When it comes to immaculate — and genuinely surprising — musical rollouts, masked New York rapper Leikeli47‘s latest video is already in the early running for one of the year’s best. “Tic Boom,” from her November album Acrylic, doesn’t only contain a message in its sharply curated imagery, but even in its imaginatively original debut last night on Freeform’s college-centric Black-ish spinoff, Grown-ish.
Last night’s Grown-ish episode, the fourth of the second season, centered around an on-campus debate about “genius” and what it means to be one. As the show’s cast organized a watch party around their smartphones and computers to watch a livestream of nighttime beach scenery for the impending debut of a mystery artist’s “genius” midnight music video (a clear reference to similar strategies employed by Frank Ocean and Kanye West), they lobbied for various artists’ qualifications to fit the bill.
While some of the characters argued in favor of Drake, resident stoner artist Luca decried The Boy’s fit for the term, denouncing him as a populist wannabe. Luca offers up Young Thug and Chief Keef as his examples, while secret campus drug kingpin Vivek threw out Justin Bieber’s cultural contribution, to general derision from his friends. Meanwhile, show lead Zoey (the show’s transplant from its parent show) wondered why all the names on their Big Board had to be men, leading to a debate about the merits of Beyonce and the relative sexism that generally gets applied to the use of the term “genius.”
In the end, the show uses the debate to teach Zoey a lesson about pursuing her passion — at the expense of missing the drop and finding out who the mystery artist is. It turns out, it was Leikeli47 and “Tic Boom,” which resolved the show’s mystery and the meta mystery at the same time, while also answering Zoey’s request that the “genius” turn out to be a woman.
Leikeli’s profile has steadily risen over the past year in the wake of her warmly received debut Wash & Set in 2017 along with bumping singles like “Miss Me,” “2nd Fiddle,” and “Girl Blunt,” which has featured prominently on multiple television shows lately. With momentum swinging in her favor and a standout placement like this, it’s only a matter of time until her masked face is everywhere in 2019.
Acrylic is out now via Hardcover/RCA Records. Grown-ish airs Wednesdays at 8pm on Freeform.