The biggest focal point of the criticism against Awkwafina’s performance in “The Little Mermaid” has undoubtedly been her song “The Scuttlebutt,” a three-minute rap number performed by Awkwafina and Daveed Diggs (who voices Sebastian), and which gives center stage to the actress-slash-rapper’s idiosyncratic flow. Consisting of a discussion between Scuttle and Sebastian about rumors that Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) is going to get married, the song has been heavily criticized ever since the film’s soundtrack was released.
As recapped by DisneyFanatic.com, YouTube commenters absolutely read the song for filth, criticizing its lyrics, its length, its dissonant vibe (it’s the only new song in the film that doesn’t conform to the original’s more traditional balladry style), and Awkwafina’s performance — especially when compared to Halle Bailey’s crystalline, classic vocals elsewhere in the film.
Once again, this is a case of a long-brewing backlash reaching its peak. In this case, of course, the backlash in question would be the one against songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose pioneering style of energetic, perkily sincere, wordplay-laden rap showtunes, once a near-unanimity at the height of his Broadway success, has gone on to yield diminishing returns for some viewers and listeners. A Reddit thread on “The Scuttlebutt” featured such highly-upvoted comments as u/ApprehensiveToday692‘s “Lin Manuel Miranda must be stopped,” and u/pabsgt‘s “Change.org don’t let Lin Manuel Miranda make more songs for Disney” — with plenty of criticism for Awkwafina’s rapping sprinkled throughout the thread as well.