It’s about time Australia and the world stops sleeping on Tkay Maidza. After releasing more than her fair share of quality singles and EPs, Maidza is back with Last Year Was Weird Vol. 3, a slinky and complete progression from an act who’s more than ready to make an impact on the global hip hop and RnB scene. Vol. 3, naturally coming after 2020’s Last Year Was Weird Vol. 2, is possibly the artist’s best work to date; which says something considering Vol. 2 was one of last year’s best releases.
Describing the new EP as the final chapter in her trilogy of EPs, Maidza is grateful for how her first two EPs have shaped Vol. 3; an EP that embraces the path her previous work has created while happily looking forward to what will come with the release of future bodies of work. With a back catalogue of certified bangers, I’m still astounded as to how an artist with as much quality as Maidza hasn’t managed to break through onto bigger stages, audiences and markets.
Her talent and class has been evident from the earliest of her work (“Brontosaurus” and “MOB” still pump), and yet the Australian public continues to not fully embrace her music. On the back of Vol.2, it’s pretty clear that Vol. 3 will be the time that Maidza finally breaks through to the next level of the Australian scene (and if that doesn’t happen, I’m more than confident markets abroad will embrace her, she’ll blow up overseas, and we’ll be left to look like fools for not doing more over here).
With only eight tracks on the EP, it’s hard to point out which songs stand above (or below) the others. The EP is incredibly well-weighted from front to back, with style, musical and production changes occurring on just about every chorus and verse.
Opening track “Eden” is bookended by the same 60’s inspired sample as the track eases the listener into the release. Taking its time to break through, “Eden”, a reference to the biblical garden, is slick from the first lyrics, as Maidza’s vocals and undeniable flow came to the forefront.
“On To Me” has a mid-2000’s RnB vibe, with the guitar hooks throughout the back beat proving to be just as great as the remainder of the song.
The best song on the EP is reserved for “So Cold”. A little reminiscent of Malibu era Anderson .Paak, coming in at less than three-minutes in length is the only negative of “So Cold” (I just wish it was a little longer). Once again, Maidza’s flow is second to none, while the production doesn’t overplay itself and keeps pass with the strength of Maidza’s presence. If it receives the acclaim it should, I see “So Cold” being the track to break Maidza into the US market.
Rivalling “So Cold” for quality, “Cashmere” is another standout moment on Vol. 3. A delicate and annoyingly complete counter-balance to “Syrup” and “Kim”, “Cashmere” embraces a neo-soul vibe similar to Arlo Parks or even Jorja Smith. Comparing herself to the softness of fabric, “Cashmere” is Maidza at her most open and vulnerable, and once again will more than hold its own in a live setting.
The two tracks on the EP that save the dirtiest of beats and drops are saved for “Syrup” and “Kim”. “Syrup”, with its churning beat is only usurped by the complete filth of the first drop on “Kim”. While not the most lyrically complete of tracks on the EP, “Kim” will be the moment in live sets that crowds will froth most. The most downbeat and pure of cuts on the EP is the closer “Breathe”. A wholesome take on relationships, the gooey beat in the closing half of the track pretty much sums up the entire quality and content of Vol. 3.
While she’s been in our collective eyelines and eardrums for a few years now, Last Year Was Weird Vol. 3 has progressed Tkay Maidza to a point of pure stardom-readiness. It still seems unbelievable that she hasn’t broken through to the upper echelons yet, but I am very confident it will happen between now and her next release.