In the final scene of The FADER's Grimes cover story, Claire Boucher is hanging out at "Go" collaborator Blood Diamonds' Los Angeles studio, video-chatting with a mysterious, Taipei-based collaborator scheduled to appear on her long-awaited fourth record. The person at the other end of the line is Aristophanes 貍貓, a Taiwanese MC Boucher stumbled upon on SoundCloud and recruited to spit on an album track called "SCREAM."
From what we know about Aristophanes 貍貓 so far, she teaches creative writing to kids by day and raps in mandarin over lurching, glitchy beats by night. Sometimes, she goes by the nickname Pan, and she's been known to pepper her sexy, sinister-sounding verses with the odd Gabriel Garcia Marquez reference or capitalist critique. Over Skype, Boucher asks Aristophanes what it's like being a female rapper on her city's local hip-hop circuit, and the artists bond over the difficulties of working in a male-dominated industry. “I think being female is sometimes so weird,” Aristophanes replies. “Sometimes at my gigs, the male MCs and producers will say, ‘That’s not rap; that’s not hip-hop.’ Maybe because they’re judging my skill. I can’t feel very comfortable hanging out with them, so I just stay in my home and spend more time on music.”
Dip into Aristophanes 貍貓's SoundCloud, though, and you'll be glad that she's not paying the haters any mind. Her flow sounds like nothing else we've ever heard, flitting quickly and unpredictably between a high-pitched sing-song, a conspiratorial whisper, and a full-bodied groan; the beats she chooses are invariably dark, ominous, and full of bursts of industrial noise. Granted, we don't know exactly what she's rapping about, but she definitely seems to KNOW what she's saying. Below, five Aristophanes tracks that are blowing our mind.