You'll know Stefflon Don's "Hurtin' Me", the absolute behemoth of a track that entered the UK Top Ten last year. Or maybe you'll recognise the truckload of other accolades she's carrying around with her, like the MOBO Award for Best Female Artist or being a member of XXL's 2018 Freshman Class. All these accolades mean expectation are high for Steff's upcoming mixtape Secure, but if the evidence offered by "Oochie Wally" – a new freestyle by Steff for Link Up TV – and Secure's opener "Lil Bitch," which comes accompanied with a video today, is anything to go on, she'll be just fine.
"Oochie Wally" emerged last Friday (11 August), and sees Steff in full celebration mode. Visual-wise it harks back to her "Real Ting" video (though this time she's being recognised in a shopping centre, another indicator of hoe far she's come), and lyrically, it's cheeky and fun. Best of all, it sees Steff making gags with great timing: "Stacking money like a real don / and I'm piff," she winks, and her contentment with and relaxation into her skill is palpable.
The second new track "Lil Bitch," (hear that above) comes with a visual which suggests shades of "Bitch Better Have My Money" (complimented the track's Kill Bill alarm bell sample). The track forms the intro to Secure, and sets the tone for the tape in a dark, intriguing way. It's harder than "Oochie Wally," but it makes sense as a mission statement, and sees Steff going to lower places in her vocal range than we've generally heard before.
Considered together, these new tracks feel like progress. The overriding sense from is that following her XXL Freshman Class placement (where she was the only woman), Steff is pushing herself to offer something different to her previous efforts, particularly for US audiences who might be newer to her work. Secure, then, with contributors ranging from Future to Ebenezer, is an exciting prospect, from a rapper who, having already shown so much promise, feels like she's coming into her own.
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This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.