Release date: March 14th
The Bay Area has a rich hip-hop tradition, dating back to Mac Dre, Too $hort, and the loose-fitting pants of MC Hammer, but Kamaiyah is something new. Her debut mixtape, A Good Night in the Ghetto, is the type of playful, spry, and forward-thinking retro-rap that works as both deeply felt party music and revealing autobiography. It's perfect for a BBQ, a car wash, or a meditative solo walk to the subway.
By pairing chant-able hooks (the West Coast minimalism of "Out the Bottle") with revealing introspection (her breakout single "How Does It Feel"), she makes pleasure and joy sound revolutionary. She's got sensual songs about sex ("Break You Down") and desire ("Come Back"), along with tough-talking, synth-speckled funk anthems like "Fuck It Up" and "Ain't Going Home." "I'm just a young black chick with an attitude," she says at one point. "Better move out of my way when I'm passing through." Listening to her rap is like watching Steph Curry shoot a 35ft three-pointer: the confidence is infectious, the form is impeccable, and the talent is undeniable.