One of the most powerful tools that music has in its arsenal is the ability to exchange ideas even on just a sonic level, sometimes without being strictly beholden to the lyrical content. Case in point, “Lucha” the single from Akacats and Catana. I’m not a native Spanish speaker, in fact, I nearly flunked that class because overcoming language barriers for speaking at least, can be a little difficult for me.
I actually had the help of reaching out to a friend for some help in translating the song, just so I didn’t grossly misrepresent it. My friend said while some of the accents are on the thick side, and some of the understated yet exaggerated delivery made some words difficult to translate, but the energy and message of struggle (the title’s English translation for those unaware) come through very clear. With many people of the millennial generation and Gen Z feeling copious amounts of stress and constant comparative statements to past generations, it’s easy to throw up a wall and become very distrustful of others and the ongoing struggle. Everyone has it rough, yes, but when you’re young it feels amplified, and with so many voices louder than ever, many people just want the catharsis of knowing they’re being understood and validated. Even without completely knowing what the song was about save for some teases in the press material, the feeling of passion and empathy just oozes out of the pores on this single. AKACATS is just a natural with such an enigmatic and almost wavy vocal performance.
It very much has a “cool girl” vibe to it, but without it ever coming across as pandering or that it feels like an “act” in the pejorative sense. Even when this post-Ariana Grande liquidized mush of delivery, you know exactly what mood she’s trying to convey. It’s a relaxed element, like coming over to a friend’s place and just talking out your issues. On the outset, it might not seem intimate, but as the performance and the song continue you begin to really feel at home with AKACATS. AKACATS has been very vocal that prior to her musical persona, she had no background in rap or even song structure, but I can very decidedly say she’s a gifted natural. Sometimes even when you can’t speak the language, a performance so strong has the ability to transcend that and in just under a minute, you gain a clear understanding of who AKACATS is, and just how entrancing her delivery is. Some might be put off because it doesn’t feature any English spoken lyrics, but as someone who ingests tons of world music, that hardly detracts from its power as both a fantastic thesis point for an exciting growing artist and as a ballad for plenty of youth looking for more understanding in the world right now.
AKACATS has the potential to be on the level of Kali Uchis and I’m more than certain she’ll reach that level without being arbitrability compared to simply being a woman of color with killer hip-hop aesthetic.
by Bethany Page