Dean Van Nguyen knows that children are the future.
If Molly Brazy has a Marvel Universe-style superpower, it’s the ability to hear you talking smack. Say some shit behind her back and Molly will come knocking at your door, but it’s Instagram haters that sit at the top of her enemies list. Here we are in the late 2010s and Brazy, not yet out of her teens, feels like the encapsulation of a new mutation of gangster rap—an AK in one hand, an iPhone in the other.
“Running your mouth is you crazy?/ You do not want to get into that,” she fires on the murderous trap rattler “Pop Shit.” “Bitches talk shit on the internet/ I pull up, I put an end to that.” If you’re having problems with online trolls, considering hiring Brazy as an enforcer.
I like songs like “Pop Shit” because though themes like beef, revenge, and stunting have been well stress-tested in rap history, here they are being examined through a social media filter. To traditionalists, this might seem abhorrent, but it’s an accurate reflection on how much time kids spend digitized.
Brazy’s a 360-degree internet rapper, capturing the web’s influence on her life while prolifically dropping her barbed trap rap cuts to Soundcloud and posting cheap but fun videos to YouTube. Her fans even upload clips of themselves reacting to Brazy videos for the first time. Molly’s artistic lifeblood flows through optical fiber.
You can trace a direct lineage from Kool G Rap, to 50 Cent, to Chief Keef, to Molly Brazy. Her voice—naturally cartoonish, wickedly aggressive—sounds of her age. And like Keef when he first emerged, Brazy is a teen rapper whose music is drained of any youthful exuberance and instead colored with violence, paranoia, and immaturity.
She joyfully threatens to gun down her enemies on the cold, horror movie piano keys of “Bout Shit.” On “2 Faced,” Molly asserts that, “Bitches got opinions” and that she doesn’t “give a fuck ‘bout what they say” but then spends two furious minutes calling them fake. When you’re under 20, you’re allowed to contradict yourself sometimes.
There’s more than menace to her artistry, though. Brazy also has a deftness of flow and quickness of thought that raise her above the sea of young rappers operating in the same space. On “Molly’s Story,” the opener from most recent mixtape Big Brazy, she raps, “No father figure in my life, I still beat the odds/ I’m just a voice for a young girl from them trenches.” It’s a rare hint of the pain lurking beneath the bravado. I’m also quite partial to the contemporary R&B flavors of “All I Know,” the swirling key riff underpinning a track that recalls Aaliyah’s “Rock The Boat.”
Like a lot of supremely talented up-and-comers, I’m not sure Brazy has quite put it all together over a full-length tape yet. Of the two I’ve been bumping these last couple months, Molly’s World has great moments intercut with fidelity issues and subpar guest spots. At just 10 tracks, the more cohesive Big Brazy solved some of those issues and formed a much more professional statement. But among the bangers, there was a strange and confusing moment on “Trust None” when Brazy veers into sentiment that sounds unpleasantly anti-women, rapping, “Never trust a hoe ‘cuz she can’t keep her legs closed.”
So there’s room for growth. But that’s why we trawl Soundcloud for new talent, right? To find unpolished kids with the talent and charisma to carry them through those early career missteps. Despite the growing pains, Brazy’s early career shots have established the core pillars of her artistry that could stand outside the borders of cyberspace.