Kamaiyah - Keep It Lit EP Music Album Reviews

Kamaiyah - Keep It Lit EP Music Album Reviews
The Oakland rapper’s new EP slows her throwback 1990s jams to a leisurely West Coast pace. 

Almost two decades into their career, an artist might get the itch to reinvent themselves with an alter ego, a genre left turn, or a drastic makeover. Not Kamaiyah. On her second EP this year, the Oakland rapper cruises on the synthy ’90s R&B sound she’s fine-tuned from the tender age of 9. Why mess with a classic recipe? “This some real Maxwell Park, uptown Bay boy Bay girl shit,” she announces in the opener. Kamaiyah has flirted with mainstream status in recent years, ultimately opting for timeless old-school production over the latest stylistic craze. Thematically Keep It Lit is reminiscent of her 2016 debut, the dynamic hometown tribute A Good Night in the Ghetto, if it were edited to fit a Sunday morning radio hour.

As if reclining in a drop-top with velvet seats, Keep It Lit moves at a West Coast pace. Aware of adversaries who “run their mouths like water,” she flicks them away like flies descending on her lobster plate—fighting back a chuckle in her charming Oakland drawl. Beyoncé proclaimed “best revenge is your paper”; Kamaiyah makes a case for blissful leisure as a contender. The laidback tone induces a highway hypnosis effect that threatens to make the EP’s first half sound like a single nine-minute song. Instead of captivating wordplay, she repeats “keep it litty litty” throughout as a sort of failed incantation. Just as the hazy pianos and 808s start to feel lethargic, Mistah F.A.B.’s antique slang and comical intonation jolts you awake: “Gee willikers, jiminy crickets, and them shenanigans.”

Though the EP often feels like producer Blakkat searched up “1990s backyard barbeque type beat,” Kamaiyah’s percussive vocals add texture and bounce. She strikes gold when she melds her Too $hort-like bars with melody-driven R&B croons. A devout fan of the S.O.S. Band, TLC, and the Temptations, her smooth vocals offset lackluster lyrics. In Kamaiyah’s throat, even a simple “mhm” morphs from a filler word to a soulful affirmation. “I’m young, Black, fine, and wealthy,” she attests on “Know the Vibes.” You truly will be tempted to roll your window down and scream it during rush hour. The EP’s catchiest refrain, however, belongs to Mac Dre’s 2002 track “Dollalalala Lotsa Paypa,” which Kamaiyah interpolates on “The Mac.” Slowing the frenetic chorus makes the song sound like a slow + reverbed cover, but her silky voice redeems the track. 

“I don’t feel like I learn from the new people. I feel like the old people, if you study them, you’re legendary,” Kamaiyah told Los Angeles’ Power 106 in 2019. This resistance to changing with the times manifests in the stagnancy of this record: Even when the instrumental is original, it feels borrowed. Supremely influenced by the ’90s, even calling 2Pac her father, Kamaiyah is well aware of her debt to the aesthetic that helped her earn prominence in her early 20s. Trapped in its amber, her own ideas are engulfed in homage.

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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 - Keep It Lit EP Music Album Reviews Kamaiyah - Keep It Lit EP Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on December 20, 2022 Rating: 5


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