If you’ve spent any time on TikTok lately, the band Tramp Stamps has probably come up on your For You Page. Though the pop-punk trio has generated a sizable following over the past few months for their cover songs and viral TikTok videos, they recently found themselves in the middle of a multi-layered scandal. First, their latest single, “I’d Rather Die”, received backlash for its lyrical content. Then, the band was accused of being industry plants. Find out why the song is so controversial and the truth about Tramp Stamps’ origins.
Who Are Tramp Stamps?
Tramp Stamps are a Nashville-based group comprised of three members: lead singer Marisa Maino, guitarist Caroline Baker (under the moniker “carobae”), and drummer Paige Blue. According to the band, they formed in February 2020 after writing a song together. However, they didn’t start posting on Instagram and TikTok until November. They first gained a following for posting covers of songs by classic pop-punk bands like Blink-182 and Good Charlotte.
To date, they have released three original singles: “Sex With Me”, “1-800-miss-ur-guts”, and “I’d Rather Die”. Their debut EP, We Got Drunk and Wrote An EP, is set to come out May 28.
Outside of Tramp Stamps, Maino and Baker are published songwriters and release pop music through their solo projects. Blue is also a published songwriter and producer whose work has been featured in movies and TV shows like To All The Boys: Forever and Always and Insatiable.
The Band Received Major Backlash For Their Latest Single ‘I’d Rather Die’
Tramp Stamps’ career trajectory was on the rise until they posted a teaser of their latest single, “I’d Rather Die”, to TikTok (the audio clip has since been removed from the platform). In the song’s chorus, Maino sings “I’d rather die than hook up with another straight white guy.”
TikTok users quickly rushed to the comments section to question the song’s lyrics, given that all three members are white and one of them appears to be married to a cis white man. Some users accused the trio of fetishizing people of color and trying to remove themselves from their whiteness. Another user described the lyrics as “‘I’m spicy straight ugh I wish I was a lesbian’ energy.”
Tramp Stamps addressed the “straight white guy” lyric in a follow-up video. They said they did not intend for the song to come across as fetishizing and that they wrote it because all three band members realized they had a “similar poor sexual experience with a straight white guy with the same name.”
In another follow-up, Maino clarified that she is gay.
Despite pleas to not put out the full version of “I’d Rather Die”, Tramp Stamps moved forward with the song’s release on Wednesday, which resulted in even more backlash. Many accused the lyrics in the second verse and bridge of glorifying sexual assault. They sing: “I don’t know how you think we’re gonna [expletive]/ When you can’t get it up / I’m sick of hearing it’s the alcohol” and “I’m just saying / It’s not fair to / Leave me hanging like this.”
Soon after, internet trolls flooded the band’s social media comments and made them the target of memes, Gen Z punks called them out for being posers, and sleuths questioned their authenticity after digging up information about their personal and professional lives.
Do Tramp Stamps Work With Dr. Luke?
Aside from their questionable lyrics, Tramp Stamps have been criticized for their alleged affiliation with Lukasz Gottwald aka Dr. Luke (yes, the same Dr. Luke who was accused of sexual assault and emotional abuse by Kesha in 2014).
Though Gottwald has not written or produced any of Tramp Stamps’ music, Baker and Maino both have publishing contracts with his music publishing house, Prescription Songs. Baker signed with Prescription Songs in December 2019 while Maino inked her exclusive deal in July 2020.
Are Tramp Stamps Industry Plants?
To add even more fuel to the fire, many have accused Tramp Stamps of being “industry plants” who have co-opted an inauthentic punk aesthetic to help launch their careers. According to Rolling Stone, an industry plant is “an artist who has label backing but presents themself as self-made.”
TikTok users cited the band’s social media strategy, professional-looking website, and coordinated clothing and hairstyles as “evidence” that they are industry plants.
While it’s natural to be suspicious of Tramp Stamps’ calculated online presence, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are industry plants. After all, you don’t have to be backed by a label to be good at marketing.
According to the song credits on their Spotify page, the band has written and produced all their own songs. They also release their music through their own record label, Make Tampons Free. It’s more likely that the band met while working in the music industry as songwriters and decided to form a band on their own, rather than being set up by a label or managers.
What’s Next For Tramp Stamps?
After days of constant harassment on social media, Tramp Stamps laid low and temporarily disabled the comments section on their TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram accounts. The band broke their silence a few days later to address the “misinformation and lies” about them that had been swirling around social media.
Despite the drama and attacks on their credibility, Tramp Stamps is refusing to back down. Whether you love them or hate them, their debut EP comes out on May 28.