Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review Of GATA City/Interview by Praxilla

ThaGataNegrra- GATA City
Label: 3 Miles Entertainment
Release: 8-24-2011
Review Author: Praxilla

In the present tense, it would seem as if a heroine can seldom be found within the realms of Pop music. By Pop music, I am talking about music that is dominated by a sensual female voice and the contemporary beats accompanying …not simply music which has dominated the airwaves because of its popularity on the mainstream circuit. At least in comparison with its reincarnations in past decades and the female performers who helped to shape the genre then, the new wave of female-fronted pop music has descended from a status of undeniably venerable to almost passable. Nowadays, a great majority of pop music is an indecipherable heap of uninspired radio-friendly tunes and watered down experiences, which emphasizes the baser sides of femininity; favoring materialism dressed up as strength, confidence, and self-dependence.

In the recent past, however, the genre has seen classic songs such as TLC’s “Unpretty”, which digressed feelings of self acceptance of inner beauty, and their equally praiseworthy “No Scrubs”, which emphasized the female empowerment of not letting any man, especially one that is disrespectful and without aspiration, into one’s life. Pop music has also seen the likes of Jennifer Lopez, who boasted favoring honesty and truth in a relationship in songs such as “If You Had My Love”. Pink’s “Most Girls”, a first-person narrative of wanting “real love” as opposed to the superficial qualities of desiring a cash cow, also breathed new life into the lungs of a genre which, more often than not, reverts back to its original form as an industry which is more body- than substance-conscious.

In the wake of a genre that is seemingly dead, except, perhaps, for the few positive veterans of the scene, there is a new solo artist emerging from the Underground.

At first glance, ThaGataNegrra-- or “The Black Cat”-- is a visual anomaly of epic, eye candy proportions. With an album cover featuring a songstress donning purple and pink synthetic loc extensions, a leopard print top, and plaid shorts, Gata Negrra is every bit as cartoonish as an anime character, and yet still manages an intimidating and serious aura that ushers “street cred”, even behind faux cat ears. The reason for the myriad use of cats is simple: they are both her totem animal and stage persona.

On GATA City, the debut album from ThaGataNegrra, dance is used as a synonym of both love and lust: with lyrics inspired by a current relationship, Gata does well to avoid gratuitous oversexualization on songs such as “I Feel You”, with its infectious blend of disco meets New Wave meets Freestyle vibe.

But the Black Cat has a lot more than the metaphorical dance floor anthem to offer up on the album. “Paperdollz” is a personal track dedicated to not changing one’s self to meet the status quo of what men desire or expect.

In an interview, ThaGataNegrra said that though she will be focusing on more personal experiences in the future, a large part of the music-making process is about having fun. But if there were one mission statement she had, one truth she was setting out to prove, it is that “Hip-hop doesn’t have to fit into a stereotypical mold…[It] doesn’t have to be gimmicky, or negative, or materialistic. It’s not about what you have or want the world to think you have…but about being you. And if someone can identify with that, that’s awesome. Whilst dancing, even more so.”

The New Jersey native said that her inspirations range from Prince, Janet Jackson, No Doubt, A Tribe Called Quest, Run DMC, The Ting Tings, the Native Tongues (an alternative movement in Golden Era hip-hop), Gorillaz, and Eminem.

Other than being her totem animal and stage persona, ThaGataNegrra also has an affinity with the feline because their personalities are similar. Like a cat, she says she always lands on her feet. “Sometimes, I feel like: ‘Don’t corner me.’ And sometimes I feel shy and run for cover. But other [times], I'm growling my truth”.

Other performers on GATA City: Angel Vivaldi, PoppaRazi

Praxilla is a writer for the Offering, a Metal magazine offering exposure to underground/underrepresented bands of the music scene.

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