Credit: Will Kennedy
by Paul Attard Music What Would Meek Do?

Tokyo Jetz | Cancel Culture

April 15, 2021

Even ignoring the hilarity of a premise that supposes Tokyo Jetz has enough relevancy to be even be cancelled, Cancel Culture is nothing more than a bland, uninspired bit of nothing rap.

What’s worse: cancel culture at large or the swath of artists aiming to capitalize on their recent popular downfalls? At this perilous moment in time, it seems as if responding to being de-platformed in any marginal way has become its own cottage industry of sorts — primarily by many male (usually white) comedians with Netflix stand-up specials astutely titled something like TRIGGERED MUCH?!? and with massive fan bases that eat this material up like slop-sucking piggies at a trough. And while there are elements of this new hyper-sensitive media landscape that could be considered as simplifying certain issues or constructing the world into a strict good-and-evil binary, these pieces of art really aren’t looking to add nuance or substance to the conversation: they seek primarily to position the act of taking accountability as a byproduct of woke scolding, implicitly arguing that those who demand abuses of power be met with appropriate gravity and rectified are being ridiculous, unfair, and unreasonable. Add to the list Tokyo Jetz, who was supposedly “canceled” last summer for joking (in the most wildly insensitive use of the word) to a male companion that she would “George Floyd your motherfucking ass,” and has retaliated nearly a year later with an album named after the subject, with cover art decorated with targeted vitriol she received in the aftermath of the incident. So she’s playing the injured party, nothing new from this brand of self-victimization thinly disguised as owning the libs, but this all bears in mind one simple question: how is one to be “canceled” if they’re altogether irrelevant in just about every way? One of the online snipes that greet the guaranteed low number of listeners sums up the entire enterprise succinctly: “Everyone saying Tokyo jetz cancelled… welll when tf you ever heard someone say ‘play that Tokyo’ tf.”

But, almost thankfully, Cancel Culture really isn’t about what its title suggests — there’s some brief lip-service paid at the start and finish, with observations made about how evil clout is — and is, instead, a nondescript rap album uninterested in introducing its star performer as someone with anything interesting to say. She’s technically proficient but utterly nondescript; each song passes by almost unnoticed, all under three minutes, and all begging to end from the moment they begin. The most obvious comparison one could make here is with the work of fellow Florida bad bitches the City Girls (the beats are snappy, the lyrics raunchy and amorous) but while JT and Yung Miami are festive and funny, Tokyo Jetz is decidedly humorless and uninspired; she even has a song titled “Flu Game” to point-blank demonstrate how stock her shtick is. Her Grand Hustle label boss T.I. — who now has a running history of signing trouble-making female MCs — appears at one point to do his Yosemite Sam-bit, which results in an apathetic chorus where he rhymes “shit” with “shit” and “business” with “business.” And if he’s not engaging with this product in any substantive way — ya know, the thing you would expect your employer to have some stake in — then another question has to be asked: why should you?

Published as part of Album Roundup — March 2021 | Part 3.