Earlier this week, I went to check out Bondfire, a monthly New York underground hip-hop showcase created and hosted by always entertaining TastyKeish and Bronx Uber Villian. Though the crowd was overwhelmingly male, there were some fierce women in the building, a couple of ladies were doing live painting, and some were blessing the audience. Best of all, two sisters known as Misnomer(S) rocked the mic unofficially releasing their first album, “American I(s).”
Misnomer(S) consists of two Korean-American sisters from Buffalo, NY, known on stage as Knewdles and Sos (yes, pronounced noodles and sauce). What sets them apart is not the “novelty” of being Asian female hip-hop artists but how they combine lyrics and instrumentation: Knewdles is an emcee and Sos is a violinist.
Their first full-length album, officially released yesterday, has been in the works for many years and is 17 tracks strong. Misnomer(S) produced and co-wrote the entire album themselves sans one track. Throughout “American I(s)” cover a wide variety of topics from losing innocence to getting romance right to combating Asian stereotypes.
My favorite song (which is FIRE to see live!) is “For What It’s Worth,” addressing the ignorant catcalls women face, particularly Asian women who are often fetishized as “china dolls” or “geisha girls.” They raise the issue of misplaced assumptions that lump all Asian women in one category without accounting for ethnicity and culture, and the idea that they are submissive tools for sexual pleasure. More broadly, they express the exasperation of being questioned about their racial background because of their skin and eyes and how many people won’t accept them as Americans first.
“Would you like to see my certificate of birth/for what it’s worth?…Yeah I speak English/I should having grown up in Buffalo…You’ll just ask and ask ’til my exasperation surpasses my pride, so I reply Korea just to satisfy your proding eyes…”
Definitely check out their album and support these talented ladies emerging in the Hip-Hop scene. If you’re in NYC, you can see them performing live around the city and if not, here’s a little taste of Sos doing her thing on the strings.