Summer album with ‘Unbothered Hot Girl’ aura
Mykki Blanco is not your traditional rapper—bending genre and gender rules, that traditionally rules the industry, Blanco is both an enigma that refuses to be pinned to any singular identity and a demarcated individual with a strong sense of their character.
With musical influences from R&B, club and trap, house, soul and, at times, show tunes, Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep’s defining characteristic is an overarching sense of warmth and passion that transcends genre and style lines. It is a summery album that likens a balmy tropical breeze in comparison to Blanco’s previous work that tended toward inner darkness and rage.
Blanco broke into the music industry in 2012 with the album Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss that featured “Wavvy,” an electronic and trap-inspired track that exhibited Blanco’s lyricism over a catchy dance beat. At the time, Blanco, who has since come out as trans, caused a stir in the rap and hip-hop communities for wearing drag in a music video.
Since then, Blanco’s work has held a gritty, intense feel as seen in the albums Gay Dog Food and Betty Rubble: The Initiation, both of which are shaped by experimental electronic dance beats and lyrics that discuss the murkier corners of the music industry, love and mental health. This new album is a sharp left-turn in Blanco’s musical style and potentially the signifier of a new direction in her career.
Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep begins with the intimate and sweet “Trust A Little Bit (God Colony Version)” featuring God Colony. It then slides into the gospel-infused track “Free Ride,” which features some of Blanco’s swifter and wittier lyricism alongside a crooning vocalist that states, “What I wouldn’t do for love.”
“Summer Fling” is the musical actualization of Hot Girl Summer. With an infuriatingly catchy drum-beat and Kari Faux’s nonchalance and power, it’s almost impossible not to feel persuaded to drop romantic ties as Faux sings, “I leave these boys sweating as I’m getting a tan.” Blood Orange, another genre-bending artist that toes the line between funk and R&B, indie rock and electronic, sings on the slower and more melancholy “It’s Not My Choice,” while Mykki Blanco spits out some of her classically impassioned rap verses on “Fuck Your Choices.”
“Want From Me” begins with a buttery James Bond-esque intro and morphs into a verse from Blanco that mimics the cadence and rhythm of a musical theatre show. The listener is never left on stable ground, as the track quickly moves into another smooth and sultry verse from Bruno Ribeiro and an eventual electric guitar riff. With so many different musical styles and approaches, one would think that the song would resemble a freakish musical Frankenstein, but the production and mixing of the track make “Want From Me” seamless, fun and original.
Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep rounds out with “That’s Folks,” featuring bounce artist Big Freedia. They are another individual who is influential and important to the LGBTQ+ community. The song gives credit to the people in Blanco and Big Freedia’s lives, which is a fitting end to an album that emphasizes warmth, love and community.