Written By: Omar Stamp
“I been thinking ‘bout love, think we have it figured out/funny how you have to lose it, to know what it’s about.” – YOU
The best part about reviewing a still mostly unknown artist is (mental drum roll please….): The music. With pristine Google search results, no Wikipedia page to be spoken of, and an almost virgin YouTube channel, there’s nothing on which to pre-judge this young, black, bi-curious and proud new mother of one… except a few well directed videos, and her six track extended play (EP), Black Girls on Skateboards. I know what you’re thinking; a lot to put on the table even before pressing play….but it’s good, really good. Take it from a lifelong fan of several genres, and good music in general; iRAWniQ is bringing a lot of what the game is missing. Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but soaking up the warm sun-rays of Los Angeles for a few years, I would describe her current form as a conscious rap-singer who knows a thing or two about “turning up”.
“Pair a socks, sports bra w a hoody/Outkast, Left Eye, w some Goody/ maybe Cudi, add some ‘Ye, Common Sense like…” – FCK SHT
That quote could have run longer, but that’s quite a few name drops for just three lines, and just a small taste of all the comical cultural and musical references spread throughout Black Girls on Skateboards. Those specific bars came on the second to last track, as I was literally jotting down “…ATLiens-ish, TLC, Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar”…trying to pinpoint her musical identity and influences. Throughout all six tracks, iRAWniQ confidently picks and chooses her flow in true east coast MC form, lacing the beat with both stop n’ go punchlines, and full breathtaking verses…there’s no questioning that she could hold her own in a freestyle/battle. Listening to this EP I truly felt like I could’ve been on the corner in front of a liquor store, hoodies up and cognac being passed around, or blowing smoke out of a convertible through the windy streets of LA. Which leads us to the production on this EP…
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is nothing as biologically pleasing, or as mathematically correct as a well-placed bass drop, or a sneaky snare that predictably starts dancing on top of a bass line, and likewise, what gives any piece of music the most re-listen value is its composition (production in modern terms). From the first twinkle’ twinkle’ in Longest intro Ever, to the last militant drum roll on Pusha (the most lyrical track, complete with a shout out to K.Dot himself), Black Girls on Skate Boards gives you enough lolz and rewind moments to make you wish it was six tracks longer (that’s what she said?).
It’s in my humble opinion that what a lot of conscious rappers have been forgetting to do with their music is to have fun, with too many passive aggressive shots taken at rivals (sneak dissing), infinite whining at the imaginary “these _____” , and often uninformed political/cultural views. It isn’t easy, but somehow iRAWniQ seamlessly and briefly (I want more!) weaves through every sector of culture and competition (it’s a jungle out there) we’d expect from a Hip-Hop artist, while still having fun….I personally can’t wait for more. Start out the New Year with some brand new music. Please check out the links, like, and share!