Hometown: Greensboro, North Carolina
Listen to: ‘Daisy’, ‘Cry’ (feat. Grimes), and ‘Deal With It’ (Feat. Kelis)
For those who frequent the alt pop and hip hop scene, the name Ashnikko won’t be new to you. Having first reached acclaim when her 2019 single ‘STUPID’, featuring Yung Baby Tate, went viral on TikTok, Ashnikko has steadily penetrated the mainstream music industry. Some would argue quite literally.
Ashnikko isn’t shy in her delivery, nor about the topics of her songs. The American singer gives the middle finger to toxic masculinity, making her music raw and relatable. This rawness has caused a further rise in recognition since the release of her debut album, DEMIDEVIL.
Compiled in such a way that each track is reminiscent of creating mixtapes for our friends and partners, DEMIDEVIL marries together heavy hitting tracks, such as ‘Cry’ and ‘Good While It Lasted’, with the playful aggression of songs like ‘Deal With It’ and ‘Daisy. Arguably, these are two of the standout songs of the album, though it would be a crime to ignore her queer triumphs that are ‘Slumber Party’ and ‘Drunk With My Friends’.
The whole collection is a masterpiece in alternative pop, delivering lines that hit unforgivingly fast and hard—you feel bombarded, but it’s a bombardment that moves you to your core. Anyone who’s suffered at the hands of the patriarchy will find solidarity in this album, as it takes the words of feminism we all sang in the 90s/00s and gives it a much needed revamp. There’s no white feminism ‘girl power’ here, this is about all marginalised genders fighting back, with a powerhouse of influential singers at the helm.
Although the album has been a great success for the London-based songwriter, there’s one flaw to its mastery: it’s short. At only 25 minutes long, it’s all too easy to run through the tracks and feel disappointment that there isn’t more to come. However, this in itself could be argued as DEMIDEVIL’s strength. Ashnikko keeps her message short and sweet, ensuring that every song impacts her listeners.
As for the way in which her words and visuals come together, Ashnikko is nothing if not experimental. When she revealed a sneak peek of her music video for ‘Drunk With My Friends’, a lot of people commented on how trippy the video is. If you’ve never encountered a video by the singer before, it will look like a hyper-real, psychedelic fever dream. But if you know her work, you’ll be familiar with the way in which Ashnikko lacks subtly. If that’s what you’re searching for in her music, you’ll find the landscape incredibly barren.
The way in which her music and visual artistry show no mercy, to the point that you feel overwhelmed yet hungry for more, reminds me of Peaches. If you compare DEMIDEVIL to Peaches’ early works, you’ll see a firm correlation between the two singers; both of them refuse to be quiet, and are unashamedly proud of their sexuality and expression. The only difference between them is that Ashnikko is more accepted by the mainstream music industry because she’s had the agency of viral pop culture on her side.
To listen to Ashnikko is to consume a very specific and powerful reading of Western culture, meaning the laws of typical reviews and introductions don’t quite apply. Ashnikko is unique, yet her foundations are rooted in other musicians who’ve come before her, such as Lil’ Kim, Gwen Stefarni, and Paramore. She’s an eclectic mix of musical genres, all coming together and demanding to be heard; in the world of Ashnikko, there’s no music hierarchy. There’s no single, rigid type of music. It’s free-flowing, edgy, chaotic, joyful and, above all else, it’s about being that b*tch.
Words by Emma Flint
Support The Indiependent
We’re trying to raise £200 a month to help cover our operational costs. This includes our ‘Writer of the Month’ awards, where we recognise the amazing work produced by our contributor team. If you’ve enjoyed reading our site, we’d really appreciate it if you could donate to The Indiependent. Whether you can give £1 or £10, you’d be making a huge difference to our small team.