With her new single Syrup, Tkay Maidza continues to be unstoppable
Time and time again, the South Australian-raised rapper has proved why she's worthy of being Australia's next break-out act.
2021 is Tkay Maidza's year, even if the same argument could've been made for every year since her emergence in 2013.
The Adelaide-raised rapper has consistently pushed Australian hip-hop into internationally-trotting new frontiers, occupying the spotlight with experimental and forward-thinking bursts of musical and visual brilliance that's been present in everything she's done, It's something that's become particularly recognised in the last few years, however, with her Last Year Was Weird EP series swerving between facets of hip-hop, R&B and pop with the sheen and shine of the world's most adored and heavily-funded rappers.
2020's Last Year Was Weird Vol. 2 was a masterclass in her versatility and how much she's grown even in the time since her TKAY record a few years prior, giving everything from JPEGMAFIA-assisted manic-rap and Kaytranada-esque funk grooves within the same 25-odd minutes; Tkay capable of fusing her vocals to whichever production is present, from the most hard-hitting to the most soulful and R&B-aligned there is. Songs like Shook, for example, felt like the blossoming of a new household name, especially as Tkay Maidza began to bath in the international success that's been long overdue for her.
In the journey to Last Year Was Weird Vol. 3 (expected later this year), she's been showing this same versatility, with the same heightened sense of evolution - even if it's arriving just a year following the previous EP. The Yung Baby Tate-featuring KIM was a viral success that beckoned an international breakthrough, paying tribute to infamous Kims - Kim Possible, Kim Kardashian, Lil Kim - and the empowerment they give women through crashing beats and chanting choruses. Then, came a cover of The Pixies' Where Is My Mind?, which although being a separate entity from Last Year Was Weird Vol. 3, welcomed Tkay's gliding vocals over relatively stripped-back and stark instrumentation - another notch in the sound-defying belt for the young heavyweight.
Now, with Syrup, you get the sense that Tkay Maidza is more unstoppable than ever - and that the world's just catching up. It emphasises the same, swagger-y flow as KIM but without the flashing Kim references and guest collaborators that made it such an obvious first single, presenting Tkay's powers and strengths at their most unrestricted and undeniably Tkay Maidza; a journey to get to which we've been seeing for much of the last few years.
Syrup comes with important timing too, as Tkay begins to find her footings over in the US. She's been heralded by everyone from Pitchfork to The Needle Drop, named a future star on Reddit threads that can pluck popstars from the most niche pockets of the world, and is beginning to find herself in the centre of a 'stan' circle; a loving and embracing community that watches over Tkay's every move, in what's probably the most obvious sign of her blossoming success.
With Syrup, Tkay Maidza is keeping it rich, thick, sweet and sick - and if you don't keep up, you might just get stuck.
Listen to the new tune below: