Anycia: PRINCESS POP THAT Album Review

May 1, 2024 - Music

If you ever wanted to live a day in the life of an Atlanta cool girl just listen to an Anycia song. That’s been the appeal since last summer when the grainy snippet for “So What” lifted her from a life of partying and working odd jobs (bottle service, babysitter, hair stylist) to a life of partying and rapping. Produced by ATL underground gatekeeper Popstar Benny, the addictive “So What” features Anycia’s raspy-voiced, flirty-with-an-attitude raps over a beat that tosses Ciara’s hook on Field Mob’s hit of the same name into the pluggnb blender. The short visual added to the dreamy seductiveness, as Anycia and her clique—including fellow overnight sensation Karrahbooo—get drunk and turn up poolside; the handheld feel of a GoPro making it seem as if you just stumbled into a random Tuesday night of hers.

Less than a year later, Anycia is on a Flo Milli album, coasting in a vintage muscle car with Latto, and teaming up with proven music industry hitmaker Jetsonmade for her debut album PRINCESS POP THAT. Compared to “So What,” which sounds like it was made on the fly as the video suggests, the album is more buttoned up, but the sense that you’re riding shotgun with her through all the drama and excitement of being poppin’ in Atlanta is kept intact.

The more laid back, the better. Cruising over the generic yet smooth g-funk groove of “Bad Weather,” trickling in little details like “I’m in the Lamb’ tryna’ put my lashes on.” On “Nene’s Prayer,” wishing the worst on an ex (“I hope your barber push your shit back/I hope you get up out the car and then your phone crack”) over one of those breezy beats a Detroit rapper uses when they want to be a family man all of a sudden. Her relaxed, monotone recalls a wide array of hangout flows: The haze of Dom Kennedy, the easygoing stunting of Tony Shhnow, when Gucci or 50 do some sweet talking.

But a delivery as low-key as Anycia’s relies so heavily on beats. They have to be a vibe, or else her same-y flow can wash over you. Jetsonmade is not the guy for that. The South Carolina native is a malleable, trusted hand, who is decent at booming, minimalist instrumentals that give big personalities the space to do their thing. That worked just fine on DaBaby’s “Suge” or Jack Harlow’s “Whats Poppin,” big hits that I would not lose any sleep if we left them in the pre-COVID days forever. But with Anycia, too much weight is on his production, and it’s too dry and derivative to handle that. (It’s worth noting that all of his beats have three or four other producers credited, but his producer tag gets the star treatment.) For example, the steel-drum bounce of “Call” just makes me want to fire up the summer anthems on Trapnificent. Jetson’s mid-aughts trap revival on “Back Outside” is solid, but is blown out of the water by other recent beats in the same lane such as Baby Kia’s “Od Crashin’” or JT’s “Okay.” On paper Anycia and Cash Cobain seem like a good match because they both are masters of sexually charged, locally-minded, lifestyle rap, but it’s not dirty enough and the airy instrumental lacks the sauce.

When the beat is right, Anycia is a fun rapper. “I fuck yo’ nigga to Detroit-type beats,” she jokes on “Type Beat,” over a thudding, serviceable instrumental by Jetson and his team. (Only thing worse than getting cheated on, is getting cheated on while a Teejayx6-type beat is on in the background.) She’s outshined by the punchier Karrahbooo on their bouncy back-and-forth “Splash Brothers,” but Anycia’s insults are still venomous. The album standout is “BRB,” a lush single where everything in town seems to be getting on her nerves; the girls copying her, the guys in her messages: “Blowin’ up my phone I know yo’ baby mama whack.” It’s the perfect Anycia song: Low-stakes, short enough to be a snippet, rapped as if she’s unimpressed, possibly even burdened, by her Atlanta cool girl status.

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