Mykki Blanco Brings Big Ideas to Mini-Album 'Broken Hearts and Beauty Sleep'
Published Jun 16, 2021Over the first nine years of their career, Mykki Blanco has crafted a personality so strong and memorable that even a five-year holdover couldn't hurt the SoCal rapper's momentum. But on this nine-track, 28-minute mini-album (which may or may not count as the follow-up to their strong 2016 debut, Mykki), Blanco makes such a strong and innovative proclamation that it may go down as the rapper's defining statement — no matter the format.
Starting with the bustling '70s groove of second track "Free Ride," co-produced by Hudson Mohawke, Broken Hearts and Beauty Sleep sets off on a nearly non-stop run of mugging raps, often hilarious lyrics and truly great backing vocals spearheaded by Mykal Kilgore, Leah King and L1ZY. "Free Ride" may be one of the best gay club disco anthems this side of 1976, paired with gospel-style backing vocals and Blanco's vivid storytelling raps. "It's Not My Choice," a sleek and moody duet with Blood Orange, is the clear standout here thanks to major contributions from the British musician (who co-produced and programmed the track), adding a second level of texture thanks to his glossy cello and keyboards.
"Love Me" contributes to the ultramodern M.O. due to some brilliant cascading co-production by Daniel Fisher (a.k.a. Physical Therapy) alongside downtempo vocals from Jamila Woods and Blanco's brother, Jay Cue. NYC house musician FaltyDL, who worked on all nine songs, knows how to make his production — often cinematic, high tech and moody — work with Blanco's nimble party anthems, best demonstrated by the hilarious minute-long "Fuck Your Choices".
But because this is a Mykki Blanco release, there's bound to be some patchy spots, as the musician is known for taking artistic chances. The opening track, "Trust a Little Bit (God Colony Version)," is an LL Cool J-style throwback slow jam that unfortunately never finds its footing. "Want from Me" is a faux-lounge number that falls flat due to an unconvincing chorus from Portuguese singer and actor Bruno Ribeiro. But even these low points stay afloat due to some truly inventive and interesting production from FaltyDL.
The irresistibly bouncy "That's Folks" abruptly ends this too-short release, finding Mykki masterfully trading off rhymes with the Queen of Bounce, Big Freedia, bringing two luminaries of the club scene together at last. But despite its slightness, Broken Hearts and Beauty Sleep nonetheless shows Mykki Blanco as an artist with big ideas to go along with their big personality. (Transgressive)