ALBUM REVIEW: Ashnikko, DEMIDEVIL
Updated: Nov 17, 2021
Have you ever been to a show where the headliner is one of the best concerts you’ve been to but the opener was perhaps the worst one you’ve seen? At times like this you may wonder, “how the hell did this person get on tour with so-and-so? Their taste must be messed up or something.” That was my experience seeing Ashnikko open for Danny Brown at Toad’s Place in New Haven, also where I met Anthony Fantano, fun fact. While Danny’s performance was a high-octane, no frills hits-fest, Ashnikko’s was a cringe-fest. “Halloweenie” stands out to me as a top five worst song I’ve ever seen live, with lyrics like “She never eats the butt like me, only tricks for your ass it’s Halloween.” To me, seeing a white girl with blue hair air out her weird romantic drama on stage over generic trap beats was a total turn off. Her debut mixtape, DEMIDEVIL, slightly improves on that horrendous display I saw, but not by much.
I do not love a single song on this mixtape, but I do like three of them. The opener “Daisy” is a fun display of power, over some swirling saxes and a bubbly trap beat, she raps about being a king and not having any “dickstractions”. I think the chorus is pretty strong too, the lyrics fit the aura of the track and her singing isn’t half bad. “Slumber Party” is a fun take on the classic “your b*tch was in my bed last night” formula. Ashnikko being a woman definitely adds a different kind of spin to the track since it’s usually straight male rappers cucking their straight male listeners. Also, I don’t know if there are alarm sounds or vibrators worked into the beat on the chorus, but I like those. Lastly, “Cry” is a nice little nu-Metal throwback with assistance from premier nu-metal apologist Grimes. Her feature, like the track itself, is brief but her sweet baby vocals sound great in opposition to Ashnikko’s Hayley Williams impression.
Everything else on this album is varying degrees of bad in my opinion, ranging from abominations to mid tracks. Like Ashnikko does on this project, I’m going to save the worst tracks for the end. “Toxic” and “Drunk With My Friends” have the laziest, most paint-by-numbers girly-trap beats. “Toxic” has such a weak ass chorus, “you can’t stand to see me shine, better buy a visor”. It’s such a short track but it feels like it’s 5 minutes, you get the general idea of the track after 30 seconds and I’m bored right after. That’s actually an apt description for every song on this album, with the exception of those three I liked. “Drunk With My Friends” is a drunk and drugged out party anthem, but it lacks the excitement of one of those nights. Also “hit for a minute then I dip like mayo” is a horrible line. It’s just all this stupid posturing, ugh. “Deal With It” with Kelis (a wasted feature) is this weird little self-own, one of many on this album. She sings about how she’s over this guy, but by doing that you’re basically dedicating a song to him? It doesn’t really sound like she’s over any of these men, and rather than skewer them in a way that feels empowering, it just kind comes off as obsessive. It has the depth and lack of self-awareness that I see on people's Finstas sometimes.
The last three songs on this album almost made me drop a fat “F” on this project like Mr. Crocker. “L8r Boi” as you may have guessed, is Ashnikko’s take on the early ‘00s pop-punk anthem “Sk8r Boi”. All the lyrics feel like weird projections she’s forcing the listener to be a part of. Some guy slighted her in the past, so now she’s back with her blue hair to “set the record straight” and fulfill some fantasy in her head. She just lazily remixes the chorus from the original, and her producer adds heavier instrumentals to try to make it seem cooler than it is. “Good While It Lasted” simply doesn’t belong on this album, it’s this acoustic guitar ballad where she’s apologizing to an ex-lover. It has not a trace of her personality, it feels like this could be a song by 100 other artists. It feels very label influenced, like “oh we need to see your soft side”, eh. Sucks.
“Clitoris! The Musical!” is the worst song I’ve heard so far this year. I feel like if I continue to listen to it, my eyes are going to get permanently stuck in a roll. Where to start? The track opens with this glitter wipe, and some guy saying the name of the track in a deep, movie trailer voice, which makes me wince. The chorus, “Cis-gender heterosexual men, I’m bored of your fumbling hands” …😐. I feel like I’m back on Tumblr in 2013 getting yelled at by some girl with pink hair. This song is just more and more Finsta bars and stupid questions. “Why is my orgasm censored on the TV, while cis-men get to ejaculate freely.” What? Are you mad at men for nutting like, in general? Like if I jack off is that bothering her? Men having orgasms is also censored on TV, so what is the point here? I understand the appeal I guess but this sh*t is not for me. If you want feminist music, don’t go to a white girl wack rapper, go listen to the new Jazmine Sullivan, an album with talent and nuance that gives me their just desserts with some class.