By Kat Bein
If you like your hip-hop with a side of the dark and mysterious, or lyrics delivered with heavy poetic emotion, G.O.O.D. Music protege 070 Shake is the up-and-comer you need to hear. Last year, she stole the spotlight with her haunting wail on Kanye West's “Ghost Town.” “I put my hand on a stove to see if I still bleed,” she sings, and as she sat smoking joints backstage at Coachella 2019 just before her cohort Kid Cudi's set, she felt freer than ever.
As if to signal her confidence, she began her Sunday Coachella debut with “Ghost Town” and let her solo work carry the rest of the hour. There were fan favorites from her 2018 EP, Glitter, but there was a lot of new stuff from her forthcoming LP, Modus Vivendi, too. She played lead singles “Morrow” and “Nice to Have,” as well as quite a few unreleased tunes, including set closer “Under the Moon.” Shake swears the stuff to come will “blow your mind.”
From syncing her tunes to fight scenes in Kill Bill: Volume 2 to the roots of her LP's mysterious Latin name, here's all the light 070 Shake shed on her next chapter.
MTV News: Welcome to Coachella. How are you feeling about the performance?
070 Shake: Good. I'm performing with Mike Dean and stuff. I'm performing new songs off my album.
MTV News: You just dropped “Morrow” and “Good To Have.”
070 Shake: Yeah, I'm performing those and unreleased ones. It's going to be more of a vibe where they're just listening. That's really what I'm expecting. I'm not expecting no fucking ragers.
MTV News: Your music is a bit dark for it to be a full-on rager. I was listening to the new music, and my immediate take was “Morrow” is so cinematic and epic in the production.
070 Shake: Oh, it's nothing, bro. Those are just the songs for me to give a taste. The album is very cinematic. I've literally watched movies while recording it. Kill Bill was on the screen as I was recording the music. There's a song on it called “Terminal B,” and if you watch it from a certain part in Kill Bill, it matches. You know the fight where she takes out her eyeballs in [Volume 2]? It's that scene. Once she kicks in the door, from the beginning of the fight, you play the song. We literally went by the seconds. The squad, we're very into film, very heavily influenced by different directors. Especially this album. We're like, fuck the basic shit. There's some weird-ass shit in there. Very cinematic and theatrical. It's very fun.
MTV News: Well, you had such a huge breakout moment with that “Ghost Town” feature on Kanye's Ye album. You have a beautiful place set up where you can be really experimental out the gate because you caught people off guard.
070 Shake: Exactly. I already came out weird, so keep it weird.
MTV News: What was it like in the weeks and months following that media press storm?
070 Shake: I went to work. On “Ghost Town,” I reached a level in myself that I knew I had, but I just didn't really go there. I think Kanye was a heavy influence for me. When I was writing out there in Wyoming, it was like, oh shit, I've got to write on a whole different level. I'm writing for Kanye West. Doing that, I took myself to a level. I started thinking like “Damn, let me write on this level for myself.” That's what this album sounds like, putting together my sound. I feel like everything I did before this, I was trying to find the sound, but now, I really put it together. It's worth the wait.
MTV News: What's the story behind “Morrow” and “Nice to Have?”
070 Shake: “Morrow” is really just realizing that I could just be gone tomorrow. Literally. I don't know if I'll be here tomorrow, so when I'm gone, listen to this. Take my words as a tool to how you should live your daily life. Live it like it's your last one. Do the things that you're afraid to do. This place is already weird to begin with. What are you scared of? We're already here.
MTV News: “Nice to Have,” it's dark, but it's almost clubby.
070 Shake: That's funny, because my friend told me she could twerk to it. I was like, how? It's the drums. [Lyrically] it's more of appreciating people and having people in the worst times and the best times.
MTV News: The name of the album, Modus Vivendi, is Latin for a “practical compromise.”
070 Shake: It's an agreement allowing conflicting parties to coexist peacefully. That to me is what my music represents. I can speak to someone that just listens to hip-hop and someone that just listens to pop. That's what Modus Vivendi is. And I think that's, further than music, what the whole world needs: to put their own opinions aside, their beliefs and say OK, I can believe this, but it doesn't mean that I can't bond with you or understand you.
MTV News: I feel that so much. When did we stop being able to hear other people's opinions? The answer is not to block yourself from different feelings.
070 Shake: And appreciate everybody's story. You don't read books or watch movies and want it to pertain to your life. You watch movies and it's something completely different from your life, but you accept it. That's what everybody's opinions and mindsets are. They're all different movies and stories.
MTV News: I appreciate that you use your voice on social media to speak about ecological sustainability.
070 Shake: The Earth is us. We are one thing. Just like we need water, the Earth needs water. A lot of the things we need is also relatable with the Earth. I just feel like it's important. We're hitting a point where it's almost no turning back. The more people that speak out about it, the better. Jaden Smith, I love what he's doing [in Flint, Michigan]. A lot of times when I use social media, I try to only use it for positive stuff and things people really need to see. I love what Jaden is doing with water because water is a necessity. We need clean water and it should not be denied to anybody.
MTV News: Is there anything else you want to speak on while we have you?
070 Shake: I never thought of music as my end goal. Through each check point in my life and career, I have to remind myself of that. There's a bigger picture. This is literally just a stepping stool that I'm using to do bigger things. The more important thing in life is actually changing something, and that's the only way you're going to get remembered. Moments pass; this Coachella shit, this interview is going to pass. The only thing that matters is the imprint that I leave on you, on this festival. It's that feeling, those words that stick with you. You have to make sure you leave that feeling for the Earth, for people. Music is gonna pass, too. It goes through trends. The music that lasts forever has that feeling.