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Ashnikko's 'Weedkiller' takes you into a queer dystopian world

The cover art for <em>Weedkiller</em>
Vasso Vu
/
Warner
The cover art for Weedkiller

Confidently blending several genres into her music, Ashnikko is able to weave together elements from bubblegum and electropop and punk and hip-hop, to name a few.

Their music is bratty, sex-positive, haunting – and just a touch chaotic. And her persona? Picture: electric blue hair, a cyberpunk sense of style, and a Neil Gaiman tattoo on her arm.

Ashnikko takes you into a dystopian apocalyptic wasteland of her own creation with her debut studio album Weedkiller.

Who are they? Ashnikko is a 27-year-old alt-rap musician, whose songs "STUPID," and "Daisy" went viral on TikTok during the pandemic.

  • Her first EP, Sass Pancakes, was released in 2017.
  • But it wasn't until TikTok that she really blew up. For a while, it was nearly impossible to scroll through the app's FYP ('for you page') without seeing someone dancing or singing to her vengeful fantasy tune, "Daisy." 
  • They then compiled those TikToks into a music video.

What's the big deal? Ashnikko based her album Weedkiller on a short story she wrote, building out the world in music videos that depict her battling gigantic robot enemies with a huge sword.

  • The short story Ashnikko wrote focuses on faeries that she calls "nyms," who live in a forest populated by "mother trees." The nyms and the mother trees have a symbiotic relationship, "where they share resources and stories back and forth between nym and tree," Ashnikko says. But that utopia is destroyed by the Weedkillers, machines that harvest bio matter and turn that fuel into power for themselves. "My main character is on this quest to avenge their family and the forest."
  • The story is an allegory for the destruction of climate change and the rapid evolution of technology. Ashnikko builds that out with Weedkiller, providing commentary on real world issues while also mixing in her own lived experiences.


What's she saying? Ashnikko spoke with NPR's Scott Detrow about the world she's created, and the messages they wanted to scream.

On the fantastical influences of their work

On singing with rage in songs like "You Make Me Sick"


Want more on culture? Listen to Consider This on the true toll of book bans in the U.S.


On growing up in the Bible Belt and how that impacted them

On being in a place where she can now sing about queer love and hope

So, what now?

  • Weedkiller is streaming now.
  • There's a possibility for the stories in Weedkiller to continue in other forms. Ashnikko says, "Maybe the next record is an extension of that. I'm not sure. I am in the process of writing, fleshing out the rest of the story. I don't know what medium it will exist in yet. I am writing it now as a graphic novel...but we'll see."


Learn more:

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Brianna Scott is currently a producer at the Consider This podcast.