EARMILK's #WomenCrushWednesday is back with its second edition, and this time we're delving into the electronic world to shine a light on DJ and producer TOKiMONSTA.
The Los Angeles-born beatmaker, who to friends is Jennifer Lee, is one of the leading ladies of dance music, and for good reason. Her unique sound, which is highlighted by a funky blend of future bass and kinetic trap beats, has propelled her to huge collaborations with Anderson .Paak, Kool Keith, and MNDR, among other high-profile artists.
Many artists have a fresh sound, but they don't have the artistic capabilities to bootstrap it. TOKiMONSTA, however, has proven herself a virtuoso when it comes to her visuals. Take, for instance, the music video for her fan-favorite "Don't Call Me" featuring famed Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna. The languid R&B-inspired soundscapes of the original are paired with beguiling, eerily alluring visuals pertaining to the “red moon” phenomenon. The fact that most of it is shot through a black-and-white film noir lens adds to its mystique, which at times seems almost supernatural.
Perseverance is key to to this column, and TOKiMONSTA has it in droves. Back in 2015, she was diagnosed with Moyamoya disease, an extremely rare, potentially fatal brain disease that constricts certain arteries in the brain and blocks blood flow. The condition completely decimated her aural senses, leaving her with the inability to not only create music, but also to understand it in general. It got so bad that at one point, she lost language and comprehension skills. She went on to fully recover and produce her full-length album Lune Rouge, which she has stated is her most personal work to date. It's an expertly produced, diverse record oozing with romanticism that many see as her chef d'oeuvre, the culmination of many months of hard work in the face of adversity.