Advertisement
Music by VICE

Breaking Down BigKlit's Riot Rap in 5 Songs

The Brooklyn artist is behind the kind of tear the club up music that makes you want to do things you'll later regret.

by Colin Joyce
Jan 31 2020, 4:31pm

BigKlit has a flair for the dramatic. Her most popular music video—for a 2017 single called "Liar"—opens with a passed out man sitting on a bed unclothed, save for a towel, as BigKlit herself stands in the foreground, waving a chef's knife menacingly. She seemingly mangles his genitalia while scarfing a banana and castigating—in her off-kilter bark—liars, cheats, hypocrites, and the other varietals of awful men who dare darken her doorstep. Other artists write songs about the overwhelming pain and anger they feel when they're crossed; BigKlit just fantasizes about dismembering them.

There isn't a lot of verifiable information out there about BigKlit, but VICE recently followed Big Klit, who recently signed with Sony, for six hours ahead of one of her first big college shows ever. The few mixtapes she's issued over the last couple of years are built around the kind of extremity that fuels the "Liar" video. Her raps are, as a rule, provocative, absurdist, and violent, often all at the same time. She has a song called "FaceFuck" during which she asserts that she'll "face fuck a hoe 'til I break her spine," and if you were to cherry-pick lines at random from any of her songs, you're likely to find something just as unsettling.

She wants to see just how far she can push listeners, rapping in this sandpapery squeal over beats meant for bruising sternums and blowing out speaker systems. One of her early moments of virality came in the form of a TikTok meme, in which clean-cut teens would accost their parents by rapping the lyrics of "Liar" at them—which provoked at least one mom to slap her child in the face.

But that isn't all BigKlit has on offer, she's covered a lot of ground in her short career. In between the screaming, the violence, and the bravado, she's also demonstrated a knack at more moving and honest songs—meditations on mortality and the lasting effects of trauma. Her music's more complicated than it first appears, so it's worth digging into a few of the songs that help you understand all sides the self-proclaimed "Queen of Hell."

"It's BigKlit"

The first proper song on BigKlit's first real mixtape offers an introduction to the sort of rapper she is. She screams, at length, her campaign promises for her 2028 presidential run, proclaiming she'll turn the White House into a trap. Elsewhere she free-associates about her prevailing thirst for art school girls, her love of indica, and her plan to fuck your dad and take all of his money—which isn't really much of a policy platform, but you could see how that sort of philosophy might unite this divided country.

"Liar"

There's a reason this one is the one that got the kids on TikTok memeing. It's not necessarily her most shocking song, or her most emotionally affecting, but it's probably her best—impossibly hooky in a way that a lot of her scream-rap contemporaries don't even begin to approach. There's something sing-songy, like a Mother Goose poem or a playground taunt, in the way she squelches out "Why you lyin' on your dick, lyin' on your dick." Menacing as it may be, it's the sort of song that gets embedded in your lizard brain, the one you'll end up absentmindedly humming in inappropriate places.

"FSU"

"FSU," short for "fuck shit up," finds BigKlit in apocalypse mode, calling for the death of her enemies and the destruction of the whole world over a beat that sounds like a Nokia ringtone accompanied by a hand blender. Throughout the song, she advocates for unthinking violence, then taunts the cops who can't catch her as she burns down everything in her wake. It is pure tear the club up music, and the sort of song that makes people do things they might later regret.

"Jekyll & Hyde"

Its title suggests a split from much of her music, but this song was just the first to demonstrate a more sensitive core at the heart of BigKlit music. It starts with the typical bravado, but throughout the song, she peels back the layers to reveal a raw and glowing core. She sings about learning to love herself in the absence of her father, and how trauma helped her become who she is. It's a peek into the origins of "the queen of hell," a reminder that everyone suffers in their own ways, even those who project a prickly exterior.

"Go Crazy (Girl Interrupted)"

BigKlit's most recent tape Psychosis features a trio of collaborations with the producer Nedarb, one of Lil Peep's close collaborators, and one of the architects of the broader set of sounds associated with the post-everything music people came to call SoundCloud rap. The best of his contributions comes on "Go Crazy," on which his fractured, bruising beat provides a jittery canvas on which BigKlit is able to meditate on the precarity of her own mental health. It's unsettling at points, like when she weighs the merits of jumping off a cliff, but she mostly sounds self-assured, confident in the ways she moves through the world. It probably shouldn't be surprising that it works so well—making bangers out of uncomfortable subject matter is what she does best.

Tagged:
big klit