Friday 21 March 2014


Something out of the blue and interesting for you, here's something I found just crawling through the tunnels of SoundCloud as you do. It's some rap, essentially. It's not only good, it's also a combination of things worth making some noise about. One of which is that the rapper herself is from North Carolina but lives in Riga, Latvia.

Yeah, anyway, this is the sound of Ashnikko, real name Ashton Casey, and she's really good. Her flow is elastic and plosive and sharp all at the same time, at least this is what I can glean from this particular 3-month-old track (vintage Ashnikko), 'Damsel'. As you might be able to tell from the title, it deals with the stereotype damsel-in-distress, stamping on it and throwing up a lightning barrage of middle fingers to, and laughs at, its endorsers and practitioners.

Her voice twangs clear and crisp, almost drawling her superconfident lines, of which there are so many clever ones, with slow, spelled-out icy delivery, steeped in carefully considered rhyme. Some that stick out: "Girl you so cute, why you talkin' so morbid? / I'm the female Cookie Monster but I'm snacking' on corpses" – "You're happy with that job and your subservient wife" – and "Your savage master cackling madly as he checks in with his drones." But really, it's totally brimming with this type of confrontational intellect and I love it.

This is all set to a low-key beat, booming out sub-bass foundation and ticking snare punctuation for Ashnikko's bars, courtesy of Latvian beatmaker Toms Slukins. Adding barely perceptible vox to the end of the track is about its only variation, but it totally works – Ashnikko is the star of the show here, but Toms' production goes with it like the sky to a cluster of clouds: pretty perfectly.

This comes from Karaļūdens 01, a compilation of rap and hip hop from Riga music collective Dirty Deal Audio released at the end of last year. You might not understand Latvian, but you are a human and you are free to like or dislike patterns of speech, and surely you can like a beat or two without knowing what's going on lyrically. (Sure helps though. *sigh bc i don't know all the languages*)

PS. You can download this for free
PPS. There's also a video for this

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