Monday, August 17th, 2015

Leikeli47 – Fuck the Summer Up

Not actually the heir to Blink-182 or Sum 41…


Alfred Soto: Cool sound effects. They won’t fuck the summer up. Or last summer when first released.

Micha Cavaseno: “Fuck The Summer Up” is a year old already, having flopped last summer and still managed to get the old adrenaline-needle-in-the-heart treatment. As far as Leikeli47 goes as a rapper she’s… eh, she’s whatever. Her vocal squeaks and dips into bad patois recall Missy Elliot in rapper mode enough that I’m sure she’ll get endless accolades for having no hook, no significant bars and a blank delivery; we do it for half the rappers on Earth these days as long as they seem “edgy” and “progressive.” Meanwhile, though the beat sounds busy as hell, in reality it’s just a vocal loop, a beached whale of a shitty kick drum, and a snap that sounds like urine hitting the ground. Hasn’t fucked the summer up, but it sure as hell went and fucked up the few minutes of my day to learn this shitty record hasn’t stayed dead.

Crystal Leww: The thesis is hidden in the middle, and if you’re not listening hard enough, you won’t notice it: “See, I wasn’t born royal, so I don’t give an eff about a crown or a throne.” Hip-hop is always trying to proclaim its kings and queens with Kendrick claiming that he’s the king of New York or Nicki claiming she’s the undisputed queen. But here, Leikeli47 clearly states that she doesn’t give a fuck about royalty. “Fuck the Summer Up,” like all of her music, is not so much about fitting into the blueprint; it’s about fucking it up. She’s been adopted by hip tastemakers like Ebro and Julie Adenuga who pride themselves on being just left of the mainstream because, even though this is clearly hip-hop, it’s not interested in Hot 97 — maybe more Apple Beats 1. The track is sparse, the ski masks maybe a bit of a gimmick, but Leikeli47 just came here to make a statement about succeeding without being anyone else.

Nina Lea Oishi: A song called “Fuck the Summer Up” by an artist wearing a ski mask would, by this description, seem terrifyingly aggresive. See you got a problem now/I’m pissing on your lawn now. But the masked girls also wear tutus in the music video and throw gum onto the walls; the neighborhood kids brandish squirt guns; the beat is made up of found sounds and a cappella stutters. Sure, “Fuck the Summer Up” is aggressive — but it’s also aggressively fun.

Katherine St Asaph: Leikeli47 goes all Fist of the North Star upon June to August, and that’s about it. Still the best song this year juxtaposing “summer” and “fuck.”

Jonathan Bradley: “Gotta know when to hold them/And know when to fold them” is an underwhelming way to launch a beat-down, especially one precipitated by encroaching vocal stutters and heatwave bass swells. Leikeli47 finds her footing after that, but she never locates the authority needed to commandeer a track this chaotic. Her plain delivery is reminiscent of that of a Lady Sovereign who has been re-located and robbed of her impudence. The last impression, like the first, is of an artist better as a soundscape than a voice: when the distortion takes over on her “y’all looking for me?” taunt, the summer again looks all too briefly under threat.

Brad Shoup: “Not going to say it’s my summer,” notes the intro, and it was prescient. This is the second summer she’s aiming to fuck up; fortunately, para-M.I.A. swagger and Gatling stutter haven’t aged. (And I still haven’t seen 12 O’Clock Boys.) She doesn’t have to do much more than coast on her beat, and she doesn’t, apart from the opening couple of lines. As her name implies, she’s an army of one.

Jessica Doyle: “Crazy Train” is a summer song. Unquestionably. It was made so by an unimpeachable authority, and so it shall remain forever. Therefore, if your stated mission is to fuck the summer up — where “the summer” stands in for smug complacency, a refusal to probe beneath perfect surfaces, the deliberate shutting out of ambiguity that comes with a great deal of mass-marketed entertainment — combining “Crazy Train” with “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” with the declaration “I do this for my unborn daughter” is an excellent way to go about it.

Will Adams: Are those the “na-na-na”‘s from “Gettin’ Jiggy With It”? The skittering production fascinates, with elements bouncing from left to right, and Leikeli47 stirs up frisson in spots.

Cédric Le Merrer: The beat may be built out of vocal samples but through extreme, static repetition it ends ups sounding like a too hot night spent with an army of crickets at your window. I happen to have spent quite a few of those recently, and the menace in Leikeli47’s flow evokes the paranoia that creeps on you during these nights. Maybe you’ll never really sleep. Maybe tomorrow will be wasted in a sleepy haze. You may crash your car from the lack of sleep.

Anthony Easton: I am in favour of sirens and snaps. I love when vocals sound like processed snap drums more than anything coming from a human mouth. That talk-singing over a bass taut enough to a proper booty snap is a worthwhile addition. The gun shots, combined with her AK-47/balaclava aesthetic, makes what could be constructed as pleasurable fun into a kind of heat-baked aggression — which makes the above New York-via-Chicago-and-New Orleans Tumblr horror more worthwhile. 

Mark Sinker: There’s a moment when things change — first the hesitation you feel whenever you step off a kerb is suddenly no longer there (you notice this on marches and demos, for example); and then the realisation something similar is happening in hundreds and then thousands of like and unlike minds becomes mutual, publicly shared, political; an awareness building in reinforcing waves, becoming a bond and then a power. Looking back across 25 years at Martha and the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Streets,” Dave Marsh described its objective correlative as the “tens of thousands of Americans who’d taken their energies to the pavement as part of the civil rights movement” — but actually this last qualification is too careful, too narrow, a bit pious. As the many internalised barriers fall, the compact joy in the song will shapeshift out in every direction, not just into approved or retrospectively respectable kinds of political, and that’s exactly what’s exciting and powerful, and also perilous, of course. And yes, it’s all too easy from a standpoint separated by oceans and cultures, by thousands of miles and several decades age-wise, to project a vicarious involvement; identification comes too easily, because as a faraway observer-tourist you risk so little if or when things curdle and shift back. All the same, 25 years since Marsh wrote, gears are once again slipping everywhere, not just in the US, and this is a song that fiercely catches the reckless feel of that intoxication: the no-going-back thrill of the possibility and the danger as self-imposed internal barriers collectively vanish for a season. 

Reader average: [7.5] (4 votes)

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4 Responses to “Leikeli47 – Fuck the Summer Up”

  1. Gotta know when to hold em and know when to fold em clearly lets you know that it is time to leave all the baggage (girlfriends and/or boyfriends or any other distractions) at the door, because it’s what? Summer time bitches. You know how it goes. This song is hard and fun at the same time and I love it. Love the lyrics, love the beat (read she produced it herself), and I love her playful patois ( I read she’s part trini btw.) The fact that she commits to a balaclava to keep the focus all on her art is awesome to me. I listened to her body of work she has out so far, I watched the videos, and I’m hooked. I think Leikeli47 is here to stay. Don’t be mad.

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