Sasha Go Hard: Do You Know Who I Am? (Self-Released) 

Young rapper/vocalists like Rye Rye and Azealia Banks epitomize a post-millennial sass that's all about eclecticism. They experiment with genres (Baltimore club, house, dance pop, rap) and collaborate with producers from different corners of the music industry (Ikonika, AraabMuzik, Bangladesh, RedOne).

Chicago's Sasha Go Hard, on the other hand, is a solidly old-school rapper with a singular vision. Her newest mixtape, Do You Know Who I Am?, sounds sort of like Dee, the smartass kid sister from What's Happening!!, channeling T.I.'s Trap Muzik. It's a neighborhood album, hard-edged and overflowing with braggadocio, and is sort of exhilarating in its single-mindedness.

Go Hard's persona is lovable, because she's not precious and not polite. She's here to dispel the myth that feminism has made the world a nicer place (she's not nice), though it has become an inestimably cooler place (because she's fly as hell). While she takes cues from earlier female rappers like Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown, she's pushing way beyond their own self-objectification. Yes, Go Hard raps about the sweetness of her pussy (with time left over to mention her Jimmy Choos a few times), but she also drops wonderful, bratty-thug couplets like, "If you mad / Cuz I'm bad / Then I'm glad / Cuz you sad" on "Why They Madd," and gender-bending examples of cool, like when she brags that she's "Tatted like a biker boy" on "Tatted." On "Itty Bitty," she tells prospective suitors, "If you shy / I say bye." She's not kind; she's just fabulous.

It's available for free download at www.datpiff.com.

More by Sean Bottai


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