Leikeli47 – ‘Acrylic’ review

Like the best of M.I.A, Cardi B and Kamaiyah rolled into one, Brooklyn rapper Leikeli47’s second full-length record alternates between moments of introspection and thrilling braggadocio. Her strength is her duality

On her second full-length album, ‘Acrylic’, New York rapper Leikeli47 showcases her full range of abilities. Known for covering her face with colourful masks, she reveals an inner sense of self that leaves listeners wanting more; even her most ardent fans may be surprised with the emotional honesty subtly littered throughout.

The album starts off forthright and uncompromising – for the first eight tracks, the energy doesn’t subside; over dance-friendly beats, Leikeli47 spits bars with a machine-gun spray. Intricate production makes up the album’s body, while the Brooklyn-based rapper finds herself at home everywhere: on a colourful, stuttered, radio-friendly tune such as the title track; a synth-heavy, distorted club banger on ‘Tic Boom’; or even on the anthemic ‘Roll Call’ with its sparse, layered production.

Here, the Brooklyn rapper spits lines such as I’m real unstable when I’m off that’ YG / Haffi tell they friends don’t mind me / I stand 5’3 and I’m real feisty”. It’s braggadocio at its finest. There is, at times, the nagging sense that this is an overcompensation for her reluctance to reveal parts of personality, but when she sings with a sense of naked belief – on tracks such as ‘Hoyt and Schermerhorn’, ‘CIAA’ and over plinky piano on ‘In My Eyes’, an emotional tear-jerker that rounds off the album – her chameleonic ability is evident.

At times, and especially on ‘Iron Mike’, Leikeli47 sounds like the best of M.I.A, Cardi B and Kamaiyah rolled into one. Frustratingly, tracks such as ‘Post That’ and ‘No Reload’ play like extraneous fat, occupying early tracklist slots where standouts such as ‘Iron Mike’ and ‘Bad Gyal Flex’ are buried further down. Yet her natural personality transcends this. Acrylic’ is full of infectious energy; at times, it feels like pure electricity coming from a rapper that doesn’t live by definition.

Despite this, there are plentiful moments of introspection: she flips the table deftly multiple times, showcasing the multi-layered, multi-dimensional capabilities she possesses. Over 19 tracks and 50 minutes, Leikeli47 dovetails beautifully in and out of vulnerability and confidence; the strength of ‘Acrylic’ lies in this duality.