(Photo: Last Kings Records)
The only thing sweet about Honey Cocaine is her sticky sweet voice. As evidenced by her new mixtape, “Thug Love,” everything else about the Cambodian beauty is pure street. The title is fitting for the Toronto native, who’s gone through both physical pain and heartache in the past year after being shot following a Tyga show and publicly suffering through the aftermath of close friend and rapper Freddy E’s suicide. Now is her chance to address the backstories that surround her and prove that she’s worth the hip hop world’s attention.
"There’s gonna be people that love you, there’s gonna be people that hate you," Honey reflects on the mixtape’s intro. "And there’s nothing that you can do about it." Love her or hate her, it’s hard to deny her musical talent and star appeal. With Thug Love she proves that her buzz is the result of more than just her sexy appearance.
On “Money Murder,” Honey’s molasses flow and auto-tune-distorted chorus give fans a taste of what she’s capable of. Chanting, “I ain’t no murderer, but I’ma do what the f--- I gotta do,” in a voice that’s both cute and menacing. From track one it’s clear that Honey could potentially captivate a mainstream audience with her ironic balancing of hood and hipster aesthetic.
On standout tracks “Middle Fingers” and “Chichi Get the Yayo,” Honey shows off her ability to master both of modern hip hop’s predominant sounds. Sonically, her voice and production are a refreshing mix of hypnotic hip hop melodies and thumping electro sounds. But despite her sonic versatility, Honey’s lyrical content is mostly limited to generic couplets about street life and Nicki Minaj-esque bragging. That’s a disappointment considering the wealth of personal insight she could be sharing considering her interesting path.
The 22-track project features some attempts at more complex forms of storytelling, including the mesmerizing “Runaway Bride.” But until she masters the art of crafting songs that are both universally appealing and intimately introspective, Honey will have to depend on extended interludes that feature her speaking directly to fans (the tape features four) to truly express herself and her story.
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