One to watch: Cookiee Kawaii

Blending Jersey club music, Chicago footwork and silky slow jams, the TikTok star is much more than one viral hit

Before it became an unexpected target of the Trump administration, TikTok was best known for catapulting songs like Cookiee Kawaii’s song Vibe (If I Back It Up) into virality, with more than 100m streams. The New Jersey singer’s tune feels tailor-made for the app: it stands at only 84 seconds, features whip-cracking sound effects, and the looped vocal snippets lend themselves to lip-syncing. But Cookiee’s songs are more than catchy internet ringtones; they are giving life to Jersey’s club scene – perhaps that’s why the rapper Tyga reached out to her to collaborate on a remix of the song.

Cookiee’s parents were both DJs, and she grew up listening to house music. She also performed in choirs while attending Catholic school. She has been recording music for more than 10 years and her latest EP Club Soda Vol 2, boasting raunchy lyrics, choppy vocals and speedy tempos, is inspired by the Baltimore club genre. It also has the energy of Chicago’s footwork (with its snares, drum kicks, and samples) and the silkiness of R&B slow jams.

Cookiee’s music feels fluorescent, high-energy and made for partying. On Quarantine and Chill, she complains of being stuck in the house: “I just want to go outside.” Don’t we all. Singing “watch me throw it” without an audience firing you up feels strange, but, until further notice, dancing to this buoyant EP in the mirror will have to do.

Club Soda Vol 2 is out now

Watch the video for Vibe (If I Back It Up) by Cookiee Kawaii.


Kadish Morris

The GuardianTramp

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