P.U.K.E. TAPES VOL. 1 – [Payday]

Although I had legitimately never really heard of Payday until I was put onto her music the other day, I definitely feel blessed that I get to jump on her bandwagon early and observe all of her future successes in real-time. At first glance, she might just look like an innocent little teenage girl, but there are passion and individuality that run deep inside of her, which can be observed in every single one of her songs. Not only this, but her talents are truly abundant for someone who’s only 16 years old, and the fact that she uses her own individualistic approaches for other somewhat common, played-out parts of Hip-Hop music is even more notable. At the same time, I’m not even sure you can categorize her music as being Hip-Hop in general because her dexterity and artistry run so much deeper than just one genre. There are Indie qualities within her voice and instrumentals that pair with Hip-Hop elements while I’m also reminded of certain R&B or even Neosoul offerings on other tracks, leading me to believe that it’s simply impossible to box her into one specific category.

Most recently, her debut mixtape P.U.K.E. TAPES VOL. 1 is her first actual cohesive introduction to the music world, and it’s actually my introduction to her as well, so my palette is as fresh as everyone else’s. With that being said, I’m overly eager to see what else she’s going to bring to the table in the future after listening to this tape just one time so far, because the plethora of talents she displays at such a young age throughout this almost 9 minute long, four-song project is truly a spectacle. Beyond this, it’s also just refreshing to hear certain elements that might have been utilized in songs prior to this tape by other artists, but seeing Payday morph these things and shape them in her own unique ways brings you deeper into the very imaginative and individualistic world she is creating.

As for the mixtape itself, we are met immediately by a filtered synth of some sort coupled with a fairly simplistic yet vibey drumline on the opening track “Alphabet Soup”. The hook on this record seems somewhat sorrowful yet optimistic as Payday takes us on a rollercoaster ride with her varying melodies before subduing her charisma ever so slightly for the verses. During the refrain, she sings a few short lines with certain layered vocals that just caught my eye right away because certain layers almost sounded to be futuristic or robotic in the most interesting, inimitable way. It’s hard to explain in all honesty, but you’ll understand when you give it a listen. The next track is “Disneyland”, and a few guitar strums paired with some soft drums create a fairly minimal foundation for Payday to stand out and boast a large variety of her skillset. Her voice throughout the first half of the song just sounds so pure, innocent, and wholesome but there’s also passion and emotion behind every note she sings. For the second verse, though, she begins to show off her heightened ability to rap by going off the rails more intricately and impressively than probably anyone her age and even many older artists as well.

On the third song “Molang”, Payday opens up with some extremely high, Soprano notes that do a fantastic job of showing off her vocal range before she opts to lower the pitch of her voice ever so slightly. I feel like in her verse on this record, she shows the most normalized version of herself that everyone can definitely relate to, although she rarely discusses narratives that people can’t relate to, which is something that is going to go a long way when connecting with fans early on as well as down the road. The final cut on this tape is called “Moving” and it might be my personal favorite, but that’s a tough choice considering how strong this project as a whole is. The beat contains some sort of pitched-up sample as well as percussive elements and a drumline that all come together to create a very rhythmic, up-tempo aesthetic that wraps the mixtape up perfectly. I also love her storytelling in this track, because prior to doing additional research on the young talent, I wasn’t sure where she was from. Later on, I found out that she has moved all over the country throughout her youthful life, so she has seen different regions and had various experiences, which are things she goes into detail about in this final song.

Although it might not be the first time and it most likely won’t be the last, I’m always awestruck when an artist like Payday comes around at such a young age and can display such vibrant, exciting skills right off the bat. I understand that some of the topics she talks about might be somewhat adolescent or juvenile, but that’s because that’s where she’s at in life and even if you aren’t the same age as her currently, these things can bring you back to a previous moment in time and allow you to connect with her on a level that goes deeper than music. Additionally, I’m not sure what it is because some of these topics aren’t sad or depressed either, but there is this melancholic quality to her voice that is just so intriguing to hear regardless of if she’s singing or rapping. I get slight Billie Eilish vibes from her when she sings, but the differentiating factor is not only her intriguing rapping abilities but also her animated personality and the confidence she seems to exude, even while talking about things she might be insecure about. I’m so glad I found out about Payday so early on because I feel like she’s going to be a star and I can’t wait to watch all of the success she achieves over the years. P.U.K.E. TAPES VOL. 1 is just the beginning too, which is exciting and inspiring, so be sure to hop on the Payday bandwagon early on and check it out as soon as you possibly can.