Sunday, April 26th, 2015

Maliibu N Helene – Figure 8

R N Bass…


Crystal Leww: “Figure 8” is a nice little reminder from DJ Mustard that he can still do this kind of thing rather than bad trap, and he’s given his beat to a duo that deftly handles it. Maliibu is supposedly from South Bronx, but she deftly navigates her away around this bouncy beat, channeling the spirit of true Cali gals Cam & China or maybe a less reprehensible Tyga. That “augh” sounds like a bad bitch version of his own. Hell, the whole song is an embrace of the bad bitch lifestyle, so catch me doing rap hands to this in the car and club.

Brad Shoup: It starts so strong — the fumbling sentence of a Mustard beat redeemed by a killer line about dudes and their girlfriends drawers, chased by a choir fanning themselves. But it never gets more nutty. Still, the pitch-up is great, a small counter to pop women going low for their goon.

Iain Mew: It’s not about the bass so much as the way that it breaks into glistening shards of synth and the choral interventions, bubbling to the surface often enough to enliven the calm between. Plus of course Maliibu’s Nicki-like attack of her verse, and “cake cake” being as fun to repeat as ever and without any ick.

Alfred Soto: Cake is gross. Sequencers are better. Cake and Mustard — hm. The aha moment was the abrupt “ooh!” punctuating the end of the choruses. This sweet ‘n’ nasty duo brings it.

Scott Mildenhall: One aspect of this in particular doesn’t quite work – the seemingly “ominous” “ooh-ooh” bits that would sound silly even in a more appropriate context – but everything else is emphatic and deft.

Katherine St Asaph: The obvious first: the beat is like DJ Mustard ripping “Fancy” off right back — chronology may not bear this out, but I’d like to imagine it does. But he and Maliibu and Helene are far more imaginative: those candy-shard raps against alto-autotune vox, multiple seamless switchups, that faux-operatic coda at the end of the hook.

Maxwell Cavaseno: For some reason, every time Maliibu N Helene come out with a song, it always skates on “this could be incredibly entertaining”, but fails to retain the attentions of yours truly. Partially because of the extensively pitched vocals, partially because of the void of bars yet extensive need to prove that they are rappers as well as pop singers. And in this case mostly because if you encourage Mustard to go full electro, you lose a lot of the groove.

Megan Harrington: Around this time last year I was having some very real DJ Mustard fatigue. His every beat sounded like the same three notes played through a tin can and I couldn’t handle the coldness during Third Winter (known as “spring” outside the midwest). I assumed Mike Will’s career arc would map exactly onto Mustard, he’d be oppressively everywhere, then pair with pop stars, then flame out. Last year he was on the cusp of step two. Now? He managed to completely avoid step three and he’s more fascinating than ever. Maliibu N Helene are among a group of under-heralded black women making pop rap (including Rich White Ladies and Barf Troop) and what we’ve heard from them (most notably “Starin’ At It” under their FKA XO) isn’t exactly maximalist, but it’s a bit too warm to indicate a future pairing with DJ Mustard. But his keen ability to cut all the fat from a production and a newfound interest in pop structures makes him a match for the explosive hookiness of Maliibu N Helene’s chorus. By paring everything back, these women are the rightful stars of the track and their wordplay is pure juicy summertime. 

Reader average: [7.5] (4 votes)

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