Making a Splash: Even in this current musical climate where hip-hop is at least as popular and important as any other genre of music and, as a result, we’re seeing new rappers emerge almost on a daily basis, A.R. The Mermaid stands out.

With her leather collars, chains, flamboyant makeup and general vibe of “fuck around and find out,” the Memphis-born artist is visually striking before you’re even heard her music. In conversation, her charisma is entrancing. Oozing confidence and dripping with Memphis drawl, A.R. wears a massive grin throughout the Zoom call. She knows that there is a buzz surrounding her right now, and she’s determined to enjoy it.

A.R. first emerged as a 15-year-old, singing with R&B group Karma. “I started out in a singing group,” she says. It was a learning experience for sure. I learned a lot from the situation, but it wasn’t for me, the group situation.”

She decided that she would be better off going it alone, forging ahead as a solo artist. That’s been the case for a few years now.

“Equally under the influence of anime a la High-Rise Invasion and Pokémon (Gengar inspired her eyebrows!) as well as Hoodrich Pablo Juan, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Sauce Walka, and Money Man, she grabbed a mic and taught herself how to rap. Initially, she gained traction with ‘Try Me’ in 2019,” reads a statement.


(Nickie Lee Rose)

A.R. is still based in Memphis, a scene she describes as “popping off.” But still, one must imagine that she sticks out in the southern city’s burgeoning rap scene. There’s something very punk rock about her vibe, and not in a store-bought “Hot Topic” sort of way. She’s a rebel, in that she doesn’t seem to want to follow any trodden path. Her style, both visually and musically, is her own. The fact that she was in a promising young vocal R&B group and said “Nope, not for me,” is proof of that.

“Fans clamored for more as she grew her social media following,” continues that same statement. “’Come Outside’ and ‘First Day Out’ maintained her momentum before she caught fire with “Let A Ho Play.’ Powered up by her uncontainable hustle, off-kilter rhymes, and undeniable chant, it reeled over 1 million cumulative views and streams. Not to mention, superstars such as SZA and K. Michelle touted it on social media, while Drake followed her.”

In December, A.R. the Mermaid released the “No Motion” single, a collaboration with fellow Memphis artist K Carbon.

“You know, it was really just a fun time in the studio,” A.R. says. It was just a normal day in the studio.”

When it comes to her dream collab, A.R. understandably lists Megan Thee Stallion. This is, after all, a golden time for female hip-hop artists.

“Females have always been colorful,” she says. “We were just looked over forever and it was harder for females to get on. Nicki (Minaj) and Megan made it easier. They were definitely harder.”

Ultimately though, “female hip-hop” isn’t a genre, no matter how much we want to celebrate the many strong, incredibly talented artists that continue to emerge. A.R. has been described as horrorcore-trap and “raw n’ raunchy.” All of that applies, and one could imagine her to be among the next crop of rappers to make the step up into the big leagues. Not only is she simply that good, but her style, her delivery, is suitably unique.

“Just coming up for air after a quiet grind, A.R. The Mermaid has buzzed out of Memphis as her city’s fieriest outlier,” they say. “She has gained traction with the likes of ‘Let A Ho Play’ and freestyles such as ‘No Motion.’ At the same time, she has all the makings of a style icon with the vibrant presentation of a real-life anime heroine.”

That’s a great description of A.R. The Mermaid – a “real-life anime heroine.” One could easily picture her as a Fortnite skin, or as an anime character, or both. She’s larger than life, yet her lyrics are grounded and that’s a touchline to balance on.

That’s in part why her June ‘23 collab with social media force Sukihana on the song “Suki” works so wonderfully well.

The track continues to illuminate her dynamic presence as she exudes attitude and charisma all at once in between a buoyant beat,” they said. “Shot in Miami, the accompanying visual adds even more fire to ‘Suki.’ Serving as the perfect accompaniment to the track, Love & Hip-Hop: Miami star, rapper and social media force Sukihana notably makes an eye-catching cameo in the clip!”


(Nickie Lee Rose)

Sukihana is another larger-than-life character, and that collaboration made sense. That said, A.R. doesn’t need anyone to amplify her awesomeness. The “Watt We Doingg” single featured a spellbinding sample of Rick James’ “Give it to Me Baby.”

“She drops one eyebrow-raising bar after another topped off with warnings such as, ‘Say she love me. Can’t fall for it, boo,’” they said. “As showcased by the track, she asserts herself as an individual through and through with sound and creativity like no one else in Memphis or the game at large.”

It all points to the fact that A.R. The Mermaid is as close to a magical figure as we have in real-life hip-hop. She’s entering the scene on a wave of positivity, joy and color. She might stick out her tongue and flip the bird, but she’s doing it with a wink and a smile, and it’s easy to get on board with that air of gleeful anarchy.

Is A.R. a real mermaid? Of course not – mermaids don’t exist. But her musical magic is just as much fun as fishy people. Probably more. A.R. is certainly determined to have fun in 2024.

“(I’ll be) back on the gas,” she says. “I will drop singles, and festivals for the summer.”

Be sure to extend your Ariel for this little mermaid.

Making a Splash: A.R. The Mermaid’s “No Motion” is out now.

























































































































Editor’s note: The disclaimer below refers to advertising posts and does not apply to this or any other editorial stories. LA Weekly editorial does not and will not sell content.


Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.