How will we remember SOPHIE’s musical legacy? For most music critics, myself included, the innovative producer’s magnum opus was 2018’s full–length OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN–INSIDES. That record deconstructed notions of gender, kink, selfhood, and what pop music could be while reshaping SOPHIE’s established sonic terrain. But we shouldn’t dwell exclusively on the transcendent vulnerability of songs like “It’s Okay to Cry” or “Is It Cold in the Water?” That denies the communal euphoria of hyperactive, hard–hitting pop and dance music that always existed at the center of SOPHIE’s ethos. Enter Miami bass duo Basside and their new FUCK IT UP EP, posthumously produced by SOPHIE and a reminder of how much fun the producer could have in the studio.
In the wake of SOPHIE’s passing, the producer’s unreleased tracks have become musical precious metals: a non–renewable resource. So it’s a miracle for listeners to have six of these beats newly released on streaming at all, even if they’re more or less what we already knew SOPHIE was capable of. Album calling card “NYC2MIA (SOPHIE Remix)” takes the original song’s rallying cry of “New York to Miami / no bras, no panties” and loops it. Now, it’s SOPHIE’s signature sounds that take the spotlight: industrial clangs, bubblegum bass, and plenty of handclaps. This approach to hip–hop and trap production will sound familiar to fans of bangers like “Yeah Right” and “SAMO” on Vince Staples’ Big Fish Theory.
As for Basside, Que Linda and Caro Loka finally answer the question: what would it sound like if Abbi and Ilana from Broad City formed a rap group? They’re not great rappers and even worse singers but, as with artists like Tommy Genesis, they make up for it with sheer charisma. Basside take a page out of the Tommy playbook by letting the EP’s first half flow uninterrupted. Those tracks feel close to their homes in SOPHIE’s live sets. The second song “ME & MY BOO (BEST FRIEND 2)” has a more laid–back rhythm that lets Linda and Loka flex their braggadocio: “I smoke ganja like I'm rasta / I eat your pussy like cheap pasta / I'm your boo though / Yeah, I'm down to pay your bills / Yeah, I'm down to smoke and chill.”
This is the Basside credo, and it carries through the rest of their raps. The title track’s hook is “I'ma go fuck up your snaps / I'ma get high and get snacks / And then I'ma go fuck up your snatch / Fuck it up, fuck it up / I’ma get high and go fuck it up.” These are the exact kinds of sticky, repetitive hooks that were a staple of SOPHIE’s PRODUCT era. But while a lyric like “I can make you feel better” in “BIPP” comes off as more winking euphemism, Basside know exactly what they want and have no intention of beating around the bush. The laundry list of commands on “FUCK IT UP” sounds like “WAP” stripped of any clever wordplay; all that’s left is gleeful horniness.
Queer identity has always been central to SOPHIE’s creative output, and the hedonism displayed on FUCK IT UP is no exception. For one, Linda and Loka rap from different ends of the sexuality spectrum, one issuing commands to her man and the other extolling sapphic sex. Together, their verses add up to an embrace of all attraction. Linda and Loka also leave plenty of room for sexual experimentation. “GIRL” has a sweeter, more romantic tone to celebrate women loving women and pop–forward production to match. It also doubles as a celebration of openness and fluidity: “I don't usually like girls but I've been with a few / I know what I'm doing, I've done this before.”
Unfortunately, the latter half of songs lacks momentum. “SWIPE” is almost a minute longer than any other track on the EP, meaning it drags, even if it contains some of Basside’s funniest couplets (“I’m crying and wondering why I’m alone / But if you try to call I won’t pick up the phone”). And even though there’s something addictive about SOPHIE’s production, it can be tiring when there’s so little variation in the sonic palette. When the beats finally pick up the pace, on “CRAZY EXPENSIVE,” Basside’s weaker flows and lackluster bars can’t quite keep up.
FUCK IT UP is by no means perfect, but it shouldn’t be approached from a lens of critique and intellectualization. These are big tent party anthems that should be heard booming out of speaker towers in the clubs. They’re not designed to be picked apart. SOPHIE’s music, particularly on OIL, was ripe for analysis about what it meant for the artist and what it meant for pop music. But a song like “Immaterial” isn’t important to so many queer people because it’s a thoughtful deconstruction of gender binaries. It’s impactful because it makes you want to dance and sing along. FUCK IT UP reminds us that SOPHIE’s world was—and continues to be—a space for unadulterated fun.