K. Flay 

What If It Is

To say that K. Flay is not your average rapper would be an understatement. Annoyed by the widespread misogyny in mainstream hip-hop, the Stanford alumna started rapping in college on a dare, but quickly began to take her craft seriously. She received praise for her blend of hip-hop, indie rock, and electronica, as well as her high-energy live performances. Today, she's riding a lot of momentum: One of her songs was featured on the This Is the End soundtrack, she's currently opening for Swedish pop duo Icona Pop on a national tour, and RCA Records is releasing her third EP, What If It Is.

On her new album, K. Flay experiments with a broad range of styles. Each track is distinct and tightly produced. K. Flay applies her raspy flow to socially conscious rhymes, exploring themes of confusion and uncertainty. (She wrote the EP after moving to Brooklyn, she told me in an interview, a transition that made her feel both unbridled and, at times, lonely.) Opener "Rawks" features heavy reverb, which gives the song an alien vibe. "Starfvcker" has a bold trap beat, making it the most dance-floor-appropriate track. "So What" is more of a rock song, anchored by guitar riffs and churning organ.

K. Flay has never sounded like any other rapper, but on What If It Is, she pushes her white-female-emcee image further past novelty and into artistic territory. (RCA)

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