City Girls Are The Intoxicating Embodiment Of New Miami Rap

Photo by Esdras T. Thelusma

“Put on a City Girls song and you just a bad bitch then”

Though artists like Rick Ross and the recent crop of SoundCloud superstars have shifted the paradigm, there's still a platonic ideal of Miami rap as the bass-heavy, raunchy, and eminently danceable soundtrack to debaucherous nights. Okay, so maybe “platonic" isn't quite the right word. Comprised of longtime friends Yung Miami and JT, City Girls are offering an intoxicating iteration of that sound which plays on classic tropes while broaching ideas of empowerment that are a welcome step forward.

“Sometimes it's people's music I can't listen to. What they're saying is probably good, but the flow of it is just so serious. Sometimes you've got to loosen up, got to speak for other people. I could rap bars, but I'd rather just speak to women about how they're really feeling," says JT. “Don't be scared to express what's happening in everyday life. Sometimes people are trying to say those things, so I think that City Girls basically speaks up for them, because there's a lot of shy women who are scared to speak what's really going on in their life because everything's not great with their life, they have stuff going on."

JT and Yung Miami became friends as teenagers growing up in South Florida, and their tremendous chemistry makes up for the relatively short time they've been actually making music together. Neither had any recording experience prior to starting City Girls, but their tag team energy is so infectious that a decision to record music together on a lark led them to suddenly being hot names in the Southern rap world.

“Growing up we were into all the Miami music, and me, personally, I always knew how to rap, but I never was pursuing a rap career, like, ever," says JT. “So last year in August we just wanted to do something to have some fun, and it took off."

While most artists toil before publicly releasing their music, City Girls hit the ground running. The first track they recorded, “Fuck Dat N***a," found a receptive audience online, as well as the ears of Coach K and Pee, the men behind perhaps the hottest rap label of the moment. Their company, Quality Control, helped spread and popularize the Atlanta trap movement from which a mighty family tree of subscenes and derivative, yet energetic MCs has emerged. The label's present roster includes Migos, whose deep bag of hits is unavoidable if you're out in any metropolitan area, as well as former King of Teens Lil Yachty and Drake-approved rhymer Lil Baby, whose project Harder Than Ever debuted at No.3 on the Billboard 200.

“We were just playing around, we didn't think that we were going to get signed. We didn't do a song to get signed, we basically just were messing around, went in the studio and made that song, then we put it on the internet," says Yung Miami. “Then QC saw it, and we ended up getting signed, but that wasn't our intention."

“Fuck Dat N***ga" introduced mainstream audiences to the raw, unfiltered rhymes of JT and Yung Miami as part of last year's Quality Control: Control the Streets Volume 1, as well as the signature catchphrase that became the title of their debut LP. “He want my 10, I need his new digits off his plastic," Yung Miami raps, with JT in the background, punctuating the sentiment with an uncompromising, “Period!"

“'Period' is just our lingo, that's something we say to each other," Miami explains. “She'll say something, and I'll be like, 'Period.' Like, I'll be agreeing with her or I'll be disagreeing with her, and it just became like a movement for us."

That bluntness is an asset for the two MCs, who are so adept at dressing down their detractors that you'll be terrified of getting on their bad side after hearing cuts like the drumline-inspired “Period (We Live)" or the infectious throwback “I'll Take Your Man."

On the latter, City Girls also show a reverence for rap's female pioneers. The duo connects with producer and fellow Miamian Bigg D for an update to Salt-N-Pepa's classic of the same name, offering a take that blends the original's New York grit with Miami spunk and a dash of New Orleans bounce. The lyrics are even more confrontational (“If you wanna fight, I'm with that too/ Bitch I'm from the hood, lace up your shoes," JT taunts on the opening verse), but Yung Miami says they were committed to keeping the spirit of the original track alive.

“I just wanted to keep it kind of old-school, so I did my research, listened to it," she says. “I listened to a lot of old school music, and I just basically wrote my verse off that."

In her verse, Yung Miami addresses a frustrating and problematic assumption that has plagued many female MCs dating back to Salt-N-Pepa's heyday, the idea that they needed the support of male gatekeepers to make it into the industry, and that how they got to their current position may have been based on something other than their lyrical talent. “The n****s with the sweating and the hoes with the whispering / 'That's Yung Miami and she signed to QC'/ How the fuck she got a deal, and she been rapping 'bout a week?/ She probably suck Pee dick, or let Coast fuck, nah hoe, I'm a G, bitch," she snarls in response.

“It's this sideways stuff, people saying I probably did this and I probably did that, but that just comes with being a female artist being signed to males," she says. “They just say, “Why them? They probably had to fuck to get on." So I'm going to address it in a song because I'm tired of it... When a man gets a deal, it's no excuse on why he got his deal, it's just like, 'He's got talent.' But, when a woman gets something, it ain't because they actually like what they're doing, [people say] it's because they fucked for it. That shit just is crazy, you know?"

But once they've dispatched with the naysayers, City Girls are back to their mission of making what JT smartly dubbed “alter ego music" in an interview with the Miami New Times. “If you work a 9-to-5 everyday, when you get out off your job, put on a City Girls song and you just a bad bitch then," she tells writer Kat Bein. “That's the vibe we going for. You confident then."

And the duo's profile has skyrocketed in recent weeks with their appearance on "In My Feelings" off Drake's Scorpion where they spit classic City Girls quotables ("Fuck that Netflix and chill / What's your net worth?") on the biggest stage possible. Unfortunately, JT is turning herself in to serve a prison sentence stemming from fraud charges and currently has a release date in March 2020.

As they detail on “Rap Shit," both Yung Miami and JT come from turbulent backgrounds, with the former growing up in the violent Opa-locka area, while the latter served jail time and clashed frequently with her family. That they've risen so quickly and become part of one of rap's biggest labels is a testament to their talent, their teamwork, and their determination. Period.

Screenshot via YouTube

And I need to see the rest ASAP

As excited as we already are for Olivia Wilde's directorial debut, Booksmart, to hit theaters next week, we just got even more desperate to see it. Why? Well, the first six minutes of the film were just released, and every minute is incredible.

The film opens on Molly (Beanie Feldstein) meditating and listening to a motivational tape telling her she's better than everyone else, and to "fuck those losers." Her room is decorated with pictures of Michelle Obama and RBG, so we know her head is in the right place. We learn she's the class president when she arrives at school with her best friend, Amy (Kaitlyn Dever).

It's there that we get a glimpse of the social hierarchy in which Molly and Amy exist—but somewhere down near the bottom, way below the popular kids, the theater nerds, the stoners, and even the annoying class clown.

The film officially hits theaters on May 23, but Annapurna Pictures is holding advanced screenings across the country today, May 17—we're actually holding two of them! So, if you're in L.A. or New York, check them out.

But also, you can watch the first six minutes of the film, below, and prepare yourself to watch the whole movie in a week.

BOOKSMART | Uncut First 6 Minutes

Photo by Rich Polk/ Getty

Her hypocrisy would be mind-blowing if it weren't so predictable

It's been just over two years since Tomi Lahren appeared on ABC's The View to assert that, despite her ultra-conservative bona fides, she holds one position more normally associated with the left wing: She's pro-choice. In that talk show appearance, Lahren made clear then that her pro-choice views were consonant with her self-identification as a "constitutionalist," further explaining:

I am someone that's for limited government. So I can't sit here and be a hypocrite and say I'm for limited government but I think the government should decide what women should do with their bodies." I can sit here and say that as a Republican, and I can say, "You know what? I'm for limited government, so stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well."

Back then, we noted the hypocrisy inherent to that position, since Lahren was an ardent supporter of President Trump—who made no secret of his desire to appoint anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court and other judicial benches—and Vice-President Pence, whose anti-abortion views are even more ardent.

Since Lahren's appearance on The View, she has appeared in the anti-abortion film Roe v. WadeRoe v. Wade, which co-starred fellow execrable conservative troll, Milo Yiannopoulos, and, um, Joey Lawrence. Though the film has not yet been released, it is alleged to contain "several graphic scenes depicting aborted fetuses," and also the acting styles of Jamie Kennedy, so we're not sure for whom it will really be appropriate.

But while Lahren's role in that film would be enough to make anyone question just how committed she is to her alleged pro-choice stance, the recent news about de facto abortion bans in Alabama and Georgia has incited Lahren to speak out about her views once again.

On Twitter, Lahren opened herself up to "attack[s] by [her] fellow conservatives" and spoke out against the Alabama abortion ban as being "too restrictive." And, indeed, her "fellow conservatives" did quickly attack Lahren for not actually caring about human life, and for having too liberal a position on whether or not a woman should be forced to continue a pregnancy that resulted from rape. But then also, as Lahren must have known would happen, other people supported her for... not having one irredeemably monstrous position amongst her arsenal of irredeemably monstrous positions.

But, let's be clear: Tomi Lahren is not—no matter what she tweets—pro-choice, and neither is any supporter of the Republican Party. There is no doubt that there are Republicans who are in favor of safe access to abortion—particularly when it comes to themselves and their family members having said access. But by supporting the Republican Party, they are showing how little it actually matters to them, and showing what it is that they really prioritize over women's safety and freedom: namely, access to guns, bigoted immigration policies, the continued disenfranchisement of voters across the country. I could go on, but there's no need.

Lahren's tweet doesn't reveal in any way that she's an advocate for women's rights, all it reveals is her hypocrisy and that of anyone (Meghan McCain, hi), who would love to have a world created specifically for their needs, and who is willing to sacrifice the rights of the less privileged in order to secure their own. It is despicable and dangerous and incredibly predictable. But, at least, it might give Lahren something to talk about on the red carpet with her fellow anti-abortion movie costars, if that film ever gets more than a straight-to-video release.

If you want to find out how to help women have access to abortion, please visit here for information about donating and volunteering.

Diplo, Vince Staples, and Rico Nasty also appear

Lil Nas X went all out with the visuals for his hit "Old Town Road," tapping all of his newfound collaborators and friends, like Billy Ray Cyrus, Diplo, Vince Staples, and Rico Nasty, to star. The movie travels from 1889 Wild Wild West to the modern-day city outskirts, so saddle up and come along for the ride.

As the visuals start, Nas and Cyrus gallop away with a bag of loot, obviously having pulled off a heist. The trio of men on horseback that were in pursuit of them come to a halt, unable to catch up, and Chris Rock—the leader of the group—states, "When you see a Black man on a horse going that fast, you just gotta let him fly." Just as Nas and Cyrus think they're able to relax in stranger's home, it turns out the homeowner isn't so friendly. Nas jumps into a hole to escape, only to end up hundreds of years in the future on the other side.

Forget trying to figure out the logistics of time travel, and just embrace the hilarity of Nas' horse also having wound up there, and in peak racing condition. He impresses the locals not only in the race (with Vince Staples losing money in a bet against him) but with his sweet square dancing skills. Once he and Cyrus (yes, he time traveled too) trade out their old-timey duds for some fresh, rhinestone-adorned outfits, they enter a room playing bingo with Rico Nasty in it. Diplo is playing the washboard, I feel like I'm losing my mind, and this is probably the best music video I've watched this year.

Watch the movie for "Old Town Road" again and again, below.

Lil Nas X - Old Town Road (Official Movie) ft. Billy Ray Cyrus

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Screenshot via YouTube

They really "don't care" about how this was edited, do they?

Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber used the name of their song as inspiration for the "I Don't Care" music video, and have presented what is essentially a long blooper reel of the pair messing around with a green screen.

The visuals show how dedicated the two are to proving just how much they don't care, because I'm pretty sure they did the editing on this video as well. They dance around in costumes, as an ice cream cone, a panda, a teddy bear, and more. I have a clear vision of Bieber and Sheeran raiding a costume shop just an hour before setting up a tripod and going to town on this one. They also juxtapose their faces on top of a ballerina, a skydiver, and a corn inside the husk.

Blink, and you'll miss the funniest moment of all in the video: Ed Sheeran gets married to a cardboard cutout of a young Bieber with swoopy hair.

Watch the visuals for "I Don't Care" below.

Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber - I Don't Care [Official Video]

Photo by Jena Cumbo

Her new LP, 'Take Me to the Disco,' is her most personal work yet

Meg Myers isn't afraid to admit she's still figuring out who she wants to be. Originally from Tennessee, Myers moved to Los Angeles at the age of 19 to dedicate her life to her music career. In 2012, she released her first EP, Daughter in the Choir, which set the groundwork for the releases of Sorry (2015) and Take Me to the Disco (2018). Well-known for her poetic lyrics, crude vocals, and cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill," the honest singer-songwriter makes a point to tell me that self-acceptance is a process. After listening to her deeply personal LP, Take Me to the Disco, I know she's not wrong.

In the middle of producing her new forthcoming music, the star opens up to NYLON: "I've always been able to channel [more painful moments in life] into my art. Music always stood out to me as the easiest way to capture all the emotions at once in one piece. Music for me is wild and free." It's clear that it is this fearlessness to self-reflect that not only makes her body of work so authentic but also what motivates her to continue to grow.

Below, we speak with Myers about her new music, self-love, and her ever-evolving relationship with creativity.

The Great Eros Pants, Chae New York top, Schutz shoes, and Via Saviene rings. Photos by Jena Cumbo

How did moving to Los Angeles influence the artist you are today?
I feel more safe here. I've been tapping more into my truth and expressing myself on a deeper level here. Growing up, my family was very chaotic, and I never knew what was about to happen. I have four brothers and a sister, and we grew up basically as best friends, making fun out of the chaos and always creating some type of art from it. I've always been able to channel [more painful moments in life] into my art.

Music always stood out to me as the easiest way to capture all the emotions at once in one piece. Music for me is wild and free.

What are some of your biggest influences?
I think all the barbecue and shrimp and grits [in Tennessee] really adds a smokiness to my music.

My queerness gives me a lot of material to create with. It's allowing me to be more playful and not take every little thing so seriously.

Silk Laundry jumpsuit, Wild Vertigga T-shirt, and Nakamol earring.Photo by Jena Cumbo

Tell me about your new music. Why is it different than anything you've ever created?
This EP is going to have a lot of similar vibes to my last album, because I wrote it at the same time with the same producer about a lot of the same struggles and self-discoveries as my past music. I'll share more with you on my third album.

I'm such a fan of your cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill." Why did you gravitate toward that song to cover?
It's such a powerful song! Kate Bush is magic. It's almost like I've been being guided to cover that song for a long time. I don't know how to explain it in words, as they can feel so limiting, and this song is beyond words to me. It's just a deep inner knowing, and it makes my heart flutter.

Chae NewYork blazer; Saku top, The Great Eros bottoms, and Inch2 boots.Photo by Jena Cumbo

Are there any other songs you feel really connected to?
I would love to collaborate with Active Child. The songs "Hanging On" and "Johnny Belinda" are also otherworldly to me. I've been listening to this band called Walk the Moon a lot. I also love Phoebe Bridgers. I have a crush on her. I generally listen to instrumental music and classical. If you look up 432hz music, it's incredibly healing, and solfeggio frequencies have helped me with a lot.

What does self-love mean to you?
It's been a process for me. It's been quite the journey. Right now, I would say [self-love for me] is about accepting myself, and having love for all the experiences that have led me to where I am. It also means being grateful for growth. It's also been about learning to be in the present moment. It's been learning to trust myself and not listening to what others think I need to be doing. As I learn to do this, I also learn how to love others deeper. All this being said, it's a process.

Chae New York blazer and Saku top.Photo by Jena Cumbo

What advice do you have for someone struggling to find happiness right now?
Spend some time in solitude if you can, or with a really safe person who you feel you can express yourself freely with. Find someone who has no expectations of you and is supportive. In that present moment, ask yourself, What feels good to you? What do you feel like doing? Use your imagination. Daydream. Find what it is you enjoy doing. I promise you can unlock magic inside yourself. It just takes patience.

*This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.