Daphne Willis is hard to put a pin in musically...
Her songwriting style alternates between Sara Bareilles, Taylor Swift, and Nicki Minaj. Her genre of choice is "Every". She can do everything from folky, easy-listening, through to sensational Beatles covers, all the way to a full on, honest-to-goodness, pop. It feels like her only musical satisfaction is dissatisfaction. She doesn't seem to want to be a single pop star. She seems to want to be every single one. And unlike most people with that lofty ambition…you actually believe Daphne Willis could do it. For the best example of that you need look no further than her latest single, "Hustle." In it she breaks herself down and rebuilds herself all over again, this time as a fire-dropping R&B superstar.
After a brief soul intro, Willis breaks into an
Azalea-esque flow. She hits the hook hard. The world needs to know about the Hustle. The Rihanna-esque soul refrain crops back in to set the track on fire. We're back on the hook. What a hook it is. This hook, this hook, this hook and this hook forever and ever. After one go 'round it plays in your head on loop 'till the heat death of the universe. Gizzle spits in a verse, crushing every syllable in record time, and then leaving the arena having slain.
The hook and the refrain then duel it out for control of the rest of the song…which ends punishingly quickly. It's one of those rare releases that you wish was longer. The second you're fully in it, Willis pulls back and tells you you're done. You're left missing it like a phantom limb. It's 2.18 runtime comes and goes like Usain Bolt. Because that's the hustle. Do your thing, make your impact, then on to the next thing. Watch her go.
The track has an immediate power to it. You barely have to think about it to get addicted. You finish it, you need to hear it again. DJs all over the planet are going to have a blast remixing this in to extended cuts, dropping the hook to get a crowd going. It takes on a production sensibility that hits a kind of modern retro. Like feeling nostalgic for five years ago. Not to say that it feels out of date, but what Stranger Things does for the 1980s, this song does for 2013. Maybe it's some kind of statement that we're hitting the revival cycle this quickly in the 21st century. Whatever the case, it doesn't distract from this being one dope track.
A lot of people fake swagger in their music and onstage, you just can't say that about this girl. She is what her music says she is. She's worked with the likes of
Meghan Trainor, John Oates, and many more. She's taken her style through as many different genres and planes of existence as you can count grains of sand, and she shows no signs of stopping. Like the song says, they're saying her name all around the world. Daphne Willis. She's a badass, she's a mic killer, and above all she's a hustler. Don't you forget it.
Check Out Hustle Now!
Thomas Burns Scully is a Popdust contributor, and also an award-winning actor, playwright, and musician. In his spare time he writes and designs escape rooms. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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