RuPaul Talks New 'Butch Queen' Album: 'I Carry the Torch of the Gay Movement'

RuPaul 2016
Monica Schipper/FilmMagic

 RuPaul at AOL Studios In New York City on March 7, 2016.

Entertainer and drag superstar RuPaul has returned with a fabulous combo: a new pop/dance album (Butch Queen) and the eighth season of his hit reality competition TV series on Logo (RuPaul’s Drag Race).

RuPaul says it’s no coincidence that the album and TV series go hand-in-hand: “If you want the full Drag Race experience, I'll have music for you, I'll have T-shirts, I'll have a candy bar if you want.”

Butch Queen is RuPaul’s third album in a little more than a year (following 2015’s Realness and the Christmas effort Slay Belles) and the latest in a deep catalog of material for the star dating back to his debut, 1993’s Supermodel of the WorldListen to the diva discuss Butch Queen, Drag Race and more on the Pop Shop Podcast, below, beginning at the 26:10 mark.

“[The album is] called Butch Queen because I'm really paying homage to drag,” RuPaul says. “You know, drag queens are like the Marines of the LGBT movement. Drag queens show up, they suit up, and they're ready to serve. Butch Queen is really paying homage to that. It's as if I had a vogue ball, this album would be the soundtrack to it.” That vibe is most evident in a thumping track like “Category Is…” where RuPaul leads an imagined drag ball — as many probably first discovered in the documentary film Paris Is Burning. Other choice cuts include the set's first single, "U Wear It Well." Watch its video, below.

In the Pop Shop Podcast, Billboard suggests to RuPaul how, because the Butch Queen album touches upon the past, it’s sort of educational in a way, and enlightens a younger generation about gay history.

“I think of Drag Race that way,” RuPaul says. “When I was coming up, I had mentors who taught me about Tennessee Williams and Tallulah Bankhead and Truman Capote and [Federico] Fellini -- all that stuff. That sort of went away at one point, for young gay people. So I'm so proud of Drag Race for taking up the slack in that department, because so many young kids around the world, in remote places around the world, get to watch Drag Race and learn about Paris Is Burning or Grey Gardens. Even just attitudes toward drag -- different styles of drag. At Drag Race and through my music, I sort of carry the torch of the gay movement, the drag movement. Really, the outsider movement.”