Kamaiyah - No Explanations Music Album Reviews

Kamaiyah - No Explanations Music Album Reviews
While the Oakland rapper still has a knack for melody and easy charm, her album’s larger-than-life narrative is more mechanical and generic than it is fun.

In February, Kamaiyah released Got It Made, her first independent album after exiting a joint deal with Interscope and YG’s 4HUNNID. The album was a spirited declaration of independence, fueled by Kamaiyah’s lingering frustration with major label over-management and underinvestment. “I don’t need nobody else/I don’t need nobody’s help,” she rapped on “Pressure,” one of the album’s many defiant mission statements. No Explanations, her follow-up after September’s joint tape with Capolow, is cast in the same mold, again championing autonomy and self-reliance—with diminishing returns. Kamaiyah’s songs of freedom have become increasingly humdrum; though she’s in control, she doesn’t sound free.
“I’m a boss … that’s going to be my new narrative,” Kamaiyah said in an interview earlier this year. She meant it. Where Got It Made spun independence as a limitless, open-world quest, No Explanations narrows the vision. Kamayah wants to be a boss so badly it’s all she talks about, leading to songs and verses that feel more actuarial than expressive. “Once I hit the billboards, I’mma be going nuts/Been here four years plus, but still feel like one,” she says on “Scared to Lose.” On the pensive “Bend da Corner,” she mourns her lack of visibility: “Since I been rapping, still ain’t charted high.” She’s not the first independent artist to bemoan the vagaries of success, but her obsession with making it overdetermines her writing. She sounds like a shareholder rather than a creator.

To Kamaiyah’s credit, she believes in the brand. Where her previous music was indebted to the past and awash in nostalgic samples and grooves and homages to her Oakland roots, this record’s main reference points are Kamaiyah herself. “Don’t bring your bullshit to my house,” she warns on the brassy “Big Step” after running down her Oakland bona fides. “I don’t swang Chrevolets/Bentley, now I’m paid/Money green, count change/Different league, got it made,” she sings on “Bape Hoodie,” referencing Got It Made. No Explanations is full of mythmaking in this vein, Kamaiyah declaring herself anointed and untouchable. One song is literally titled “Chosen.”

The production helps sell this turn, trading the twerk-ready bounce and warm melodies of her past music for brash anthems and lush lounge bops. Multiple songs end in blown-out outros and plush suites reminiscent of DJ Quik and DeBarge. Champagne and Chanel get frequent mentions. The new Kamaiyah, we’re told, is larger than life, spending big, bossed up.

This shift might be more engaging if it sounded less mechanical and generic. Kamaiyah’s catalog is filled with celebrations, tapping into the full spectrum of feelings that accompany success: relief, ecstasy, joy. But too often the writing on No Explanations has more inertia than momentum or texture. The way she spins in place on “Art of War” is characteristic of the album as a whole. “I’m just one of a kind and I know it/Trying to knock me off my pivot and it’s showing/I’m a top tier bitch, I’m the coldest/To knock off raw shit, I’m appointed,” she says, her self-affirmations accumulating but not building. 

There’s a thin thread of recovery buried beneath all the bluster. The sheer abundance of chest-puffing suggests Kamaiyah is trying to remind herself of her talent despite her years in major label purgatory. On “Go Crazy,” a funky song with a playful Bay Area bounce, Kamaiyah briefly removes her armor. “Swear I been lost my mind since I lost little Nate/Then some years down the line, fucked around and lost James,” she sings, her voice dropping a register as her boasts become wearied sighs. Moments like this add weight to her obsession with moguldom but are frustratingly rare. Though Kamaiyah hasn’t lost her knack for melody or easy charm, on No Explanations, the narrative too often obscures the person.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Kamaiyah - No Explanations Music Album Reviews Kamaiyah - No Explanations Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on December 25, 2020 Rating: 5


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