On his last record, Greatest Hits, Jay Douglas, aka NEWMONEY, both confronted and celebrated his identity as a young, queer, black rapper over eight tracks that managed to sound catchy, grimy, and oddball — sometimes at the same time. And while there’s still much to be revealed about the rapper’s upcoming follow-up full length, Sequin Cowboy, lead single “Prom Queen” finds itself swimming in similar contextual waters. “Thematically, the song uses high school tropes to discuss issues of sexuality, gender, being ‘out,’ and the influence of these things within romantic relationships,” Douglas explains via email.
But if there is anything NEWMONEY has shown listeners, it’s a willingness to slide and shift in different directions. So while issues of identity remain at the core of Douglas’ murky flow, the backdrop offers new curves and contours for those thoughts and words to lean against. Gone are the playful trap-pop beats that dominated much of Greatest Hits’ aesthetic landscape, replaced by an air, synth-heavy pop sound courtesy of producer Ezra of FLWR Boyz, who also lends a bit of melodic vocals to help close out the track. The result is a shimmering, hypnotic cut that’s primed for summer.
According to Douglas, the video, directed by Blair LeBlanc, draws inspiration from a variety of sources, particularly the landmark 1928 silent French film, The Passion of Joan of Arc. Shot in stark yet crisp black and white, LeBlanc’s stoic vision combines Biblical overtones with a kind of surrealist flair, lending “Prom Queen” an unexpected gravitas that’s uniquely compelling. Check it out above.
Sequin Cowboy is out June 30.
NEWMONEY will celebrate the release of Sequin Cowboy on Fri., June 30 at Rowdy Dowdy. Also performing will be Orchid Mantis, Taylor Alxndr, FLWR Boyz, and funeralmixtape. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $5. All ages.