Bree Runway hasn’t missed a beat in 2020. After releasing a string of acclaimed singles and collaborating with Rina Sawayama and Maliibu Miitch, Bree is now rounding off the year by dropping her debut mixtape ‘2000AND4EVA’, a project that recognises the pivotal decade in pop music that solidified the superstar status of the likes of Britney Spears and Lady Gaga.
While paying homage to that period, ‘2000AND4EVA’ also forcefully challenges the white supremacy that has historically underpinned the music industry’s manufacturing of the ‘popstar’. The Hackney-raised Bree has always been outspoken on issues surrounding misogynoir, but by its nature alone ‘2000AND4EVA’ is a radical move as a pop project that unapologetically centres Black womanhood.
Bree’s fearless versatility on the mixtape further challenges any remaining assumptions that Black musicians can’t partake in certain genres. By successfully balancing a number of different flows and deliveries across its nine tracks, Bree is able to showcase myriad personalities throughout ‘2000AND4EVA’. One such illuminating comparison can be made between ‘APESHIT’, a chugging fusion of hip-hop and rock, and ‘Damn Daniel’, her colourful, ‘80s-inspired pop collaboration with Yung Baby Tate.
Thankfully, as she dips her toes into these various genres, the mixtape doesn’t come across like a sonic mishmash of ideas and experimentation, as Bree instead reaches an equilibrium where her multiple musical personalities converge into a signature sound. Every part of this mixtape feels well thought-out, from the plain-spoken lyricism to the impressive roll call of featured guests.
It’s almost no surprise to see Bree’s musical ‘mommy’ Missy Elliott collaborating with her on ‘ATM’, as the vibrant hip-hop track oozes with witty one-liners such as Elliott’s “I got so much drip you can see me surfing”. Bree’s main lyrical themes, meanwhile, collide as images of wealth, sex and opulence fuel the chant “ATM, push my button again”.
‘2000AND4EVA’ also features Maliibu Miitch’s husky stint on the luxurious anthem ‘Gucci’ and a new version of Bree’s September single ‘Little Nokia’, now featuring Rico Nasty. Although her appearance is brief, Rico doesn’t shy away from displaying her high-powered and dynamic style, complementing the thunderous, electric production that rings out. This energy remains high in Bree’s irreverent freestyle ‘No Sir’ and the reggae-infused ‘Rolls Royce’, which features such boastful lines as: “Skin dark like the window tinted / I’m already better than this next bitch”.
One track that makes a successful departure from Bree’s usually theatrical sound is the minute-long interlude ‘Nicole Thea & Baby Reign’. Serving as a sombre tribute to her late friend Thea — a popular YouTuber who passed away earlier this year while eight months pregnant with her son Reign — the stripped-back song implores the listener to focus on the poignant, emotionally wrought words sung by Bree: “I’ll see you on the other side”.
As a debut full-length project, ‘2000AND4EVA’ is a menacing and carefree offering — one in which Bree Runway manages to be bold, belligerent yet vulnerable throughout — from a different and altogether exciting new pop star.
Release date: November 6
Record label: Universal / EMI