Adelaide-based artist Tkay Maidza, while not completely new to the hip-hop scene has released her first studio album titled TKAY. While TKAY is Maidza’s first album, her work was first introduced to audiences with the song M.O.B. from an EP of the name Switch Tape. The song was the first of Maidza’s to hit commercial radio. Since the release of Switch Tape, Tkay has performed at music festivals, been on tour and has performed as support acts for other artists, such as Troye Sivan and Charli XCX. The live scene has been followed with a list of accolades including the Australian Rolling Stone Best New Talent award winner. Her distinct vocals even featured on Troye Sivan’s hit song DKLA.
Listening to the album, my thoughts are drawn to British rapper M.I.A, and American act Angel Haze. Many critics agree, also positively comparing her to powerhouse Azealia Banks. While these songs are certainly Tkay’s own ‘Tennies’ and ‘Drumsticks No Guns’ call to lyrics and sounds of early M.I.A., with hints of the British rapper’s more recent releases. Outside of the similarities to more rap-centric artists, Tkay was well chosen for the support act of Charli XCX’s 2015 tour, as Maidza compliments her well with slight vocal similarities made noticeable in the song ‘Castle in the Sky’. At times, especially in ‘House of Cards’ I am reminded of welsh singer Marina Diamandis of Maria and the Diamonds fame, an artist known for writing songs with sombre lyrics, often contrasting with the upbeat music behind the vocals, a technique Maidza utilizes fantastically.
TKAY is a beautifully presented album, especially from someone so young. Her youth is no apparent obstacle to Maidza, who raps and sings through her first album confidently. She uses inspiration from her school days as well as from more recent times, and she uses it effectively. Each song is easy to imagine on commercial radio, and songs such as “Monochrome” and “You Want” are easily imagined as a dance-club favourite, with their catchy beat and use of electronica. My personal favourite would have to be “Castle in the Sky”, while it’s not as upbeat as other tracks on the album, but the line way Tkay sings “it’s like we’re the rolling stones/and it’s the battle of the ages” is to die for. Give this great hip-hop album a listen, it’s truly worth it.
Review by: Emma Wilkinson