Honey Cocaine is bittersweet; describing her as such is a touch on the nose—ugh—but I find myself willing to open with that line–fuck!—namely due to the word being so appropriate. There is a lot to like about Honey at first glance, being a comely rapper with a steady flow ready to ride the constantly gathering, never breaking wave of Toronto Hip-Hop across Ontario and into the American mainstream, and, with Drake paving the way, Tyga offering features, and the aforementioned looks and flow, she seems poised to do it; that was the sweet part. Now let’s dip into the bitter (uh! there! last pun).
Unfortunately for Honey, comely with a steady flow and popular—if inexplicably so, as the case may be with Tyga—friends is not going to cut it in what is the currently blossoming, recently populist rap landscape. In an era of more female emcees than seemingly ever before, the steady flow is now a death sentence; the field is not crowded enough to make mediocrity a hook, and all the others are currently taken, from hipster-cigarette pale&slim-thrift store queen (Lil Debbie) to hep-cigarette pale&slim-Lisa Frank on PCP (Kitty Pryde), from dance oriented (Iggy Azalea) to indieish? (Azalea Banks, Kilo Kish) to just plain fucking hard (Sasha Go Hard). Adding to the difficulty is not only the fact that all of these artists crowd the zeitgeist, but that the majority of them are more talented than Honey Cocaine, regardless of their various idiosyncrasies.
A freestyle along the lines of “Mafia” serves as little more than a two minute, eleven second epitaph on Cocaine’s career should she not find a way to elevate herself above the proliferating competition. The production could have been lifted from Nicki Minaj’s cutting room floor, a hollow boom-bap sprinkled with various other vaporous elements, her voice is intriguing enough, if not a touch banal, and her bars are solid; it is incredibly unfair, but there is some reason she simply does not work. It is not that she lacks that far behind her peers lyrically. Of the above, only Pryde and Banks could most likely be considered “lyricists,” and even then, their unorthodox content and delivery would keep them out of the conversation amongst those who do not have a taste for the ever expanding, red shift rap universe. No, what Honey Cocaine lacks in is far worse, and something which Pryde, Banks, et. al. exude from their every being: She lacks in je ne sais quoi.
It sounds cruel to say this, but if Sasha Go Hard rapped the same bars over “Mafia,” it would most likely receive more than the PA it is being branded with right now. No empirical measurement can say why, no justification can alleviate the fact that I am eviscerating a young lady who puts herself out there for consumption while championing others doing the same. There is hope yet for Honey Cocaine; there is nothing inherently broken about her as an artist. There is merely something missing which one is unable to definitely ascertain.
“Mafia” receives a PA
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