I was surprised and delighted to learn last week (h/t Rizzla) that everyone’s favorite pair of singing Boricuas from Queens, Nina Sky, have released a handful of new tracks, all for free DL (long as you give them your email address, which, in this case, seems a fair exchange). Apparently, the release comes in response to finally getting out of their contract with a label that was simply sitting on their work. Adoring fans should obv let Nicole and Natalie know how much we appreciate.
Readers of W&W may not know this, but we sure <3 us some Nina Sky over here. They jumped on the Coolie Dance riddim when it was still simmering and worked up a breakthrough hit, they led the flag-waving chorus on the first reggaeton song to crack English-language playlists, and they’re just so damn cute. (And I mean that in the most unpatronizing way possible, if that’s possible.)
The first three tracks of the EP are a really strong start. They manage to sound new and unlike much else right now, even while incorporating cherished breakbeats and hints of hip-house (funk dat!). But while they synthesize so many currents in pop, r&b, and club music — and the EP is even tagged, hilariously, with “happy hardcore” — what I really hear running through this, and through Nina Sky’s whole oeuvre, is the spirit of freestyle, which these girls are keeping alive and, oddly enough, autotuned! (I love the stuttered vocals on the title track, which really do seem like a nod to classic freestyle freakiness.) Above all, they sound like they’re having fun, all up in the mix and loving it.
For me, the EP sorta goes awry when it starts to sound like Madonna trying to sound like Kylie Minogue. These girls should stick to their “happy” “hardcore” New York dance steez, all sorts of syncopated synth-stabs and popping percussion — and forget about trancey arpeggio presets. Anyway, as a saving grace of sorts, the second half of the EP does feature this gem, a cover of the Cure’s “Lovesong” that is equal parts Ace of Bass and Lil Jon, none of which am I mad at.
ps — after hitting the publish button, I ran across this new Q&A, which confirms what I was hearing —
The EP is definitely influenced by freestyle music. What are your favorite freestyle tracks?
Natalie: “I Wonder If I Take You Home” by Lisa Lisa. I love that song. It reminds me of being young and hanging out with my friends. We used to listen to mad freestyle music.
Nicole: I think mine would be “Let the Beat Hit ‘Em” by Lisa Lisa because it’s a freestyle song with more of a house feel. My mom used to play Lisa Lisa so much when we were growing up.