Like all the best Brooklyn rappers, some of her rhymes are dirty and some talk about the birds and the bees.

But Hila Perry — aka Hila the Killa — is more likely to be referring to soil and pollination than causing beef. She’s much more interested in vegetables.

Over the past four years, the 31-year-old Bushwick-based educator and self-described “eco-rapper” has amassed a dedicated social media following for her viral songs, public stunts and videos on conservation and the environment.

Now, she’s planning to ramp up her part in the “eco-revolution” by producing an online variety show for 2022 set to inspire New York and the world to learn more about the planet.

“I just want to really focus on how to explain the magic that I see in nature and the world, and in people, and really express that so people can see it with me,” she told BK Reader.

Thirst for knowledge ignited

Perry’s journey into eco-rapping began when she attended the Burning Man festival in 2014. The festival is the largest “leave no trace” event in the world, typically attended by more than 70,000 people who are required to leave no trash behind.

For Perry, who grew up in Lower Manhattan where trash bags are piled high every day, it was eye-opening to see people hyperaware of any piece of trash on the ground.

“When I came back I was like, there’s so many things that I can still do in the spirit of Burning Man,” Perry said.

One of the easiest was to start bringing her own cup to coffee shops, gallery openings and even friends’ parties — and promoting the move as a fashion statement.

Hila Perry. Photo: Kenny Rodriguez / @kennyrodz

With her interest in conservation sparked, Perry started realizing how much she didn’t know about the environment.

She began a journey of educating herself, took a permaculture course with the Center for BioRegional Living and, in 2018, won a grant to set up a compost system in the back of the former Trans Am Cafe on Wyckoff Ave, diverting 2,000 pounds of food waste from going to landfill.

A viral rapper

After the learning phase, Perry decided to start making songs.

She has a background in performance, having studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute’s youth program, then in Israel and most recently in film school at New York University.

She met her partner Nathan Oglesby at a show in Bed-Stuy where both were performing socially-conscious raps, and the pair put out their first song and video in 2017, I Am Plastic Man, featuring Akil Apollo Davis. The song explained and criticized the plastic industry.

“I think the video was a little too sexy,” Perry laughed. “But after that we started making some more, we did a bring your own cup song, we wrote a song about how human excrement could be used to fertilize soil, me and Nate started going really heavy on it.”

In January, 2020, the pair put on a show at Bushwick’s House of Yes called Naughty for Nature, about the queerness of nature. From that came a song about bees called Die For That Pussy (Honeybee Sex).

Perry put the first minute of it on TikTok, and it quickly shot to half-a-million views. Soon after, she posted a video of her dressed as planet earth performing her original rap Dirty Talk, which is about soil, and which also got hundreds of thousands of views.

Hila Perry and Nathan Oglesby perform at House of Yes in Brooklyn. Photo: Kenny Rodriguez / @kennyrodz

That’s the moment Perry realized she was on the right track.

“I thought, ‘This is it, this is what we need to see.’ The message was very strong and clear: I need to go out there and be the earth and talk about all the things I’ve learned in the past four years.”

More recently, Perry went viral yet again while dressed as Earth in Times Square, rapping her single Wet Ass Planet (after Cardi B’s WAP). The video has more than 1.8 million views on TikTok.

Cover art for the song “Compost,” one of Perry’s favorite achievements of 2021. Photo: Instagram / @nateandhila

In 2022, Perry is looking forward to producing an episodic variety show that brings together her raps on vegetables, the planet and conservation.

“I want it to be like a kids show for all ages, super educational and colorful, with segments, rapping and dancing and costumes and interviews.”

Her goal is to have it picked up by a broadcaster so that her message can be spread even wider in 2022.

You can support Perry by donating to her Patreon so she can make more viral videos about local environmental solutions, or by following her on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

Jessy Edwards

Jessy Edwards is a writer based in Bushwick. Originally from New Zealand, she has written for the BBC, Rolling Stone, NBC New York, CNBC and her hometown newspaper, The Dominion Post, among others.

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