Jahcoozi: Pure Breed Mongrel
Let’s just get the M.I.A. comparisons out of the way. Sasha Perera, of the Germany-based trio Jahcoozi, raps. Her album Pure Breed Mongrel has bedroom production values. And she’s Sri Lankan. But Perera is so much more acerbic and wittier than the Tamil tigress that she could be the Dorothy Parker of hip-hop.
Supported by subsonic hooks and polyrhythmic grooves from Robot Koch and Oren Gerlitz (two Diplos are better than one), Perera satirizes the vices of upper-class snobs, drug addicts, and modern media. On album opener “Black Barbie,” Perera cribs the limp melody from Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” as a dual allegory for tranquilizers and race relations. Things get even weirder on “The Bouncer Who Turned Good,” which re-contextualizes the Crystals’ “He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss),” except here the dude blames his abusive nature on being “felt up” as a boy—by his granny.
Though for the most part Perera’s lyrics feel fictional, some semblance of autobiography sneaks through on “Asian Bride Magazine,” an examination of interracial marriage and identity construction. “Thank you, L’Oréal, now there’s products for us,” she proclaims. “Daily use gonna help us to pretend that we’re high caste/ Bleach our skin, lighten our moustache.”
But Mongrel’s most infectious cut has to be “Who,” which emulates the deep-bass minimalism of Missy Elliott’s “Work It.” Swapping her sexual liberation for an old-school cred-shred, Perera spits the hilarious: “If you think that you’re the hot shit/ People gonna crack up at you in a supermarket/ When they see you stacking up all the shelves with cornflakes/ And they realize that you’re just another clone, a mere fake.” Perera might be an amalgam of M.I.A. and Missy, but she’s anything but fake.