Though she may not have won the crown, Shea Couleé is determined to make a name for herself, and she is coming out of the gate strong releasing three surprise music videos.
Clearly taking note of one of her music inspirations, Beyoncé, she hasn’t let the simple fact of not winning Drag Race get her down – instead she is taking the exposure, and continuing her reign as a fierce queen outside of the show as she kickstarts her career.
These three surprise tracks make up Couleé’s debut EP, Couleé-D, a prelude to her upcoming album for which she recorded 11 total tracks.
A very low-key track, her vocals are decent for a drag queen, and formed well with this slower, slightly sweetened track. The lyrics were decent, but the production was great with a fresh beats. She’s clearly demonstrating that her musical direction is not humorous like many of the queens who have come before her – she wants to be that bitch.
The visuals are sickening, mostly featuring in black and white that have us feeling some major Bey teas. She demonstrates her noted fashion sensibility displaying some unconventional, but spellbinding looks. She has a Flashdance-type dance break that bops, our only criticism is that we did not need the pops of colour used intermittently.
Couleé: “‘Ride’ is the really laid back band-jam homegirl jam that she would listen to while smoking a blunt with your friends—just like chilling at a cookout.”
This track capitalises on what Shea does best, a hip-hop tinged rap full of self-confidence with a side of bragging. She brings it again with another cool sonic production, and fun Azaelia Banks vibes (prior to her messiness). Popular DJ The Vixen, and the lesser known trans beauty queen Lila Star each deliver with their own rap choruses, making a fierce squad.
The video, again shot in black and white, shows off once more Couleé’s unique fashion choices, – the glasses used by all three stars are next level glam. A simple setting making the most of lighting and angles, they chew up every piece of screen time in a dope visual.
Couleé: “‘Cocky’ actually came about because [during Drag Race], there was a contestant that had been kinda running her mouth in the streets about me and calling me ‘Cocky’ after her exit. I’ve always prided myself on being able to maintain a sense of humility and perspective about my abilities and what it is that I can do as an artist and performer. So I was really like, ‘Oh yeah girl?'”
A perfect summer jam, the upbeat pop banger is also subdued in Shea’s now apparent laid back style. The production is cute, and fun and while the vocals and lyrics aren’t perfect, the overall aesthetic is enjoyable, and crafted to such a level that you’ll want to add to your current playlist.
After two black and white entries this cut makes full use of colour, dazzling with bright neons and pastels, in a rich visual treat that pleases the eye. Reminiscent of Bey’s “Blow” she steps it up a notch with some very interesting directorial choices that displays her unique POV.
Couleé: “‘Feeling So’ was actually one of the first songs I wrote when I got back from the show and there was one night I had been out at Queen, this party on Sundays at Smartbar in Chicago, and I was getting ready to go to this after hours and the song, ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World,’ by Tears for Fear came on the radio. I was like, ‘Oh my god, I forgot about this song, it’s so good.’ I was jamming out with my friend Jacob Bjorge, who co-wrote and produced it, and we were sitting down and he started playing the chorus. I just started writing the song and [it’s] really inspired by that moment… by an amazing, drug-fueled night out on the town with that feeling that just keeps getting better and better. It’s careless and fun and you’re so caught up in the moment, you don’t even have the words to describe how good you’re feeling. You’re just feeling so…”
Our Verdict: Shea Couleé has always been a cool queen in terms of her fashion, style, references, and performances – and she displays that in every sense throughout these three album cuts. She didn’t come to play, she came to slay – and slay she did – her music and visuals are good enough to hit the mainstream and is not something to dismiss as another money grabbing ploy. She’s a true visionary, and we can’t wait for the feature length album!