Say what you will about 2020 and all the upsetting things that’s happened so far, but there’s definitely one good thing about it — there’s never been a greater time to listen to music than now.
Just a few days ago I marveled at how easily accessible music is today. Back in the 90’s you’re lucky to read about a new artist that you might be interested in from abroad. The possibility of having their music available at the local record store is also next to impossible.
These days, when I come across an artist interesting enough for my taste, I can just look them up on the multitude of streaming platforms available and voila!
There’s also a possibility you will discover new artists.
For example, when you type banana on your device, you will have Momoland’s “Banana Chacha,” 80’s Brit pop trio Bananarama and Harry Belafonte’s “Banana Boat (Day-O).”
So I input badass and I get, among others, the ‘Badass Bitch’ playlist. Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, Doja Cat, Rihanna, Cardi B, Saweetie and the like.
So I though, why not come up with my own badass playlist for this week’s column? Hence the following lineup. By the way the online Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘badass’ as “someone or something you admire or find impressive.”
In only a few years since breaking into her corner of the music scene, Ramen Gvrl has since become Indonesia’s foremost hip hop artist. From her humble beginnings creating music demos in her bedroom, this colorful artist is now her own badass act and has since broken through Asia. She’s just released two new singles and that’s a good enough place to start to get to know this artist.
“Look At Me Now” displays Ramen Gvrl’s mastery of hip hop and won’t sound out of place with her western counterparts. She’s quirky and straightforward too, but she’s not without a message. And that is: “No matter what society says, if you believe in yourself and keep doing what you love, you’ll eventually get somewhere and those haters will have nothing to say.”
The Latin-tinged “Vaselina” featuring Dominican-American rapper Euro is equally solid and reminiscent of Doja Cat’s use of the style (on “Boss Bitch”) which is to say that Ramen Gvrl can go head-to-head with the badass girls of American Hiphop too. Her debut album “Can’t Speak English” drops on November 2020.
Rising Hiphop artist PineappleCITI is a rapper, singer and songwriter rolled into one. Her music has been featured on NBA2k20 and Netflix’s “Sneakerheads” movie.
PineappleCITI (Britanny Dickinson) traded her job at the daycare to pursue life as a creative. She made a splash with her 2017 self-titled single debut before suffering a near-fatal vehicle accident that nearly crippled her for life.
Learning to walk again, she has since released a string of singles that feature “motivational lyricism and powerful messages.”
She officially re-started with last year’s full-length album “Neon Blue.”
Her 2020 singles include the acoustic-tinged and purpose-driven themed “Lift Me Up.” Equally positive tracks “Balance” and Latin-lite “Dance” show definite lyrical skills and show reverence for her East Coast rap roots.
Mikee Misalucha shares a family name that is synonymous to music talent, but she’d rather not ride the hem of that particular music diva’s long dress because she can definitely stand on her own.
Mikee is a whirlwind talent whose music styles and influence run the gamut from singer-songwriter ballads, to hip hop to alt-pop.
Her 2018 debut “Paalam Na” is a piano-strewn ballad that shows an emotional sensitivity that thankfully doesn’t fall on the cheesiness trap.
“Unlove You” (2019) is a fine emulation of femme alt-pop crossed with faux hip hop beats and hook laden choruses.
Mikee continues her fine creative run this year with “La La La” which shows that she’s got a handle on the sound of modern pop and has got the sense to spice up her songs (written mostly in English) with Tagalog lyrical highlights.
Check out the moody “Just Forget” for a fine sample of this songwriting technique.
On her latest single, she goes full on local with the excellent “Uyayi” which is equal parts mood music and alt-rock acoustic.
And since you’re already there checking Mikee out, listen to the slick pop sounds of Sheffield, U.K. pop artist Jordan Rabjohn’s track entitled “She’s Not From Around Here” which feature a proud badass Pinoy jam from Mikee in the rap break. Stunningly talented.
28-year old Sydney Sprague is just starting out to etch a music career but we already like what she’s done so far. Her debut single has an alternative rock growl underneath the relative calm of her voice. Particularly on her amusingly labelled song “I Refuse To Die,” which based on the title alone, could be the best undiscovered theme track for the pandemic times.
Her equally peppy song “Steve,” which according to Sydney, is about “getting fed up with my whole life and starting over.”
She further explains, “I was stuck in a dead-end job, surrounded by toxic friends and a failing relationship, living in an apartment I hated. I wrote this song at my breaking point, when I was finally like, enough, and I cut all of the bad out of my life.”
This modern-day patron saint of starting over and authentic songwriting will release her debut album titled “Maybe I Will See You At The End Of The World” on February 2021.