be a writer, but music was really my passion.
So it was me and my sister and my other brother, and it was just us three, and my mom, she raised us all, by herself. I felt like she is the strongest woman I’ve ever known. She worked two or three jobs but we always stay fresh. We lived in the projects, but we always stay fresh!
“The Sky is Falling Down” was a song I wrote awhile back. Three characters, coming together – and they all have these trials and tribulations. People who come from that kind of background – the kind of background I came from, really – but, you know, there is a way to make it. I feel like I am the odd bird in my family.
There was one point we stayed in a shelter and I had a mentor who they assigned to me. And I feel like she opened up the whole world to me, because I lived in the projects and my family was so closed minded. I didn’t really get to see a lot of the city and so she took me to places like the DeYoung Museum, she took me to Crissy Field. I had never seen Crissy Field before in my life.
We did a lot of stuff – it was so mind-blowing. It opened my whole eyes to the city. I had never known, you know. Then she disappeared, I never saw her again. And I know that she was a lesbian and I think that may have impacted me somehow, too. I felt like I came out at two different times, one to my family was the most recent because my family is kind of small-minded and bias against a lot of kind of people. But before that, I was just doing me – everybody pretty much knew.
I always thought it was an opportunity. There’s not many lesbian rappers trying to really get out there. I moved around a lot. I actually stayed at my dad’s house for a while in Georgia. He came and got me before the hurricane hit. I was going to Dillard University and it was a week before the hurricane and I got displaced. It set me back so far.
I think I just now caught up to where I need to be, but as far as school-wise, they lost all of my information, my scholarship, my records and all of this so I was starting over really. I was with a friend and we were in my room and I just blanked out. And I blacked out. My friend said you know you really just had a seizure and you need to go get some help.
I saw the doctors and they put me on medication and I went from medication to medication and I felt like the medication made me sicker, so I stopped taking medicine. I am lucky that it hasn’t happened yet on stage. I am afraid it will happen but I try not to think about it. It was the Lil Kim show. That was my like, big boom of the year. I had been doing small club events and little stuff here and there for like non-profits and stuff like that, but when I got the opportunity to do that, I was stoked! I felt like I was priority. He called me for the opportunity – it was not something I applied for or that I tried to get, I was called up and I was her opener. I was the last person to go on before she did, so that was really cool. I’m working at a school called SEED, it’s a school for deaf toddlers and infants.
That’s one of my new ideas – I’m feeling like I want to make music for deaf people. They feel the tempo of the music and they feel the punch of the music but the sounds are different. It’s something they feel and internalize differently than other people because I feel like people who hear music don't really listen to music – they just hear it. They feel it, they boppin’ to it, but they don't really internalize the sounds, instruments, words everything that's inside the songs.
I feel like I want to do something like that to bring out the music in a song so people can see it from a different side. That’s what I want to do, really – to travel. To get my music everywhere so I can show everybody who I am, so people can experience something different from somebody who is in a realm of people who get overlooked all the time. I think it’s our time to stand up.
This story first aired on April 4, 2013.