Album Review: Tairrie B – Feminenergy
‘The human race is becoming a disgrace,’ seethes World Destruction, Feminenrgy’s righteous opening reinvention of the Afrika Bambaataa/John Lydon classic. ‘Police brutality and COVID on the rise / Not giving a damn about the people they despise…’ It’s been a while since we heard from Tairrie B, but her finger’s still on the pulse. Unleashing both barrels on the American right – white supremacists, narrow-minded chauvinists, Covidiots and, repeatedly, Donald Trump himself – this ferocious fourth solo LP finds the My Ruin vocalist on her sharpest form in years. Dropped as a free download to mark both the upcoming Presidential Election and the 30th anniversary of Tairrie’s landmark 1990 release Power Of A Woman (the first widely-distributed album by a white, female rapper), it is a rich, politicised return to her hip-hop roots that’s overloaded with metal edge and punk energy.
There’s a remarkable flow, even as its 12 tracks shapeshift with righteous energy. Hardcore and KNXVLNsound like ’80s throwbacks, with slick rhymes, soul samples and fragments of electric riffage, while the whole first two minutes of Raised Up Fist are comprised of tightly-woven voice samples of some of The Donald’s most reprehensible remarks about women before the track unspools in a venomous rage. Nasty Woman is an infectious tangle of springy synths and looped vocals. Referendum is a riff-fuelled, near six-minute attack that comes on like Tairrie’s take on Rage Against The Machine before Fistful Of Steel sees her cover the Los Angeles rap-rock legends directly.
Her vision is rounded-out by a handful of collaborators. The lurching pseudo-gangster-rap of Caution and Truth Bomb – a cut dedicated to Atlanta civil rights icon John Lewis and “The Notorious RBG” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – is enlivened by the inspired turntable scratching of GrandMixer GMS, while Lazarus Blackstar vocalist Paul Catten lends his pipes to the aforementioned World Destruction. Most notably, Tairrie’s husband and My Ruin co-conspirator Mick Murphy layers on the drums, bass and guitar as well as mixing and engineering a gloriously retrofied sound throughout.
Crucially, though, Tairrie herself is never not front-and-centre. And, by the time we get to the closing MM ResistMix 2020 re-imagining of her own 2019 banger I’m A Woman (dedicated to the “reSISTERS” and crusaders for female empowerment), it’s impossible not to feel the same indignation and defiance that’s driven the irrepressible firebrand this far. A Feminenergy that anyone can feel.
For Fans Of: My Ruin, Body Count, N.W.A.
Feminenergy is out now.
As My Ruin mark their 20th anniversary with The Cathartic Collection, livewire singer Tairrie B looks back over the triumphs and tragedies, electric shocks and hard knocks that’ve carried her to the here and now…
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