The Radar: Silky Robes by Queen Yue

Iona Fazer unveils her new drill persona, and it’s unlike anything we’ve heard before.

By Shaun Ponsonby
Fri 29 May, 2020

Through both solo work and as part of supergroup La Femme, Iona Fazer has already proven herself as one of the sharpest minds around. But with her new identity, Queen Yue, she has taken this to a whole new level.

As you may have deduced from her name, Queen Yue is steeped in Chinese culture, specifically exploring characters under the reign of the sovereign Chinese Empress Wu Zetian, who reigned between 690-705AD.

The added significance of her allegiance with Wu Zetian lies with the resounding ideology she ushered upon the population of China; that women are rightly equal to men.  This is message mirrored by her entrance into the male dominated drill scene, something that her debut single, Silky Robes, does with class and intelligence.

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Silky Robes – an allusion to the Chinese Belt and Road initiative – is a fascinating piece that meshes drill, traditional Chinese music and a very scouse delivery to create an utterly unique sound. There is a foreboding quality to the music, as our Queen vocalises the daily lives of the silk merchants working on the roads.

Aside from the feminist allusions in the project, the very scouse delivery in some of Yue’s bars bring to mind the unity of class struggle. The spiritual parallels between the roads of China to the streets of a working class English city. Though we may not be literally be struggling with items that are “way too heavy for my mule”, it isn’t difficult to view it as a metaphor for our own lives; that occasionally overwhelming feeling of suffocation in the graft of everyday life.

Perhaps this is the nature of the foreboding sound the track conjures. As nice as it is to think we’re not alone, there is always a stifling feeling attached to the working classes of any culture.

Silky Robes is out now.