In the uncommonly crowded year of the female MC — with two projects by Cupcakke and other high-profile ones from Rico Nasty, Cardi B, Tierra Whack, and, obviously, Nicki Minaj — it would be easy for fools with a limited bandwidth to ignore Leikeli47’s excellent second album, Acrylic. Hiding at all times under a mask, the cryptic Brooklyn-based rapper also doesn’t engage with the same immediacy as, say, Minaj or Cardi — but she more than makes up for that with a sauntering cadence that entraps listeners with the surface-level simplicity of her wordplay, and that gradually reveals greater implications of modern-day black womanhood. On the title track of Acrylic, Leikeli’s voice practically bounces along with the beat, in nursery-rhythm fashion, asking at first “Officer, officer, what have we done? / I got my card, put down your gun,” before pointing out, “It’s no coincidence how you come show— / Up in my hood / Up to no good,” changing the pitch of her voice with each line, to amp-up the implications of facetiousness. Things get more serious on “Droppin’,” as a soft piano plays over half-whispered bars (“I’m the baby from the dumpster, Brenda was my mama / Free lunch in the summers, now I’m stacking commas”) and Liekieli name-drops family members that were instrumental to her come-up. Album closer “In My Eyes” even takes a turn into neo-gospel, but never loses sight of who’s in charge: “In my eyes, I am God / ‘Cause he lives in my heart.” On Acrylic, these sentiments of strength, and of perseverance, feel richly deserved.
Published as part of What Would Meek Do? | Issue 5