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culture

Sound Advice: FiDiYootDem by Tasha the Amazon

Local MC combines fast-paced references and electro-tinged beats on her new mixtape.

tasha

There aren’t a lot of rappers you can use as a basis for comparison when describing Tasha the Amazon. She doesn’t fit neatly into a sub-genre. Her voice is nasal, her flow is elastic, and she’s totally capable of complex lyricism, but sometimes opts to go with goofy playground chants anyway. She alternates between hard-ass menace and high-art abstraction. She is completely unlike anything we’ve heard before. While this sort of heady brew could easily dissolve into a scattered mess, Tasha manages to keep everything working smoothly on FiDiYootDem—in part because she’s just so damn charismatic.

The title track alone is a masterpiece of stealthy, well-thought-out references. Before you can realize what she’s done, she’s name-checked Parkdale nightspot Wrongbar, made a quick reference to mid-’00s rap group Field Mob, ‘90s punks Pennywise, and Expedia.com—and she’s done it all within 30 seconds. “Cry of the Warrior” may be the most abstract diss track ever, as it features her telling an unnamed opponent: “While you were busy rapping about love letters and ballerinas, I was searching through your couch cushions, trying to find your penis.”

The production on FiDiYootDem is beyond excellent. The production team of Bass & Bakery—Amazon and collaborator Danthrax—has created a great mixture that leans heavily toward the dance music side of the spectrum without sound gimmicky or bandwagon. There’s no uptempo fist pumping, and just enough sub-bass to make your stomach wobble, placed over top of slow, slinky beats. There’s also a slew of clever samples, most notably the Cutty Ranks sample that anchors the title track.

FiDiYootDem is one of the cleverest, most intriguing mixtapes to have come out of Toronto in the last little while. We’re looking forward to hearing more from Tasha the Amazon.

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