BbyMutha’s surprise EP once again proves that she is a crucial influence in hip hop’s present and (hopefully) future.
This past August, BbyMutha released her long-awaited, full-length debut Muthaland, the culmination of many years’ work organically cultivating a passionate internet fanbase via SoundCloud and Bandcamp. Between these two platforms, she released at least 12 EPs over the course of six years, an impressive slate of concise, uncompromised projects detailing the rapper’s life in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Through her music, BbyMutha charts the mundanities and ecstasies of sex and motherhood with an appealing brashness and diaristic intimacy, refusing to disentangle them from one another. Her ability to articulate this scandalized dynamic in frank, funny language with an utter antipathy toward the performance of “respectability” gained her a cult following that naturally expanded out quite quickly, picking up high-profile fans like Bjork and Earl along the way. As BbyMutha began to approach legitimate fame, the narratives of her records became further complicated as they attempted to respond to internet beef and exhibited a receded sense of privacy, the combined weight of which likely inspired her to declare that the release of Muthaland would mark the end of her releasing music publicly.
But here we are, a mere five months later, and BbyMutha has shared a new EP with us, the Bandcamp exclusive Muthaleficent 2, accompanied by a heartfelt Insta post in which she declared “i owe it to myself to continue making art … and i owe it to my art to let it reflect who i currently am in an honest way.” This sentiment is felt throughout Muthaleficent 2, most immediately in the album’s opening minutes, beginning with candid audio of a playfully antagonistic exchange between an inebriated mother and judgmental son that leads into “PMS,” a loose, confessional track that lets BbyMutha elaborate on the tensions and burdens of celebrity that made her briefly turn away from her still-ascendent career — “I used to be comfortable telling bitches shit that ain’t none of they business / I was tryna find my power they was using it against me.” These initial moments of introspection and breezy domesticity are confrontational in their honesty, ignoring societal expectations and decorum associated with motherhood and pop artistry, two realms (as with most) where black women are scrutinized with violent intensity.
The rest of Muthaleficent 2 serves as a testament to the influence and ingenuity of the BbyMutha aesthetic, trap-based production that brings in elements of vaporwave and chiptune, even hardcore. These are sounds that she’s experimented with since the project’s inception, and that contemporaries like Rico Nasty and Lil Uzi Vert have pushed into the center of the culture more recently, but here BbyMutha asserts herself not just as an originator, but as an artist definitively at the fore. Paris Aden’s haunted 8-bit beat for “Muthaleficent March” could be slotted into Whole Lotta Red or Eternal Atake without raising an eyebrow, while the blown-out horrorcore bass of her beat for penultimate track “Traphouse” provides an appropriately grandiose stage for BbyMutha to recount manic sex tales alongside frequent collaborator Fly Anakin (Bruiser Brigade icon Zelooperz appears elsewhere on “Tig Ol Bitty,” another recurring guest). Of course, this isn’t meant to suggest that the beat selection on Muthaleficent 2 is derivative, but that in shaping and honing her aesthetic, BbyMutha has helped to inform its mass popularity. Whether or not she’ll want to continue this project as visibly is a different matter — she goes on to state in the above-quoted Insta post that her Mutha Magick Apothecary and The Sims 4 may ultimately be where she invests her creative energy — but regardless of where she ends up taking it, BbyMutha has amassed one of the more significant rap discographies of recent years, and Muthaleficent 2 is a worthwhile reminder that she’s been here, and has a lot more to say.
Published as part of Album Roundup — March 2021 | Part 2.