I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: women are the most interesting thing happening in hip-hop right now. In addition to living in a true Golden Age of pop music, coming from mostly women-fronted acts (minus the second coming of the Jonas Brothers which I’m certainly not mad at), female rappers are having a renaissance: a rebirth of thoughtful hip-hop coming from a place of time and dedication to the craft. I’m not talking about the often overly commercialized mainstream rap of the likes of Cardi B and Nicki Minaj -- though I thoroughly enjoy that strain of the genre too -- I’m talking about a few ladies who are seemingly impossible to escape from these days: Tierra Whack, Megan Thee Stallion, and Rico Nasty, all of whom were named to XXL’s 2019 Freshman Class.
It’s Whack’s world and we’re just living in it. Need a quick introduction to Tierra? Look no further than the 15-minute perfection that is her debut album, appropriately named Whack World. Whack’s approach to rap is one that is a lot more unconventional and, dare I say, artsy? To have a better understanding of what I mean, take a look at any one of her surrealism-inspired music videos. Her approach to her aesthetic feels very specific and intentional; everything in her visuals seems handpicked and placed just-so in order to get her artistic intent across. This approach to rap did not go unnoticed; the video for her song “Mumbo Jumbo,” a seemingly satirical take on mumble rapping, was nominated for a Grammy this past year.
Megan Thee Stallion
Millions of young women across America are shouting from the rooftops that they will have a Hot Girl Summer, City Boys be damned! This is thanks to Megan Pete, AKA Tina Snow, AKA Hot Girl Meg, AKA the one and only: Megan Thee Stallion. For Megan, rap is a craft that she’s been dedicated to since she was in diapers, sitting eagerly at the door of her mom’s studio sessions (her mom was a rapper! Like mother, like daughter). This ingrained, acute awareness of the intricacy of rap has served her well, earning critical acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork and The New York Times. And she’s also touting body positivity and environmental awareness? We stan.
Another rapper fond of alter egos is Rico Nasty (AKA Trap Lavigne or Tacobella, born Maria Kelly). I must admit that I was a bit behind on getting to know Rico. I kept seeing photos of her pop up on my Twitter feed, and finally judging on her image alone, I decided I needed to know who she was. Rico, like Tierra, has a very specific visual aesthetic that immediately draws you in before she even opens her mouth. In an interview with FADER, she credited her affinity for the strange to her lifelong desire to be an outcast, trying out new looks she knew no one else would dare try to replicate. When I finally took the time to check out her music, it was the intensity of her rapping that got me hooked. Her take on the genre is largely influenced by rock music, which makes it just a bit harder and rougher around the edges than the other ladies in this piece, but in the best way! Rico is bringing something new to the table that’s refreshing and innovative... and can we talk about how freaking cute her son is?
#TheCrush Report is a monthly recap of what's happening in the biz by music publicist Chloe Cardio. You can follow Chloe on Instagram and Twitter.
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