KAMAIYAH - A Good Night in the Ghetto
Rap is no longer the light-hearted music it used to be, a while ago. Neither its conscious side – or what’s left with it – nor the materialistic and violent one, radiate joy and happiness. Even the most hedonistic kind of rap, the one tailored for clubs and dancefloor, is more about debauchery, drug addiction and mental disorders, than about passion for life. Even when it is all about power and success, it smells badly of revenge and competition. And so, when in 2015 Kamaiyah released "How Does it Feel", this single was welcome like some bowl of fresh air.
Self-released :: 2016 :: download mixtape
There, in a jaunty way, the young woman from Oakland – more than ever the beating heart of the Bay Area hip-hop scene – looked for happiness in a dark world. She talked about her taste for simple pleasures, in a context, poverty, not tailored for them. And this subject matter, almost a state of mind, the rapper would develop it on a full mixtape, the well-named A Good Night in the Ghetto, which would exhibit a full band of festive guys on its cover art. On this project, Kamaiyah would introduce herself as a heir to her models TLC, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill, women like her, whose music, in the 90’s, was light and groovy.
As soon as with the first track, the catchy "I’m On", Kamaiyah would capitalize on "How Does it Feel", reusing its motto: "how does it feel to be rich?". Her epicurean stance would also be visible on "Mo Money, Mo Problems", a pleasant and innocent ode to material pleasures, and on "Ain't Going Home Tonight", a track about good times spent riding cars. "Freaky Freaks" was about drinking, and "Niggas" about sexual freedom. And love, once again, was the one and true sentiment on "Come Back". Only one song was on the pessimistic side: the conclusive "For My Dawg", a tribute to a dead friend, and to another one, suffering from a cancer. This man, actually, one of the guys pictured on the cover art, would die shortly afterwards…
The rapper’s influences came from old times, as said earlier. Her music was also deeply rooted in her own California’s g-funk, thanks to its funky and vintage sounds, and a few sirens. But it was also very much contemporary, due to the presence of some rhythms and routines coming from the ratchet style. This subgenre’s big star, actually, YG, was present on A Good Night in the Ghetto. He was its only famous guest, the others being unknown rappers from Kamaiyah’s own collective, the Big Money Gang. The man from Compton participated to her song "Fuck It Up". And she would return the favor, with her contribution to a track from Still Brazy, YG’s album, along with Drake. Knowing that the latter is always close to the next buzz, and that she would be part of the next XXL’s Freshmen class, Kamaiyah seemed well set to success; which she would fully deserve.
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