Hot Takes: The return of cursive singing, female rappers & Big Brother’s Ozone

We live in a world where the truth seems harder to grasp on to each day; every morsel of information is both fed right to us through the news and social media channels, and the rest is neatly buried beneath layers of hearsay. At times, the constant cycle of information is enough to overwhelm any individual, and I, myself have become too caught up in staying updated that I sometimes feel incredibly burnt out. If this is something that you also struggle with then please consider taking regular breaks.

It doesn’t help that the state of the word this year has been far from normal, and with the global health pandemic and its ensuing cosmic effects disrupting life as we know it, its become more important than ever to consume information that keeps you informed but entertained. Twitter has become a mainstay for many during the pandemic (this writer included) who wish to offload and share their thoughts in 280 characters without any filter, and though there are some takes that will surely have you rolling your eyes into their socket, there are also unifying moments where we all truly sit and engage with a range of various topics (Big Brother is one of those moments–unless you’re a die-hard stan).

For a bit of catharsis, The NATIVE has birthed a new column, Hot Takes, where every week, a different member of our editorial team will dissect different trending topics across the globe, and give their hot takes on each topic. This week, I’ve laughed incessantly at the widely circulated meme of Lani Good saying ‘bad boy piece of information’ and enjoyed a bit of new music from the rap girls. Here’s the tea:

What I’m watching on Youtube: Darkoo goes dating

One of my favorite things to do is learn more about my favorite artists and what better way to carry out that exercise than devoting hours of my day to scouring Youtube for the latest videos? This week, I’ve gone through podcast episodes, music videos, makeup tutorials, and more, but the one that’s stuck with me the most has been watching Darkoo, an openly out bisexual singer and rapper go on a blind date with a selection of women and men. I absolutely love how she’s able to seamlessly switch from wig and high-glam to bare-faced and low trim and with this month being bisexual visibility month, I can’t think of a better way to spend your time.

What I’m watching on Netflix: Greenleaf

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get into the American television series, Greenleaf but boy, have I been missing all this drama. After taking a break from watching new movies or shows (sometimes I get tired of staring at a screen), this has been the main source of my post-work relaxation. The show, which is on its fifth season (I’m currently on season three) is a Netflix drama based on the moralistic Greenleaf family, owners of a Memphis megachurch known as Calvary. Now if you’re not entirely religious like myself, you may be wondering what’s the deal with do-good churchgoers but Greenleaf goes deeper than religion and/or church and real unfurls the complexities of human beings; whether we are divinely ordered or not, we all make the same mistakes.

What I’m listening to: ‘Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2’ by Tkay Maidza

Every month, there’s a new female rapper that’s my latest obsession and I am unashamed to say I stan all the girls severely. Last month, it was the talented Princesa28, and this month, I was thrilled to discover a new rap girl in 23-year old Australian-Zimbabwean singer/rapper, Tkay Maidza. First stumbling on the artist after I watched her video featuring another one of my faves, Kari Faux, I began to do more research into the vibrant artist and learnt that she was African. Once I found this out, it was a no brainer that I was going to stan.

Interestingly, I found that the rapper has just released a new EP titled ‘Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2’ which serves as the second installment from a planned musical trilogy. The project, an 8-piece offering, hits the sweet spot between the scathing, mean flows expected from hip-hop, and the futuristic production of breezy pop and alt-r&b. My favourite track at the moment is the menacing scathing fourth track titled “Awake” featuring JPEGMAFIA because of Tkay’s unfiltered confidence, as she spits hard-hitting rhymes about ending the competition. When she raps “Devil in a dress, carry tricks in a bum bag/cuttin’ all the weak eecges like a wristband” over the bass-dropping beat, there’s a conviction in her tone and delivery that affirm that she’s really living this tough gangsta life she sings about. She’s working tirelessly into late hours because she wants to stay ahead of the competition, and it seems to be paying off as the Aussie rapper is finally getting her flowers. watch this space. 

The return of cursive singing will be televised

SZA is back, and this time it’s not a drill. The TDE songstress is back after a long hiatus from releasing any new music and I am absolutely living for it. Since her debut album ‘CTRL’ three years ago, SZA has been soundtracking our toxic feelings and reckless behaviour when it comes to romantic relationships. On “The Weekend”, her silvery voice and the song’s flurry of angelic production make the tumultuous task of being a side chick seem like floating into an euphoric dream. She negotiates when she gets to see him and doesn’t get caught up about whether he’s going to make her the official girl because she’s happy with their current weekend arrangement. It’s hard to imagine a world where something like that could happen but with SZA anything – even the most mundane – is possible.

Her latest single, “Hit Different” marks a momentous return for cursive singing, a stylistic method of enunciating lyrics that many have used to discredit the singer, but for this writer, that is one of SZA’s most remarkable qualities: her ability to bank on melodies and beats to carry the listener along. Over nostalgic mid-tempo production from The Neptunes, SZA sings about a current lover who makes no plans to put a tag on their relationship but she’s not upset about this, in fact, this is an ideal for her as she gets to still stay in her lover’s embrace, hence the titular phrase ‘Hit Different’.

‘You a wild one and I’m wading in you like its cool water/Mirrors inside me, they recognise you’ she sings in her dream-like vocals, she knows that the relationship is unhealthy for her but still she plunges in, heart first into the lover that’s unwilling to validate her feelings and desires. Even Ty Dolla $ign seems to have caught the infectious cursive singing buzz as he sings the song’s chorus, which wittily stylise the pronunciation of different at moments.

If you’ve been following SZA’s career like me then you’ll know that the singer has had a rough and hostile relationship with her record label TDE. Just last month, she suggested in a series of now-deleted tweets, that TDE head was delaying her releases. She’s not the only black female artist that feels shortchanged by her record label, and I do hope that “Hit Different”, which was released under TDE and RCA is a good indication that the Missouri-born artist is ready to serve up a new album. In an interview with Apple Music, she shared this is her rolling out her thoughts, and we are living for whatever she’s ready to share.

Sometimes, even superheroes get sick

I’m not sure what it is about superheroes but everybody seems to like them. Back in March when we spoke to members of our community about what they are doing to offset the difficult emotions and feelings that are rising as a result of the global health pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns, many of them shared that they were turning to old films and movies to ground them in a bit of normalcy. One of the contributors I spoke to shared that they were rewatching the entire collection of movies from the Marvel cinematic universe with their reason being that the tumultuous news cycle has made lead them to search for good news arising out of bad situations.

This represents most people’s actions towards superhero movies, you get to see the happy ending where the hero saves the day, defeats the bad guy, and bags the cute girl all at the same time. Last week, Nigerian Twitter was awash with users sharing memes in response to what superheroes would look like in a Nigerian context. The responses were hilarious and showed us the humanity behind the masked heroes that we frequently watch on screen. When placed within the Nigerian context, these heroes were marred by the economic, physical, and social restraints that many of us face daily in this country, and for once, they weren’t above falling short.

Last week, news circulated that Robert Pattinson a.k.a The Batman a.k.a Edward Cullen (I refuse to see him as anything else) had contracted the COVID-19 virus and social media went up in flames when it became clear that the production process on the upcoming Batman film was to be put on hold. Of course, after the novelty of the news wore out, the trolling began to roll in. Many jokes surfaced online about the irony of a superhero contacting a viral disease, others focused on the fact that the Batman mask that hides Christian Bale’s identity only covered the nose and not the mouth which was blamed as the cause of exposure to the virus. But what these jokes fail to realise is that sometimes, superheroes get sick too, sometimes they pass away (RIP Chadwick) and sometimes they hurt just like you and me. We all need to be a lot more kind with our words and hope that R.Pattz has a speedy recovery, I, for one will be praying that he regains his health. And please don’t forget to wear your mask people!

Chloe x Halle may be teen heartthrobs but this remix ain’t it

This is the year will go down in history as the year that female rappers across the globe stood together and won on all fronts. As a lover of all things hip-hop/rap, it’s been exciting to see women swoop in and state their lofty claims unabashedly through their music and from witnessing Megan thee Stallion bag two #1 Billboard 100 spots to watching Jahdatta and her vibrant fashions and catchy rhymes return to our screens, it’s been a great time to pay attention to these women as they make swooping changes to a misogynistic industry.

Over the weekend, sister-act, Chloe x Halle released the remix to their popular song “Do It” and this time around, they showed that they have their eyes and ears to the ground at the moment as they recruited some of the biggest names in hip-hop/rap such as Doja Cat, the City Girls, and Mulatto. For all its exciting prospects, due in large part to its star-studded feature list from the new-gen of women in rap, the song itself fell short of our expectations. From the general goss on twitter, it seems that Doja Cat was the only one who truly shone through on the beat and effortlessly decimated everyone else. It also didn’t help that she was the first verse, setting the standard for the following girls. Users on social media were particularly unimpressed by Caresha’s (a.k.a Yung Miami) verse which was said to have been off-beat. Whether this was the case or not, we cannot diminish the fact that this is a momentary collaboration for women in music. Chloe x Halle have both been at the top of their game this year, and everywhere you turn is a reminder that this is their year and as for the rappers, each of them have been generating so much buzz for themselves in their individual lanes. Also, perhaps we should be grateful that we got three of hip-hop/rap’s hottest emcees on a record finally, when Saweetie’s “Tap In” as the rapper opted for features from an all-male lineup missing a chance to unite all the hotties, city girls and more. After several listens, Caresha’s verse seems to be growing on me, so maybe just keep running it up?

Are you sitting on a bad boy piece of information?

Every once in awhile, there’s a meme that truly unites us all despite our many, many divisions. As social media is a melting pot of different users, you could be privy to a joke on Nigerian Twitter or off UK Twitter if you follow enough people existing within those different camps. This week, that meme for me, was the widely circulated three-minute clip of Youtuber, Lani Goode saying “I’m sitting on a bad boy piece of information, you understand?” with a menacing glare into her camera. Of course, in usual Twitter fashion, the soundbite of her bold proclamation of harbouring the juiciest and most illicit goss was taken out of its context and turned into the butt of several jokes. Many freelance writers used it as a meme to signify the process of pitching an article cold-turkey to a publication while others used it as a fitting comeback to when questioned by your parents for underachievement in comparison to your cousin (who’s secretly a drug dealer). Whatever your iteration of this meme is, we cannot deny that this is truly a hilarious one that has brought a little light-hearted cheer to a mundane week. We may be memeing our way through the pandemic but there’s so much to laugh at, so we might as well be doing that than the frantic panic that came at the start of the lockdowns several months ago.

And now to Big Brother…

Excluding the fact that Erica has now been disqualified from the Big Brother House, something that’s been grinding my gears in recent times is the amount of unhealthy relationships we’re watching play out on the screen. From Laycon playing the manipulative nice guy card with Erica, to Neo’s constant temper and emotional abuse with Vee, there is no shortage of cringe moments while watching those who currently have coupled up. But perhaps the most irritating has become the unreciprocated relationship between Nengi and Ozo. Can someone seriously tell Ozo to #FreeNengi because our girl is clearly being polite and fed up with his ass.

Since I started watching Big Brother Naija this season, I have watched how different platonic and romantic relationships take shape, typifying how the playing field usually is in real life millennial circles in Nigeria. We watched with horror how the situation between Laycon and Erica played out, where she didn’t nip it in the bud as soon as she noticed that Laycon expected more from her than she could give leading to her eventual disqualification from the tv show and now, it seems, we’re watching this same unreciprocated feelings play out between Ozo and Nengi. It’s a known fact for many BBNaija watchers that you can’t see Nengi without also seeing Ozo lurking somewhere behind, and now that strong friendship that they once shared seems to have turned into something extremely cringey to watch. Rather than take a hint that Nengi is really not just that into him (she’s brother zoned him more times than you can imagine), Ozo has resorted to constantly badgering her to see their relationship as more than what it is–a friendship.

It’s clear that Nengi wants nothing more than to be left alone rather than having to spare his feelings, but as women, we know more than anyone that letting a man down straightaway is a prime recipe for disaster as they could retaliate by physically or verbally threatening harm. The roots of misogyny sink so deep in our culture and it goes to show that even on a reality show were harm is forbidden, women are still walking around on eggshells when it comes to men. Many BBN fans on social media have likened Ozo’s behaviour to that of Netflix’s Joe Goldberg in the stalker-thriller trope ‘You’, and they are not wrong at all. Men have a proclivity to keep applying pressure when moving to a woman and in a world where women always have one eye on their back, almost everything is done to acquiesce the male ego so that we can be spared from further harm. All we know is that we’re tired of seeing Ozo’s persistence, and if we’re already at this point, then we wonder how our good sis is handling it all. Sending her love and light.

Featured Image Credits: NATIVE

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Hell hath no fury like Tami. Tweet her your fave female rappers @tamimak_

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