In the music video for her breakout single “Telfy,” Maiya The Don shimmies down the aisle of a beauty store in Crocs, flexes her designer handbag, and gets sturdy with her girls at a playground. The Brooklyn rapper has the type of charisma that demands to be recorded. She got her start as an influencer and beautician on TikTok, where her wig tutorials and “get ready with me” vlogs quickly built her a loyal following. Rap was something she loved, but she never pursued it seriously until the runaway success of her menacing 2021 track “Chiraq.” On her new album, Hot Commodity, she expands her irresistible personality, approaching East Coast bully rap with the confidence of a Sephora manager.
Maiya shows off her undeniable New York swagger as she calls out faceless haters and dumb men over beats that range from fast-paced street rap to Nicki Minaj-esque pop-rap. These subjects are well-worn, but her brash tone and creative delivery keep things fresh. On “Dusties,” she interpolates both Ice Spice and Lil Kim while dropping clever esthetician bars: “Bitches tryna make up, knowing we don’t blend.” On the hook for opener “Hella Scary,” she zig-zags through producer D.A. Got That Dope’s 808s, bubble pops, and finger snaps while clearing her nemeses: “Lotta rap hoes wack, these the same ol’ tracks/Wouldn’t pop even if you put Drake on that.”
But Maiya hits differently on earnest love songs. “Got me ignoring DMs/I might just be your BM,” she says on the sample drill track “Luv U Better,” playing friends with benefits with Bronx drill rapper Shawny Binladen. Things escalate further on songs like “In Your Hands” and “Call Me If You Down,” where she asserts her freedom (“I don’t gotta deal with you, I could fuck your friends”) while still catching feelings. But even at her most tender, Maiya never simps; she lays out the ground rules, but she’s perfectly content to keep it moving if her man’s not willing to shower her in affection and designer brands.
Maiya sounds great on just about every beat. She rides the luxe instrumentals of “Into Myself” and “Telfy” with bravado; she slinks her way through the middling digital funk of the Ty Dolla $ign-featuring “In Your Hands,” the project’s sole weak spot; and she keeps pace with the breakneck sample drill of “Luv U Better” and “Body.” The latter is a chest-thumping roll call for people who want to test Maiya’s patience, delivered over a sample of Mariah Carey’s bubbly 2009 hit “Touch My Body.”
Hot Commodity operates from a similar blueprint as Cardi’s B’s 2017 mixtape Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 2 and Megan Thee Stallion’s 2018 breakout Tina Snow: It’s a focused and punchy sample platter of regional styles that proves Maiya is capable of holding her own. By the time she’s breaking down her origin story—growing up on the intersection of Macon Street and Marcus Garvey Boulevard, raising her siblings in and out of foster care—it’s clear that she’s interested in more than just flexing her fabulousness. “I can’t put a price on this; I put my life in it/My story ain’t finished because nigga, I’m still writing it,” she says, growing from despondent to triumphant over the course of two bars. By this point, she’s left the comforts of BeautyTok for a real world takeover.