Tkay Maidza’s ‘Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2’ Is an Exquisite and Striking Balancing Act

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In "My Flowers," Zimbabwean-born Australian-bred artist Tkay Maidza delivers a neo-soul cut that is simultaneously weightless and impactful. Moments later, in "24k," she hints at the full power of her rapidfire flow over a hypnotic house track. 

The change-ups come regularly and often in Maidza's sophomore mixtape, Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2. Yet, at no point does the rapper, singer, and all-around artist ever come across as anything less than absolutely assured in her ability to deliver on each and every of these varied standout moments.

Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 is the second installment of a planned trilogy, following the 2018 effort two years to the month. Upon a single listen, one fact becomes immediately apparent. Maidza has not spent the last two years wasting a single second.

The sophomore mixtape often feels larger than life, making good on Maidza's bombastic personality and unique musical prowess at each and every turn. A track like "Shook," with its Missy Elliot-evoking braggadocio and idiosyncratic rhythm, arrives as both a clear standout and precursor to ensuing mayhem of the JPEGMAFIA-assisted "Awake." It is a testament to Maidza's ability to regularly defy and exceed expectations, even the ones she sets for herself.

The latter half of Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 makes a departure for sunnier territories. And whether it be exploring the bossa nova-adjacent sands of "Sad" or the R&B dreamscape that is the Kari Faux-assisted "Don't Call Me Again," Maidza remains stalwart at the helm, navigating us towards an unexpected, newfound bliss. Maidza spoke further on her varied sophomore mixtape, sharing in an Instagram post,

"I started this last year was weird trilogy as a chance to create depth and understanding around who I am. Ive often felt misinterpreted as a kinda blank kinda loud-silly -girl who doesn't say much so i wanted to show more in order to understand myself more too. Last few years have been a journey & each song is a representation of the internal dialogue Ive had whilst searching for that intersection of who I want to be & who I'm becoming.

I've spent so much time trying to become this 'serious' person only to realise I felt more inspired when i was having fun. I've realised that being unpredictable and an outsider in many forms is what makes me who I am and I need to except it in order to be able to accept myself. It's all about balance, listening to yourself and nothing else.

I hope some of you can resonate with it and it encourages you to go hard for whatever you believe in. Thank you for being here & so grateful."

Attempting to pigeonhole Maidza or Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 feels like an exercise in futility. However, if there is one grand all-encompassing takeaway to be found, it is that that Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 is essential listening.

Listen to Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 below:

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