Album hashtag: #swedishpatois
As a joint venture between Swedish record label TEN and Dr. Luke’s Kemosabe Records, introducing alternative hip-hopper Elliphant to America is one of the best things that’s ever happened to music. Not only did she release two EPs in 2014 featuring some of the best beats of the year, she also managed to snag a supporting role alongside DJ Femme on Charli XCX’s ‘Girl Power’ stateside tour. Together, ‘Look Like You Love It’ (April 2014) and ‘One More’ (October 2014) could serve as Elliphant’s first stateside album. But she opted to release both separately, which gave me more than enough time to recover between releases.
‘Look Like You Love It’ takes more of the grungier approach with its production and focus on bars. Elliphant’s flow is so different from any other femcee that it’s hard not to get pulled in the sexy self-confident title-track with its catchy “look like you love it, boy look like you love it chorus”. The Diplo-produced lead single “Revolusion” is hugely anthemic and sounds great when played very loud. Elliphant’s reggae-esque vocals mixed with her shouty raps makes for an oddly great combination. Diplo also produces “Booty Killah” along with reggaeton master producers Bunji Garlin and The Reef. The standout track on her first EP is its second single “Only Getting Younger” featuring and produced by Skrillex – a powerful, high-energy anthem with the motivational tagline “fuck tomorrow, we only getting younger”.
While the ‘Love It’ EP was quite enjoyable, ‘One More’ delved more into her pop rap roots which she’s been commonly classified as due to her numerous Dr. Luke collabs. The title track features MØ (of Iggy’s “Beg For It” fame) in one of my favorite duets of the year. “I like it here, fuck work” sings MØ as she harmonizes with Elli over the slow-burning beat. The video also features what I’ve coined “the kiss heard around the world”.
All sexiness aside, there’s a certain aura of love surrounding Elliphant’s latter release. Lorde’s producer Joel Grey assists on “Save The Grey”, a softly sung melody with a larger-than-life beat. “You’re Gone” continues the downtempo trend as she sings “who’s gonna come by when I don’t answer my phone / and force me out when I’m hiding in my home” to a failed relationship. “Never Been In Love” is a full reggaeton vocal from Elli and it sounds authentically great over her unique voice despite being panned for its songwriting. EP standout “Purple Light” featuring Bay Area rapper Doja Cat is so catchy that it’s Katy Perry-esque chorus will stick with you longer than you could imagine. In fact, the song has most recently gained even more exposure with its recent feature as one of the themes for ‘FIFA Soccer 2015’. From this accomplishment alone, it’s clear that Elliphant is here to stay as a pop rap force to be reckoned with.