Suboi – Walk

“The girls come up with the nicest outfit
 / The guys come up with the nicest haircut
 / And me come up with this microphone.” Suboi claims on “Ticki Ticki Toc,” an opening track off her debut Walk released under Duc Tri’s Music Faces label. Suboi’s first breakthrough was when she rapped on Ho Ngoc Ha’s “Girls’ Night.” When I first heard that track, I envisioned a MILF taking her daughter to a club. Although she is twenty years old, she sounds like twelve on the record.

Lyrically speaking, her rhymes are straight elementary. What amazes me though is that she could combine three languages in just two bars: “Mi casa es su casa, I just say blah blah / 
If you don’t understand, forget it, cho qua.” Who could have thought of rhyming “blah blah” with “cho qua?” On the title track, Suboi mimics the southern flow to go with the big, dirty southern beat supplies by Duong Khac Kinh, producer of the album. Unfortunately, Blak Ray slaughters the tune with his annoying chorus-singing.

In some ways, Suboi is like M.I.A. minus the lyrical substance. They both rap like kids over big beats and they both are tone deaf, but M.I.A. knows how to work within her limitation and her punchlines are brilliant. Suboi’s lines are just silly: “Hola, Me llamo S – U – B – O – I
 / Ima dance like there’s an ant in my pants.” Maybe Suboi doesn’t have the freedom to express herself the way M.I.A. does. Not that I expect Suboi to drop some deep thoughts, but hip-hop can’t live if she’s not free. Walk is nothing more than a baby rap album.

Bonjour Vietnam