Tonight: Chilean Rapper Ana Tijoux at Liv
Ana Tijoux’s rapping style demands attention even if you can’t understand her languages of choice, Spanish and French. Tijoux, who makes her D.C. debut tonight at Liv, has a French mother and a Chilean father (who lived in political exile in France during the time Augustus Augusto Pinochet was ruling Chile). Flowing professionally since the late ‘90s, Tijoux utilizes a New York golden-era approach on her U.S. solo debut 1977—busy, word-filled stanzas with subtle hooks over scratched and sampled jazzy beats and horns. She even dons an old-school tracksuit in a video from her last album. Tijoux, who started with the group Makiza, has been working solo or in collaborations since 2006. Her biggest success in the Spanish-speaking world was a 2006 cut, “Eres Para Mi,” with Mexican pop-rocker Julieta Venegas on the latter’s Limon y Sal release.
The title track of Tijoux's new record refers to the year of her birth, and on it she spits forcefully over a sampled soundtrack of strings and brass. Tijoux is not a rapper in the wacky Nicki Minaj vein, employing affected tones and inflections; that doesn't make her a dull, overly studious backpacker, either (even though she has a song called “Crisis de un MC”). On jazzy, late-night R&B cuts like “Problema de 2” and “Mar Adentro,” her delivery and the music combine to tell nuanced relationship narratives. The instrumental approach on 1977 only varies from old-school boom-bap on the roots-reggae "Avaricia." While the album's musical palette may not be broad or state-of-the-art, Tijoux's delivery consistently conveys a head-nodding, timeless Gang Starr feel that's more than just retro or academic.
Ana Tijoux performs with DTMD and Rebel Diaz Thursday July 15 at 8p.m. at Liv Nightclub, 11th and U streets NW. $12-$18.