In March 2021, Tkay Maidza shared a cover of Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind”, which traded the indie band’s fuzzy guitars for hard-hitting synths and silky-smooth vocals. In the video, she lies on a rock jutting out of the ocean – as the camera pushes in, the tide moves surreally backwards, away from the shore. Sonically, and visually too, it’s a piece that pretty much sums up the Zimbabwean-Australian musician’s unconventional approach.
Despite breaking into the industry with the cheerleader-chant-inspired banger “Brontosaurus” back in 2013, Maidza really hit her stride with 2018’s Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 1, alternately singing and rapping over reggae-influenced beats.
Last Year Was Weird Vol. 2 followed in 2020 (the title is feeling increasingly appropriate, tbh) after the musician signed a new record deal with 4AD. It marked yet another departure, moving toward a darker, sharper, and increasingly diverse sound. The latest record also includes notable appearances from Kari Faux and JPEGMAFIA, who is set to return on 2021’s Vol. 3, alongside UMI and Yung Baby Tate.
Besides increasing coverage and acclaim from music publications, radio stations and blogs, Maidza was named in YouTube’s inaugural Black Voices Artist Class this year, underscoring the power of the otherworldly visuals that accompany her growing catalogue of future-classics.
Text Thom Waite