In a just world, Angel Haze would be getting her due right now and the name Azealia Banks would make people say “who?”. And in this world, the arrival of Tkay Maidza would be heralded with just as much fanfare as both of those acts were, a breath of fresh air and the powerful pop-rap presence the scene needs right now.
But then to lump Tkay into the same category as those acts seems a bit reductive. From the moment Always Been starts, there’s a sense of ownership over a sound that bridges pop and rap, with even thumping tribal drums struggling to keep up with Maidza’s relentless flow.
As the album progresses, her talents seem pretty clear: give Tkay Maidza a beat and watch her sprinkle it with zest and run till we’re all the right kind of exhausted. Tennies feels more streetside flow before the absolutely massive club sound of Monochrome, a song where you can practically feel the glee of an artist being able to use a playground of grotty bass.
Simulation and Follow Me might be more chart-leaning efforts but never once does their feel like a lack of authenticity in voice, which is essentially what the strength of any self-titled record should be. Maidza comes out guns blazing, like an artist who has never once compromised and would shoot you down for even suggesting such a notion. The result? A fierce and wholly idiosyncratic debut album that ought to send ripples through the pop scene, and one that really shouldn’t escape your notice.