Chicago Rapper Shawnna Slays This Future Brown Track


Future Brown is something of a supergroup in the underground dance music scene, a quartet comprised of electronic luminaries: Fatima al Qadiri, J-Cush, and Daniel Pineda and Asma Maroof of Nguzunguzu. Those names might not mean a whole lot to you if you’re not a frequenter of warehouse raves in NY, LA, Chicago or London, but they’re some of the most interesting producers, DJs, and artists working, and I’m betting on a wider fanbase upon the release of their forthcoming debut, which features rappers and singers like Tink, Kelela, Maluca, Tim Vocals, and Shawnna, on their brand-new song “Talkin Bandz.”

With “Talkin Bandz,” they illustrate exactly what makes their vision special: antigravity rhythms with a futurist eye, informed by both global IRL and internet culture, as well as current hip-hop, British grime, and underground dance music. This track, in particular, has al Qadiri’s signature synth sounds on it, the same cold, pixelated tones that defined her amazing Desert Strike EP, an album she wrote about her disconnected experience of playing combat-style video games while growing up in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. And at the very least, you remember Chicago rapper Shawnna Guy (daughter of Buddy!) from her 2004 tour de force “RPM,” in which she went toe-to-toe with Ludacris and Twista and proved she’s every bit among the nimblest of rappers; or from hit single “Gettin Some,” in which she took a Too $hort song about getting fellatio from “Blowjob Betty” and flipped it into being about good ol’ cunnilingus, god bless her.

Point is, Shawnna can SPIT in the classic sense of the term, but she has been so lowkey in the scene as of late that her last mixtape, in 2012, was entitled She’s Alive. With “Talkin Bandz,” on a proscenium so cold it hearkens back to Wiley’s Eski era, she’s in X-acto zone, rapping clipped licks about how goddamn badass she is. “I’m not like that other shit/don’t compare me to no other bitch/my wrist game like butter, whipped/ so please get off my mothership/I’m hot.” Zoom!

Future Brown so far seems to enjoy riding the cusp between gritty electronic jams and conceptual art, which is why today, at Art Basel, they’re doing a lightshow-laden performance “to the backdrop of a dynamic water sports event involving a flyboarding performance in Biscayne Bay choreographed by DIS Magazine.” So that sounds bananas and also maybe a little pervy—it’s with the Pérez Art Museum, so go there tonight if you’re around (because you are obviously reading the internet if you’re in Miami right now). Future Brown, the album, drops February 24 on Warp Records, and I am here for it.

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