Southern bred, Boston-based singer/songwriter/rapper/producer/multi-hyphenate Sashathem has been gearing up for their debut album Glass House with a steady stream of singles that combine a number of genres. Their most recent single “Hellraiser” is easily their best work to date, a non-binary pop-rap anthem. Sashathem told No More Dysphoria that “Hellraiser” was written in the midst of Sashathem coming out as non-binary to close friends. They felt they needed an affirmation that articulated what they wanted to say to anyone who cared to hear them, and channeled that energy into this electric track.
Given the hardcore name of the song “Hellraiser” is almost radically calm, carried by a beautiful jazzy beat with light keyboard touches and a conga like bounce. Sashathem raps about how they raise hell by refusing to conform to anyone’s expectations of who they are, not conforming to societies expectations and certainly not to yours. To that end it’s a reminder of how radical an act being honest with your gender and sexuality can be in an often not accepting world. On the earworm of a chorus Sashathem sings through a number of modulations that seem to be making their voice deeper and higher simultaneously, singing, “I don’t wanna change myself for you, I just wanna wear my hoops looking cute like a baddie would do. Don’t wanna please nobody else but myself you can tell I’m a hellraiser, yea baby.” The track comes fit with an equally compelling music video where Sashathem takes a nice peaceful bath, hits the beach in the aforementioned hoops like a baddie would do, seeks the guidance of an Ouija Board, and quite literally attempts to raise some hell while having a dandy time throughout, not a care in the world. The video left me feeling warm and hopeful the same way I felt the first time I saw Mac Miller’s Senior Skip Day video, and the rapping throughout reminds me of the pop-rap hits of blog era rappers like Kitty Pryde, Hoodie Allen, and Shwayze. Sashathem has an ear for a funky beat and knows exactly what to do with it to make it pop.
In that same interview with No More Dysphoria Sashathem talked about how their work before coming out as nonbinary/trans had an undertone of self-loathing and shame, where their new music was unabashedly honest and mostly unafraid. To that end “Hellraiser” is bold, confident, and joyous celebration of ones self, ready with the promise to raise hell against anyone who dares stand in their way. It’s a fun, funky jam of a track that I could see becoming a non-binary anthem.