Last year, global ears pricked up to the thriving dance music scene in Lisbon. Emerging from the vast suburbs of the Portuguese capital, the thrilling kuduro sounds championed by the likes of Marfox and DJ Nigga Fox are the fusion of various high octane, rhythmically wayward styles. This wildly adventurous amalgam is grown in the housing projects and at local block parties, and largely made with early 00s software FruityLoops, in this way drawing various parallels to London’s incubation of grime.
While every release from Principe Discos, the chief label associated with the scene, feels like an event, their latest is particularly exciting. 17-year-old student Nidia Minaj makes electrifying, energy-charged music in between lessons. “I like going to school and making music and I never get tired of doing the things I like,” Nidia explains via email, “but I like music more than school, for sure.” Currently living in Bordeaux, Nidia was exposed to kuduro through her childhood in Lisbon, where she joined all-girl dance crew Kaninas Squad before breaking away to focus on becoming a producer. Evidently, this was time well spent; Nidia’s latest release Danger explores the deliciously off-kilter rhythms and whiplash production of the city as it springs rambunctiously into life over eight tracks. It’s the result of a ferocious creative impulse, and equally strong ambition. “My ambition is to be one of the best DJs in the world. Or even better, the best DJ in the world,” she proclaims. “And be recognised for what I’m doing.”
This ambition to reach the pinnacle of her craft is inspired by her own idol and namesake, Nicki. Drawn to the rap powerhouse because she too is standing out on her own in her field, “we share the fact that we work in forms in which the boys are dominant,” she tells us. It looks like there’s no stopping this young pioneer.