Tuesday, August 23, 2011

ChicaX on Hewhocorrupts Inc. Records

This isn't a seven inch. But sometimes the idea of a record, or the artist involved basically out-trumps the very format this blog is all about. Like Tonetta, or Human Skab When I heard about ChicaX, I was basically on board. Xiola Tapia is 11 and has been recording and performing for about 5 years, thanks to her supportive parents, who own a record store/music venue and record themselves as EYES an experimental noise rock project.
Xiola has taken a lo-fi hip hop direction with her self titled cassette release on Hewhocorrupts Inc. who are probably releasing this for the same reasons I had to listen to it.

Like the lovechild of Ben Lee and Luscious Jackson, ChicaX is working with the tenants of early hip hop, minimal beats, odd samples, and bursts of synth melody combined with an unadulterated approach to musical expression. There's a reason why very young bands can be so mind blowing, they've heard enough, maybe been guided along the way towards interesting music and give everything an equal value while at the same time, they deliberately throw it away and start over from scratch. The historic baggage of genres, of all music history is ignored and you end up with Mellow Gold, or Wavves self titled. They're unaware of just how great that collection of songs is at the time, and even heavily flawed looking back, sincerity and context continues to make that release important.

So what does 12 year old ChicaX have to say about her reexamination of the infancy of hip hop? Not what you'd expect of course. She's following in the footsteps of those early battle brag styles from the beginning of her release with "Da Bank(1,2, step)", talking about being fresh, hitting the mic, and stepping to da bank with the unguarded chorus, "I'm / just / learnin' / how to flow".
As if there could be any haters, check out, "I know what I'm doin!", with it's weirdo tom beat rhythm and peaking out sub bass loop samples:
I had a record since I was 8
I know what I'm doin!
I know what I'm doin!
...I've got a lot on my plate
(and I can finish my plate!)
...my little face is as sweet as cake
This isn't anything you'd be able to write or get away with if there was any kind of pressure to create commercial hit music. It functions in the same way as The Freed Weed was an unselfconscious look into the private recordings of some kind of genius. It's tricky when you start using that word because you're treading into dangerous territory giving children Oscars, or selling their paintings for thousands of dollars. There's a huge gap between consciously knowing what you're doing and doing what adults tell you to do. Was that kid good in the movie because it was an amazing, talented performance? Or did they just imitate the coached lines and actions, pretending to have some kind of emotion?
But the concept behind this cassette is definitely genius, there is definitely something interesting here, at the very least in being witness to this raw awareness and experimenting with sound. Honestly a lot of musicians could use a heavy dose of this sincere unpretentiousness about their local library:
The book I'm reading is an autobiography (ography)
I'm digging this book by page hundred and fifty (hundred and fifty)
I rented it from my local
library (library)
better than that
that's the facts
(free facts)
It's hard to recognize the glitchy beeps and manipulated electronics that keep this from getting into sounding like a kitchy reading rainbow episode when the track consists of these kind of lyrics. You can appreciate this purely in it's abstract composition, or just confuse the hell out of anyone within earshot.
The craziest 5 bucks you will ever spend. Get some batteries for that boom box.

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