Awkwafina's a Genius
Awkwafina's a Genuis
Awkwafina's a Genuis
Awkwafina is not for everyone. She has said so herself in her recent interview on NPR’s Fresh Air. Friday, June 8, 2018 marks the drop of her sophomore album In Fina We Trust as well as the release of Oceans 8, a film in which she is featured.
Not that Awkwafina was shy on “Yellow Ranger,” but she returns to us with a more refined and confident voice on this album. Still staying true to herself, the rapper exhibits amazing growth between the albums. Awkwafina is acutely aware of the current moment and the role a woman like her plays in it. She talks about this in several of her many interviews and talk shows. Owning her stereotypes to the point of subversion, the album begins with a bit between a fan mistaking her for more and more outrageous people (starting with an asian woman before progressing to even more outrageous people like the dolphin pop star Sextina Aquafina from Bojack Horseman- who’s an animated character and also a fish).
Although it’s not a chart-topping album, it is worth a listen (I think I’m already on my fifth). It’s fun without being vapid, hard-hitting while remaining listenable and sincere. Awkwafina strikes a delicate balance of technical skills while pushing the concept of what a rap album even is. In Fina We Trust is existential and self aware, without trying to make a statement. This album is a rarity in a music scene that’s saturated with overproduced albums trying too hard to push the envelope and gain notoriety. Awkwafina does have points to make, but she does so seamlessly, without compromising the quality of the music.
Awkwafina offers a cohesive yet diverse array of tracks and keeps us on our toes. Her songs “Ghost” and “Testify” feature a more pop-rap sound reminiscent of early Childish Gambino. “Inner voices” is a must listen and includes a witty monologue about Tesla cars and the iconic lines, “Nah, THAT MOTHERFUCKER NOT DEAD” (in reference to the infamous Bernie Madoff) and “Pussy so wet that it swims with fishes”.
Speaking of pussy, Awkwafina has never been ashamed to rap about the female anatomy. There’s much discussion on “brands” of feminism and different interpretations of feminism. One of the reasons Awkwafina’s music resonates so much with me is that it is a celebration of womanhood and reclaiming existence in the female body. So often in our society, we all pretend that women don’t have vaginas. Think about the lengths women go to hiding tampons on their shameful walks to the bathroom. One of the songs that first put this female rapper on the map is her signature track “My Vaj.” I find Awkwafina’s music to be bold and empowering without being feminist rap. It’s just really really good rap. On this track she refers to herself as a genius. We are so quick to label men as geniuses and often use the word to dismiss destructive behavior (hello, Kanye). But here is Awkwafina, an accomplished rapper now performing in blockbusters and maintaining her identity as a badass rapper. It’s exciting to see where her career will go from here when she is so clearly destined for greatness.
Her outro to the short album ends with the line: “Who the fuck is Awkwafina?!” With her current trajectory as a powerhouse of music and film a lot fewer people will be asking that question.