3 Miles Entertainment, LLC, 2011
REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/18/2012
Tha Gata Negrra doesn’t pretend to be a pop diva and she isn’t one. Her record GATA City does not involve any world-class producers and it certainly is not meant to be a pop record to woo the hearts of the masses. The production on the record is pretty slick; however, it is nothing compared to the chique music of mainstream pop. This album stemmed out of a house/dance music project with members of Gata Negrra’s family. But inspite of its homespun and homemade production, this debut of hers is a nearperfect hip-hop/pop candy and a party album with totally infectious tunes.
Although not a pop star, Gata Negrra has an attitude and an eccentricity to surely match one. On the album, she takes on the persona of GATA, a feline manga/anime character; this portrayal of has apt distinct characteristics of visual kei, as can be seen on the album artwork and her website, which proudly touts the fact that she has been described as the bastard child of Hello Kitty and Eminem. But GATA, with her canny ability to blend hip-hop, dance, and mainstream pop, and her “in character” performance on the album makes her an artist more similar to Gorillaz than to anyone else.
Gata Negrra is primarily a hip-hop artist. And so the goulash of different pop music styles on this album all have a hip-hop core. Her fast start-stop emcee delivery mixed with aggressive beats makes the hardcore hip-hop cuts on the album like “Felinephunk,” “Transmission From Tha Cat Liar,” “GATA City: Kuro Neko Chaos,” and “Paperdollz,” the catchiest and best on the album. “Come Show Me,” “I Feel You,” and “I Like” are truer to the house/dance germ of the album rather than to its hip-hop proneness. “Like I Do” is the one-of-a-kind sugary pop song that doesn’t represent the rest of the album, but is still fantastic.
An integral part of Gata Negrra’s image is her weirdness, which can seem a bit tawdry and offputting. Her music, however, is anything but. Gata Negrra might like to be the “Gore Goddyss” (a gore-loving everyday girl) or an anime character that wears gaudy clothes and makeup, but GATA City is an ordinary mainstream pop album – an enjoyable and a great mainstream pop album.