Listen: Hyclass - I NEED U
The Samoan-Australian lady-rapper's new mixtape is both soulful and streetsmart.
We last wrote about Maori/Samoan lady rapper HYCLASS (Suzie Tuiali) in our 5 under 500: Perth Rap Edition, where we said: Hyclass has some serious swagger… she throws down bars with the fierce flex of female 90s hip hop icons like Da Brat or Gangsta Boo, but she can hold a tune, too - her voice rolls off the beat like silk.
Sure to edge her closer to that 500-like benchmark (go chuck her one here) is today’s release of her full-length I NEED U mixtape. It’s the local talent’s first release since dropping single L.A.D.I. a year ago (which is included in the tape) but the wait between releases has been absolutely worth it, Hyclass has taken the time to make sure this a well-rounded, polished release.
I NEED U is – in Hyclass’ words - "Nostalgic feels and good ol' fashioned raps and hip-hop beats." The whole thing’s super palatable, characterised by engaging melodies, smooth, warm voices, and ethereal, mellow beats. At times its trippy hip hop teamed with soulful R & B vocals brings to mind THEESatisfaction (awE naturalE era). Loving the loose groove of Elation – all swirling, soft, jazzy keys and soulful male vocals courtesy of Hyclass’ cousin, rapper/singer Rae (Raymond Tanielu), who you may know from his work curating Beat Down at the Beat Lounge in Perth (talent clearly runs in this family!). Speaking of family, Hyclass includes a credit on Elation to her three neices - Lemafa, Leeshar and Dillon - whose laughing voices appear at the end of the recording - cute!
Other times - like on killer first track Down Homie and U Aint Got Them - the production takes a more classic throwback style: lush, warm and full of layered street atmospherics, allowing Hyclass’ finessed flow to come to the fore. A further highlight comes by way of the the two duets on the release - Let’s Get It On, a fierce, gritty duet with celebrated Perth singer Natalie Mae, and the cruisier Cool Down, a seductive, snaky number featuring rapper Wallah on the chorus and second verse.
“…I hope you can vibe to it”, says Hyclass of the release. After a few initial listens to this cruisy, sassy tape, we’re not really sure how you could do anything BUT vibe! Get stuck in below.