Out right now is Model Minority, the debut full length from Linqua Franqa, aka Athens-based rapper and linguist Mariah Parker. The linquist doctorate student at the University of Georgia has produced a record of maturity and impeccably crafted hip-hop, that must rank amongst the best hip-hop records of the year.
Made up largely of her first EP, augmented with a couple of new tracks, and three new remixes, the album sees Parker tackle subjects such as abortion, drug addiction, depression, racism and politics with a incise and insightful rap, laying them down often at an incredible rate but always with this languid, listenable style. Throughout the album she also shows some serious pipes, laying down the breaks between the verses with smokey soulful authenticity .With beats provided by the likes of WesDaRuler and Murk Daddy Flex, they’re on the jazzier end of the spectrum. At one point loungey (The Con and the Can) and another instantly funk/soul as in the brilliant ode to the right of choice in abortion (8 weeks), it’s the perfect backing for Franqa’s unstoppable flow. Best of all is that despite landing some of the best raps we’ve heard so far this year, she’s no slouch when it comes to melody either, these chocolatey Lauren Hill-like chorus’ holding everything (along with your interest) together.In this day and age when there is almost a tidal wave of mediocrity in hip-hop, Linqua Franqa stands out from the crowd, not just with her brilliant raps and candences, not only for her souldful sung choruses or singalong lyrics, not only for daring to tackle issues that are normally shied away from, but because she is able to pull together all those strands, and that makes Model Minority a very good record indeed.