Think royalty | Zamunda’s Queen in Oakland

“Queen of Zamunda” – referencing the Eddie Murphy film Coming to America – by female Oakland rapper Queens D. Light seems at first, deliberately low-fi, evoking the weird mastering of classic 90’s albums in digital format.

Story: Joshua Chan | @chanjoshuachan


With echoed drums and slight clicking in the instrumental, it’s almost similar to the eclectic vocal/instrumental priority present on Tyler, The Creator’s Cherry Bomb.

The instrumental definitely seems to take priority here with its distant claps layered over seemingly 808-styled drum patterns and distorted bass drums. While the instrumental isn’t exactly chaotic, there’s definitely a lot going on with it, making the song more interesting as a result.

The whole song does occasionally take on some of the mixing problems that were on “Cherry Bomb”, at times, since the instrumental can easily drown out the vocals of the song. It’s probably intentional, but it still seems like more work could have gone into the mixing.

Amidst the low-fi, almost industrial beat, the lyrics on “Queen of Zamunda” have an appropriate amount of braggadocio for a song about being a queen.

“Walk in this thing like the queen of Zamunda/Don’t let the sweet taste fool ya.”

This makes for a catchy hook that fits well with the rest of the song. Another benefit of the hook is that it makes sense, bringing its female perspective on common rap swagger even closer, making the song’s lyrics cohesive even with its chaotic instrumental.

Queens D. Light by Sasha Kelly
Photo: Sasha Kelly

“Queen of Zamunda” is a compelling listen with its nice female take on male braggadocio that recalls influences like Lauryn Hill, while adding its own influences – such as in the digital echoes and other flourishes.

All of these elements combine to create a song that takes the female-empowerment themes we see in artists like Beyoncé and puts them in its own unique package. The song feels handcrafted and deliberate from beginning to end, and it’s definitely worth giving a listen. Just turn up the volume a little more than you’re used to.

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