Ever since the release of “Shook” and her Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 mixtape in 2020, more eyes have been on Tkay Maidza than ever before. She’s already garnered the acclaim of being one of Australia’s few rappers that have earned significant international attention, which, if nothing else, is because of her proven versatility. Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 showed that versatility in between every song, and she backed that up with “Kim” earlier this year – an eruptive proclamation of self-assuredness that might be her greatest artistic achievement to date. But, Maidza’s reputation for versatility precedes her, so fans had every reason to expect that the follow up to “Kim” would be a complete 180.
And that’s exactly what “Syrup” is.
“Syrup” is dark and brooding from its opening seconds. The deep repetition of “sweet”, “thick” and “syrup” superimposed over a high-pitched siren sound might prepare you to be on the lookout for a standard onslaught of Tkay Maidza bars. And, while that’s certainly what happens, it isn’t as explosive or rambunctious as most of her recent work. Instead, she grips the mic intensely and delivers a muted barrage of affirmations and braggadocio that makes her work truly seem effortless.
She’s not rapping with the playful bounce she does in “Shook”, nor is she rapping in fiery near-screams of “Kim”. Instead, akin to some of Missy Elliot’s earliest work, she inflicts her voice with bass, and subsequently, a sternness that makes you believe she’s done playing. Dan Farber’s production, while minimal, is incredibly effective in amplifying just how serious Maidza is. Percussively intense with speaker-shaking bass, the listener’s ears are rattled as Maidza’s bars, which she even describes in the song as “chocolate, silky, smooth”, totally command your attention.
“Syrup” is a perfect palate cleanser after “Kim”, but the message still comes through loud and clear – Tkay Maidza is here to stay. Her reputation as one of the country’s most versatile rappers is cemented once again, as she flips the script into a subdued, stalking declaration of her talent. She’s still having fun, injecting the song with tongue-in-cheek humour where she can – “I’mma ride it, Winona/I go hard, I’m a boner” – but her tone remains unshakable. Audiences have had almost a decade to get behind Maidza, and if they still haven’t by now, “Syrup” is a stern reminder to her detractors to stop kidding themselves.
Listen to Tkay Maidza’s “Syrup” below.