Lexie Liu Is The Chinese Rap Warrior Who’s Taking Her Battle Global


"Music isn't about boundaries or where someone comes from. It's all about the vibe and the feeling"

Lexie Liu is the self-proclaimed Yung Mulan. She references the legendary sixth-century figure on her track of the same name, a fiercely feminist hip-hop banger that interpolates 1966's "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," and which finds Liu chanting her battle cry: "Like Mulan going to war, war, war, war/ For my people I do more, more, more, more." It's no coincidence the artist feels a strong bond with the widely beloved East Asian heroine: Liu is a warrior in her own right, blazing a powerful trail as a young female rapper determined to conquer an industry largely dominated and controlled by men.

"[Mulan] has a strong influence over my work. The determination she had to overcome the difficulties and challenges in her story and just go for what she wanted inspires me a lot," Liu explains, adding that "for women rappers in China, there aren't as many opportunities as there are for men. The proportion is way off."

Born and raised in Changsha, the capital of Central China's Hunan province, the 20-year-old Chinese pop-R&B star had a musical upbringing that consisted of dance and piano lessons starting as early as age 4. Liu says she started to listen to popular English-language songs from artists like Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson in elementary school, her taste expanding to old school hip-hop and R&B as she got older. In 2015, she participated in Korean reality competition K-Pop Star 5, where she became a finalist while simultaneously preparing for university. Though she says at first she "didn't think she'd be able to become a serious musician for a living," during a college semester abroad in the U.S. she realized that it was something she "definitely wanted in her life."

"My time abroad gave me a taste of the life experiences of other people, other cultures. I got to see the differences between Asia and the Western world. It broadened my horizons, and I started to get deeper into the music that people were listening to in different places. I started to think about how to incorporate them in my own music, mixing my favorite things to make a brand-new sound—something people had never seen or heard before."


Liu's music career began to accelerate in 2017. She had recently turned 18 when her debut single, a snappy trap thumper called "Coco Made Me Do It," went viral. Weeks later, she made history as the youngest Chinese artist to perform at SXSW. In 2018, she participated on The Rap of China, taking fourth place with her original song, "Mulan." The same year, she signed with 88rising in the U.S., the hybrid management agency, music label, and entertainment media company famous for fostering and boosting Asian talent, something she hopes will allow her to extend her reach far beyond her native China. "I heard of the label a long time ago, and when we finally met, we started sharing ideas about crossing over cultures and bringing people closer together by sharing music and feelings. That's what I've always wanted to do, so I'm happy making music with them. I can express exactly what I want to. The whole crossover thing is very important to me; we're on the same page with that."

Last summer, Liu dropped her first international release through 88rising, a glossy R&B jam called "Like a Mercedes." Released alongside a neon-drenched, cyberpunk music video, the language barrier-busting track featured Liu switching between English and Mandarin, perfectly capturing the musician's desire to "have fun with language and play with flow" when she's rapping. Two more singles, "NADA" and "Sleep Away," followed suit, both which found the artist fusing Mandopop with Western popular music. "I really want listeners to not even notice [what language I'm singing in] until after one or two bars," she shares. "Music isn't about boundaries or where someone comes from. It's all about the vibe and the feeling."

Today, Liu releases her debut international EP 2030, a futuristic collection of autobiographical pop, electronica, R&B, and hip-hop. Standouts from the genre-jumping, cross-cultural project include "Love and Run," a hypnotic, synth-powered dance bop; "Hat Trick," a woozy, Great Gatsby-inspired late-night downtempo about a forbidden love; and the atmospheric "Bygone," a deeply personal track that Liu describes as a "documentary song about my decision to pursue a career as a musician."

As Liu continues her global crossover, she hopes that—much like the mythic heroine who inspires her so much—she'll be able to galvanize other young women to charge ahead with their dreams, stereotypes, expectations and labels be damned. "I think more and more girls are feeling the confidence to get up on stage—to say what they have to say with attitude. We're done with being told what to do, what to wear, how to behave. People still may have pretty strict standards [when it comes to women], but we're just trying to break out of the chains. We're creating a new wave so people will finally be able to see and hear us."

Photo by Imani Givertz

Premiering today via NYLON

Small Talks, aka Cayley Spivey, has come a long way since starting a band, then becoming the entire band herself and forging her own fan base from the ground up. On her recent album A Conversation Between Us, she began to unpack any lingering baggage with one particular song: "Teeth." Today, she premieres the accompanying music video exclusively via NYLON.

"'Teeth' is about my personal battle with letting go of the past," Spivey tells NYLON, admitting that it's easily her favorite song off of A Conversation Between Us.

Watch the video for "Teeth" below.

Small Talks - Teeth (Official Music Video) - YouTube

Photos by Joe Maher/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME

Must have been pretty awkward

Taylor Swift and Sophie Turner were guests on the U.K.'s The Graham Norton Show together, which must have been awkward for Turner's husband, Joe Jonas, seeing as he also happens to be Swift's ex. I wonder if his name came up?

The interview doesn't come out until Friday night, but promotional photos show the two sharing a couch. Swift is making an appearance to perform her new single, "ME!" while Turner is promoting her new film, X- Men: Dark Phoenix. But it seems necessary for the two to be asked about Jonas.

Swift was just on the Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this month, where she brought up the fact that she felt bad for putting Jonas "on blast" on DeGeneres' show back in 2008 by telling the audience that he broke up with her in a record-setting short phone call. But, according to Swift, she and Jonas are chill now, since it happened pretty long ago, which means she's probably already hung out with Turner and maybe even gossiped about him with her.

We can only hope that they get the chance to spill some tea on television.

Screenshot via YouTube, Photo Courtesy of HBO

"That's! His! Auntie!"

Leslie Jones has rewatched the Game of Thrones finale with a beer in hand, Seth Meyers at her side, and a full camera crew ready to take in all her glorious reactions. Spoilers ahead, but, if you haven't watched last week's episode already, that's kind of on you at this point.

When Jon Snow started to make out with Daenerys, also known as his aunt, only to stab her through the chest moments later, it was emotional whiplash for everyone watching. And, Jones' reactions—both from her first and second viewing—sum it all perfectly.

"That's! His! Auntie! [gagging noises]," Jones says before making an aside about calling the police if her uncle ever tried to do the same. But then the knife goes in, and Jones screams. "Did you see that?!" Jones asks, "Yeah bitch, that's a knife in you." Meyers points out the funniest part of all: "Why are you so upset about someone kissing their aunt but totally fine with someone killing their aunt?" Jones replies, "Because that bitch needed to go," and, well, same.

Other highlights from the comedians' rewatch include comparing Dany's victory speech to a bad improv gig, predicting that their dogs would have less of a reaction to their deaths than Drogon did to his mother's, and more.

Watch all of Jones' reactions from this Late Night clip below.

Game of Jones: Leslie Jones and Seth Watch Game of Thrones' Series Finale

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These lyrics are a lot

Robbie Tripp, aka Curvy Wife Guy, is back with a music video, titled "Chubby Sexy," starring his wife and a trio of models. In it, Tripp raps about his bold choice to find women with an average body size attractive.

The video begins with a series of statements laid over some pool water: "Curves are the new high fashion," "Chubby is the new sexy," "We Out Here." Tripp posits that these queens deserve an anthem, which they do. What they do not deserve is this Cursed Song. As he lists all the names he knows to call them by (thick, thicc, and BBW), one model (who I really, really hope was paid well) squirts some lotion down her cleavage, and Tripp begins dancing.

"My girl chubby sexy/ Call her bonita gordita," Tripp states in his chorus, before going on to compare "big booty meat" to the peach emoji. Another thing he mentions is that his wife can't find a belt that fits her waist, and that's why he calls her James and the Giant Peach. He then tries to dab. Here are some of the other Cursed highlights from his, uh, verses:

Got those Khaleesi curves/ Knows how to dragon slay
She like a dude that's woke/ We like a girl that's weighty
Some say a chubby girl that's risky/ But they ain't met a curvy girl that's frisky
Imma dunk that donk like I'm Andrew Wiggins.
Thick like an Amazon/ Built like Big Ben.

Tripp says one thing in the video that I couldn't agree more with: "She don't need a man." No, she does not. Please run. If you must, watch the entire video, below. Or send it to your nemesis!

Robbie Tripp - Chubby Sexy (Official Music Video)

Photo by Emma McIntyre / Getty Images.

See the promo here

It was bound to happen. The Kadashians and Jenners have committed themselves to letting the cameras roll on their lives, for better or for worse. So if you thought that the Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson cheating scandal was off limits, you thought wrong. The trailer for Sunday's episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians was just released, and it involves the famous family working through the fallout of what happened when Woods went to a party at Thompson's house.

The teaser includes the infamous clip of Khloé Kardashian screaming "LIAAAARRRRRR." It's still not explicitly clear who prompted that strong response. She could be responding to Thompson, who clearly isn't always honest. Or she could be reacting to Woods account of the events on Red Table Talk. But the most revealing moment comes when we see Kylie Jenner—who was Woods' best friend before all of this happened—react for the first time.

In a heart-to-heart conversation, momager Kris Jenner says, "For you and Jordyn, it's like a divorce." Kylie only offers this in response: "She fucked up." Based on Woods' version of events—which I'm inclined to believeThompson is the one who fucked up. Still, I'm hoping for some kind of reconciliation between the two longtime friends. Perhaps we'll have to wait until next season for that.

Check out the promo video below.