RuPaul’s 10 Best Bangers: the Fierce, the Legendary and the Underrated
RuPaul’s Drag Race, TV’s most tongue-in-cheek and expertly crafted reality show, blasts back onto our screens on March 29.
With Lady Gaga guest judging in the first episode, it’s an exciting time to be a fan of this cult-hit that only seems to get bigger and bigger.
As any hardcore fan will tell you, RuPaul‘s been knocking out stellar dance pop for decades now — well before the show even started. In fact, his most recent release Remember Me is an excellent reminder that this is a queen with quite the musical back catalogue. Remixing classic tracks into new shapes that sound like everything from Duke Dumont to Major Lazer, they’re a reminder of just how durable Ru’s sound really is.
But if you’re finding yourself in need of a starter pack we’ve got you covered. Here, we list some of our favorite RuPaul bangers — from the legendary to the fierce to the underrated. Grab a wig, crank up the disco lights and let’s turn the party, girls.
“Lick It Lollipop (feat. Lady Bunny)”
Aside from releasing a slew of albums to tie in with every new season of Drag Race, RuPaul shines on stellar standalone singles. This underrated 2013 cut, a collab with fellow drag legend Lady Bunny, is a cheeky, club-ready number with double entendres galore and sophisticated production that shows Ru has a good ear for a pop tune. Plus, the video serves plenty of eye-candy in the shape of former Drag Race pit crew star Miles Davis Moody.
Ru’s Born Naked album is chock full of crowd pleasing party tracks, including the now legendary “Sissy That Walk,” but one of the standouts is undoubtedly this frenetic and engaging bop. Sounding not unlike something from Kylie circa Light Years or Madonna circa Confessions on a Dancefloor, it’s got melancholic lyrics, rousing production and all the hallmarks of an arms-aloft club anthem. Plus, it even has a melodramatic spoken word bit in the middle and a lush black and white video that lets Ru shimmy and shake like a Hollywood starlet.
“A Shade Shady (Now Prance)”
One of a number of ’90s RuPaul gems given a remix on Remember Me, this track still sounds pretty incredible in its original form. A little more slinky and moody than Ru’s breakthrough hit “Supermodel,” this is RuPaul distilled to her finest form. Vamping it up over chilly ’90s House and demanding her coins, it’s a catchy and campy treat that will make you want to immediately turn it on the runway.
Ru’s underrated Foxy Lady saw her dive deep into the high-octane ’90s dance sound that La Bouche, Haddaway and Culture Beat were mining for chart gold — and it works so well. A chugging, insistent beat and RuPaul demanding her turn in the spotlight, “Snapshot” is high-camp and ultra catchy. From the breathy Mae West moment of “You got some film in that camera or are you just happy to see me?” to the full throttle production, this deserved to be a massive ’90s smash.
“Step It Up”
If you’re tired of motivational quotes on Instagram, allow us to point us in the direction of the only inspo you’ll ever need: RuPaul telling you to step it up. This thumping dance cut is a call to arms to get your s–t together and throw down on the dance floor. Produced by club-pop genius and remixer supreme Dave Audé (who’s remixed everyone from Gaga to Beyoncé), it’s both a shoutout to viral superstar TS Madison and a song that will make you feel unstoppable — whether you’re listening at the club or the convenience store.
“A Little Bit Of Love”
Just when you thought Ru’s arsenal of ’90s hidden gems was fully explored, you stumble upon a bop like “A Little Bit of Love.” A rousing call to arms, with a durable melody and a still-applicable-to-today message, the song sounds both of its time and like a modern smash. “A Little Bit of Love” is giddy dance pop done with aplomb. Plus, the video is a campy blend of ’90s supermodel references, Star Trek and Charlie’s Angels. Truly, when will your fave?
When Drag Race gave Ru another bite at the pop culture cherry, she came ready with the tongue-in-cheek tunes to soundtrack her return. Used as a centerpiece for a challenge at the end of season one, “Cover Girl” soon became a RuPaul classic for focusing on the strongest themes of any drag song: walking, working and serving it.
2011’s Glamazon saw RuPaul bash out another stellar collection of pop bops; the crowning jewel of which being its own title track. An ode to the transformative power of painting your face and turning up your look, it’s impossibly catchy and packed with personality. Why this doesn’t soundtrack every TV makeover segment or rom-com wardrobe montage is beyond us.
“Sissy That Walk”
“Sissy That Walk” is everything you could need from a RuPaul song: a huge chorus, a beat designed to turn your local gay club into a swirling, sweaty mess and enough attitude to make your do your very best Naomi Campbell walk. Fitting in perfectly with dance pop trends but also playing squarely with drag references, it’s the perfect queer party anthem.
“Supermodel (You Better Work)”
Could it really be anything else? Whether you’ve just discovered RuPaul’s tunes or you can remember when this swallowed up pop culture, there’s no better place to start then this catchy, sleek, wink-wink pop gem. In the hands of anyone else, “Supermodel” would be a novelty record, impossible for its singer to transcend. But thanks to Ru’s delivery (and general genius), this feels like the first part of an important queer voice entering the mainstream — and having a blast while doing so. We have one thing to say: put this on every RuPaul playlist.