It’s said we shouldn’t don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but in the world of Hip-Hop, a short bio tends to explain the story before the artist gets to tell it. A 26 year old former crack dealer from Queens who was shot nine times? You could probably expect the content 50 Cent delivered on Get Rich or Die Tryin’.
What kind of content can one expect though from a 24 year old who was raised in San Mateo, California and Raleigh, North Carolina as a male, before fleeing to New York at 16 and finding a new identity as a female? That myriad of life experience isn’t spoken for in the lyrical content of Mykki Blanco’s Betty Rubble: The Initiation EP, but it has to be implied by virtue of the genre bending ride it takes.
A self-defined Acid-Punk Rapper, Blanco takes cues from different subgenres of electronic and hip-hop music to provide what can truly be considered a one of a kind listen…whether it’s the good or bad kind remains to be seen.
Over this 8 track EP, the MC uses a spastic, elastic delivery to scrawl the immaculate soundscape with musings on “Instagram Bitches”, shunning male attention to chill in the cut with her girls, and a lowkey sexual relationship that both may be better off without (on “Ace Bougie Chick”). It sounds like the typical life and times of an egotistical female rapper, until you realize they’re delivered from the comparatively deep voice of a male born Michael Quattlebaum Jr.
Most tracks here do evoke flourishes of Nicki Minaj and even recent Lil Wayne, with Blanco experimenting with zany flows around twitter convenient evocations such as on “Angggry Birds’”. The production is decidedly anchored by blippy synths and slithery 808 programming that takes new shape at every corner, making Blanco battle the compositions for the listeners attention.
Ultimately, she does work in tandem with the production to provide a world all her own, with non-sequiturs abound and bizarre tracks like “The Initiation”, where she chants latin (for an entire song) over a depraved backdrop, or “Vienna”, where she crosses the last frontier for hip-hop homophobes and chronicles a sexual encounter with a man…no one who wants to copy anybody would record songs so brave. This is not a lyrically impressive or dense album by any stretch, but the gravitas of Blanco’s character carries her through. She could use more refinement of her delivery, with certain words being amateurishly muddled, but that should come with time.
Overall, this is the best example of a car crash experience, with some of the vocals probably veering too far off, some of the mantras probably too nonsensical, but the sheer charisma of Blanco’s gruff, defensive flow over A1 beats keeps the listener interested. A longer project might not have been sustainable, for this Blanco deserves credit. This is a project made for the gallant night walkers of New York City who live life and hashtag the proceedings, take it or leave it. Perhaps if Nicki Minaj had a penis she wouldn’t piss on anyone, she’d just make a project this immersive.