EP Review: Mykki Blanco, Betty Rubble: The Initiation
It’s been a year since the release of Mykki Blanco’s breakout video, “Join My Militia (Nas Gave Me A Perm).” Since then, he’s been on both North American and European tours, covered The Village Voice and has arguably been the only artist to shake the “queer rap” tag. When he previewed his newly released EP, Betty Rubble: The Initiation, in an interview with this publication earlier this year, Blanco stated, “With The Initiation I’ve taken more risks by going deeper within. It makes for a really cohesive project. I rap so much stronger on it because I’ve been rapping for months now and doing shows every night.” In comparison to the dark, menacing theme of Cosmic Angel: Illuminati Prince/ss, Mykki certainly gets more risky this time around.
“Let me dominate on every hating motherfucker watchin’/Let me dominate on every basic bitch that try to stop me,” he spits in the Matrixxman-produced “Feeling Special,” one of a few tracks on this EP that carries his signature sound to date. “Bugged Out,” a druggy tune that’ll induce head spins under strobe lights, carries on tradition too, as it finds Blanco at his shit-talking apex, ragging on male groupies and haters. On “Angry Byrdz,” the project’s intro and one of the more uptempo cuts, he asserts, “The people want something new/No fear y’all, I got you,” and “My blueprint’s pressed, I’m leaving landmarks”—two claims he’s certainly proven in his brief career.
Where things veer off Mykki’s sonic path are two songs in particular, “The Initiation” and “Ace Bougie Chick.” The EP’s title track is the most intriguing and cryptic. Sinden—a regular producer for Blanco—blends a barrage of video game-like synths, snares, pounding drums and alarm-like noises as Mykki unleashes an all-Latin incantation. “Ace Bougie Chick” is the project's most entertaining, a nostalgic summery rewind to poppy 1990s R&B.
The Initiation’s biggest difference from Cosmic Angel lies in its flow. The latter made for a more cohesive full-length project. Mykki hinted at getting away from club bangers, and this EP is proof of him trying new things. “Vienna,” an outro which sees him talk for four-plus minutes, feels redundant halfway through, and despite its appeal, “Ace Bougie Chick” feels misplaced. Regardless, Blanco’s strength is that he sounds like no one else in rap, and his presentation is still more innovative than ever. —Lawrence Burney (@TrueLaurels)