Against all odds, 2020 has seen a huge rise to prominence for London-based rapper Shygirl. Despite many of the clubs she called home as a DJ sadly closing their doors, Shygirl’s creativity and drive remains un-curbed. ‘ALIAS’ is testament to her club roots, and showcases Shygirl at her most quintessential: brooding, bold and transgressive – evoking all of the filth and humidity of a seedy club venue over the course of seven tracks. Of these, ‘SLIME’ and ‘FREAK’ were released as singles in the months preceding the EP, hinting at the sensual, yet foreboding tone that underpins its narrative.
Shygirl’s signature style merges the euphoric, liberated and sinister, aligning uniquely under the different personas she projects in ALIAS as she conveys both personal and stylistic multitudes. At its heart, the record is fun-loving and playful; an expression of overt sexuality that refuses to be tied down by convention or shame. The production is tighter than her previous 2018 EP ‘Cruel Practice,’ courtesy of long-time collaborator Sega Bodega. The two work in tandem, with SB’s menacing backing tracks acting as the perfect complement for Shygirl’s steady tonal inflection. Her rapping remains monotonous but never dull (think more sultry and unbothered than outright jaded, a reminder of her dominating presence both in life and through her vocals) from the onset in opening track ‘TWELVE’;
‘Guess I wasn’t raised right / Mumsy made a naughty kid / Daddy raised a wild one / Daddy raised a fiend.’
The culminating effect is a chronicle of deep nostalgia: reminiscing on experiences with tacky early 2000s Europop, the dark industrial techno of a Berlin setting, even the hazy early-morning mood of a beach on Ibiza. Such moments may seem out of reach for us in the present day – but Shygirl’s record is profoundly optimistic, even aspirational, assuring her fans that the best is yet to come. In the meantime, both ‘LENG’ and ‘SLIME’ stay true to her roots in South East London – sharply punctuating her syllables as she allows her accent to slip over a Trap beat. With a small-yet-standout discography of certified ‘Baddie’ anthems, there’s no doubt Shygirl will continue to be one to watch into next year and beyond.
Stream below via Soundcloud.