TKAY debut album: out now
Listen to TKAY
In the past few years, singer/rapper Tkay Maidza has risen out of the underground to emerge as one of Australia’s most electrifying artists. With her rapid-fire flow, frenetic beats, and fiercely inventive lyrics, the Zimbabwe-born 20-year-old is now set to shake up audiences worldwide with her unstoppably magnetic debut album TKAY.
The follow-up to Switch Tape—an EP praised by Spin as a “bumper-car ride through hip-hop, pop and dance” and “one of the most freewheeling and exciting debuts of the year”—TKAY bursts with the same unbridled energy that’s powered Maidza’s showstopping performances at major festivals like Splendour in the Grass, Pukkelpop, and Way Out West. Thrillingly infectious, that undeniable vitality also recently prompted Killer Mike to crown her Australia’s “biggest rising star” while marveling that Maidza “can dance her ass off—and she’s actually saying stuff when she raps!”
Maidza brings that dance-ready yet reflective dynamic to each track on TKAY, an album that endlessly warps genres and shows her intense affinity for UK garage, grime, throwback hip-hop, and trap. Joining forces with producers like Salva (Young Thug, A$AP Ferg) and Dre Skull (Major Lazer, Snoop Dogg), Maidza continually pushes to the edge of chaos but keeps grounded in her pop-perfect melodies and masterfully heavy grooves. And in her lyrics, Maidza strikes a rare balance of boldness and vulnerability that gives TKAY a potent emotional charge.
“The idea behind the album is that it’s like a soundtrack to a high school girl’s life,” explains Maidza, who jumped two years at school and graduated when she was only 16. “It’s about feeling lost but then finding your way out. There are moments of confidence and moments of feeling lonely, but at the same time knowing that you don’t need anyone or anything to be strong.”
Proving her command and complexity as a vocalist and lyricist, TKAY channels a sense of defiance that transcends both age and time. On lead single “Carry On,” for instance, Maidza fires off on the haters and lets loose a whiplash delivery that deftly sets the stage for a head-turning guest verse from Killer Mike. TKAY maintains that untouchable swagger for tracks like the hypnotically urgent “Tennies” and gloriously stomping “Supasonic,” while songs like “Simulation” find Maidza infusing melody-driven dance-pop with a sweetly tender soulfulness. And on “Drumsticks No Guns”, she lays down a straight-from-the-heart rallying cry that’s equal parts playful and powerful.
Even in the sing-song melancholy of “Afterglow” and dreamy reverie of “House of Cards,” Maidza shows a brashness of spirit that’s got much to do with the sharpness of her songcraft. “Usually when I’m writing, it’s me analyzing things like losing friends and growing up and all the bad things that can happen if you trust the wrong person,” she says. “But then I translate all that in a sarcastic way, so it ends up coming off as a really happy song.”
- Always Been
- Carry On
- Follow Me
- Castle In The Sky
- Drumsticks No Guns
- State Of Mind
- House Of Cards
- You Want
- At Least I Know