Rating and review: Tia Corine ‘La saga de 34corine’

Extremely pink decor covers a wall in the house of young hip-hop TiaCorine.

An abundance of pink cartoon characters, such as Strawberry Shortcake, Hello Kitty, and Princess Bubblegum adorn it. They are pasted on imitation brick wallpaper which, again, features pink. It is divided into shades – fuchsia, pink, blush and others – but there is no doubt about the dominant color.

This dynamism radiates not only from TiaCorine’s interior design choices, but also from its musical style. Energetic and eclectic, the artist mixes R&B, trap, 2000s pop-punk and more to create a sound that defies genres. On “The Saga of 34corine”, the deluxe release of her 2020 album “34corine”, TiaCorine develops this established style for a batch of seven new tracks, adding almost double the length of the original.

Luxury albums are notoriously intimidating, and with 15 tracks, “The Saga of 34corine” threatens to follow suit. But the album is only 37 minutes long, and it slides effortlessly.

Basically doesn’t mean boring, though. Each song is packed with a myriad of musical ideas, chock full of a mix of transgender instrumentals, vocoder-tinged streams from TiaCorine, and samples pulled straight from pop culture. Standard trap instrumentation – fast hi-hat, 808 beats, bright synth accents, and booming bass – is taken care of, but there are some notable additions. Clear guitars anchor tracks like “On P’s” and “Avril Lavigne”, and cool electric piano chords underline the hit “Lotto”.

Even more intriguing are the samples, inspired by TiaCorine’s wide range of tastes. Samuel L. Jackson’s legendary monologue “Snakes On A Plane” serves as a transition between “You Knew” and “On P’s”, an anime voiceover features “34 Villain” and other references are sprinkled. What could be a jaw-dropping trap is instantly heightened by these seemingly understated details.

Garrett Williams, vice president of marketing and COO at South Coast Music Group, said the additions set TiaCorine apart from its contemporaries. Gender is not a trap for TiaCorine, it is a limitless toolbox.

“She takes all of these different sounds and tries to make them into one sound, which is her sound,” Williams said.

Lyrically, TiaCorine is a cowardly gun. Refreshingly unfiltered and armed with references, his pen play is playful and provocative, drawing inspiration from traditional southern swagger and the goal of sexual empowerment. “Pancakes” in particular makes good use of these influences, straddling the line between flirtatious teasing and fierce tenacity.

“You say it’s not beef, but all I smell is tacos,” she says in “Tacos,” a light pun with an underlying franchise. The attitude of taking no prisoners is reminiscent of her upbringing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which she says inspired her work ethic and self-confidence. In a scene where stunning stars are rarely seen, TiaCorine said she has shown her own success through courage. Any obstacle that comes in, she said, is unlikely to deter her from the path she has carved out for herself.

“You can be mad at me whatever you want, you can do whatever you want,” she said. “I will still shine.”

“Underrated” is an out of print term, but if a wake-up call was appropriate it would be TiaCorine. That it flies under the radar is mind-boggling, especially with some of the guest spots on this record. DaBaby lends a verse on “Lotto – Part 2”, a remix of the hit album “Lotto”, and Kenny Beats and Sonny Digital both have production credits.

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For a booming artist, TiaCorine has recruited some impressive names, but she stands out among some of the industry’s most sought-after artists. Kenny Beats’ instrumentals in “Luigi” compliment his clever lyricism and sneaky delivery, and “Lotto – Part 2” retains all of the charm of the original in the middle of DaBaby’s opening verse.

Keeping in touch with these mega-stars is a formidable task, but TiaCorine takes it without hesitation, and the confidence she has in these tracks is proof of an exciting change underway in music.

Female rappers are slowly but surely seeping through the once impervious blockade of the strong men in the industry. The women of rap were relegated to a red rover-style sacrifice of their best offering, where only the Chosen One could maintain a presence in the charts with the Titans – Lauryn Hill charging at full speed with her monumental 1998 debut, Missy Elliot Dropping her shoulders and slamming loudly with a host of successes early on, Nicki Minaj has broken through with one of the most prolific and consistent careers of any rapper – but a rebirth is on the horizon.

Perhaps for the first time, we are seeing female rappers dominating the airwaves. Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, Rico Nasty, Flo Milli and so many others are making noise, and the names leading the way represent a promising array of new talent. The scenery created the perfect storm for TiaCorine, a vibrant new voice with compositions just quirky enough to be catchy but accessible enough to avoid alienation. The chips are falling in her favor, and with a solid backing job to complete a dynamic start, TiaCorine is making the most of it.

Rate: 8/10

Contact Heather at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @hgrizzl.

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