Last Friday, Grimes dropped her fourth studio album Art Angels. It offered a genre-free, visceral mixture of sunny pop, quirky electronica and caustic hip-hop that's had fans and even the most reluctant critics raving. It featured only a handful of guests, with one name standing out in particular: Janelle Monáe, her collaborator on the sinister "Venus Fly."
The duo brought that collaboration to life Wednesday, performing together at the Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta. They pulled out all the stops with a full laser light show and pounding sub bass. It was a performance that artist Hana described as "the best thing that's ever happened to me" when she shared a 30-second clip on Twitter.
"Venus Fly" is likely the song Grimes described in her Fader interview about being "too scary to be objectified." Its cover art, which Grimes debuted via Tumblr before her album's drop, depicts a seemingly female monster that absolutely fits that description.
While it seems Grimes originally intended for there to be three female MCs to spit on the track, Monáe does amazing work filling the space. "Why you looking at me again?" Monáe raps, "What if I pulled my teeth? Cut my hair underneath my chin? Wrap my curls all around the world?" Her lines match the encouragement Monáe offered her fans while accepting an award during BET's 2012 Black Girls Rock!, "Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable."
Team up with the horror pop diva Grimes to extend "uncomfortable" to "terrified," and you've got a recipe for a hell of a powerful track.
Watch the full performance below.