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Zhalarina, 'Lala'

This #NowPlaying discovery comes to us from this year's Tiny Desk Contest. You can see Zhalarina on the latest installment of the Tiny Desk Contest Top Shelf livestreaming series with guest host John Morrison of WXPN.

Zhalarina doesn't need extravagant production to make a colossal impact. On "Lala," the emerging Florida rapper chronicles family ties tested by addiction as her fist bangs on a table, providing the song's lone beat. "And ain't nobody breathing bigger than my daddy dragon / imagine thinking it's magic to disappear in a casket," she raps in her Tiny Desk contest entry. While it's clear Zhalarina has done extensive homework to grow her catalogue — for example, her 2020 track "Good Yawning" is a tribute to various female trailblazers in hip-hop like Queen Latifah, Tierra Whack, Nicki Minaj and CHIKA — on "Lala" she makes a bold statement with a one-of-a-kind sound, proving she's a creative to watch.

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Elle Mannion