#16 - kaystrueno - "PRETTY B!TCHES NEVA DIE"
Similar to how Axxturel, lungskull, and some other glitchy SoundCloud musicians partly blew up because of Roblox TikTok, kaystrueno’s “PRETTY B!TCHES NEVA DIE” started to take off on TikTok thanks to people using it as the soundtrack to clips revolving around two video games. Genshin Impact makes sense—it’s an action-heavy RPG. But a few of the song’s most popular TikTok videos are edits for the hilariously strange mobile game Cookie Run, which involves playing as an anthropomorphic gingerbread cookie trying to escape an oven, I think. Check out the videos: you have these cutesy clips where people show off how the animated characters look, dainty and winsome, while the soundtrack is this absolutely crushing, moshpit-intense song vibrating with distortion, volleys of kick drums, and a menacing voice repeating, “X TRIPLE “I” PRETTY BITCHES NEVER DIE.”
The track is a trip. The beat lures you into this distressingly juddery tension, which stems from the constant tempo changes and the unique pattern of the kick drums. The kicks slam repeatedly in the background, bah, bah, bah, without much of a breather, making it feel like the song is constantly working toward some ecstatic climax that never comes. Instead, it’s more like an aural headache, that sludgy sensation you get at 4 a.m. after staying out too late and drinking too much, stumbling around and feeling the infant pangs of tomorrow’s hangover.
Kay’s other songs skew more ethereal, particularly “HOMESiK” and “TELLEM.” There’s something very Legend of Zelda-y about the latter, with kaystrueno’s voice so faint and shallow in the beat that it sounds like the instrumental is swishing over it, washing over him like a lapping tide. The songs are enhanced by kaystureno’s visual aesthetic: many of his cover art pictures are pretty screenshots from the video game Kingdom of Hearts.
kaystrueno, who is a member of the collective #GREED, calls his sound “maplekore,” which might be a nod to the classic aughts MMORPG MapleStory, although none of his thumbnails come from that game. While it’s a cliché now to use video game metaphors to describe any slightly lo-fi, up-tempo and spacey rap music, I’ll just say kaystrueno does a better job at evoking the texture of flattened GameBoy Advance or DS soundtracks than most. Listening to his awkwardly throbbing beats and crushed, crunchy vocals with the gorgeous Kingdom Hearts thumbnails in mind, I feel like I’m gallivanting around some alternate dimension where everyone is a 2008 Nintendo DS cartoon character.
Kay just released a debut “full tape,” and it’s worth a listen.
Check out kaystrueno: