Words by Jesse Serwer, Photos by Kevin Ornelas
For years, “What ever happened to Patra?” has been one of the great mysteries of dancehall music. The “Queen of the Pack” had a run of crossover hits in the early and mid ’90s including “Romantic Call,” “Worker Man” and “Pull Up to the Bumper,” but after her sophomore album Scent of Attraction in 1995, she essentially disappeared from the scene. (Though she did release two, very below-the-radar albums in the 2000s— 2003′s The Great Escape and 2005′s Where I’ve Been) Recently, after turning up on the bill for a show at BB King’s Blues Club in New York City, we learned that Patra was back in the studio, working on a new album and plotting a comeback. Last month, Tiffany Rhodes of bad-gyal spandex label Butch Diva invited us to meet the elusive singer, whom she’d landed as a model for her fall line, as they prepped for a catalog shoot at Tiffany’s studio in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. In one of her first interviews in years, Patra spoke with us (wearing the transparent lace shirt you see in these photos) about everything from her iconic braids and her fashion choices to her days as the “female Shabba Ranks,” her departure from the music business and what she’s been up to all these years. Patra isn’t one to give away secrets, though. She might be on Twitter now, but this is one lady who values having an air of mystery about her.