Between Datpiff, Soundcloud, and Hot New Hip Hop, the internet has become an endless supply of free mixtapes. Although it is very easy to make music accessible to a wide range of people, this ability makes the act of standing out much harder. On her most recent project A Good Night in the Ghetto, Kamaiyah stands out by employing influence from grime and west coast rap with vicious flows and infectious hooks making for a unique sound.
Kamaiyah has the perfect voice for delivering looping, ear-worm hooks and she knows this. In the first five tracks of the album, the focus is put on ruthless vigor, Kamaiyah destroying men who have wronged her on “Niggas” and articulating her perseverance on “I’m On.” Throughout each of these initial tracks, looping electronic bass-lines accompany Kamaiyah’s melodic flow with enticing hooks spacing out the more speedy verses. The grime influence seems to be the driving force behind the bass lines particularly on the “Fuck it Up.” Kamaiyah is west coast so perhaps this is simply a modern-tinged version of G-funk, however, the heavy electronic elements in the beat certainly indulge in the sound conception of the other side of the pond.
On “Break You Down,” the listener is given the first glance at Kamaiyah’s tender side as the beat slows down to showcase the beauty in her voice. Here, the subject of conversation is about sexuality. Kamaiyah both suggests that the person the song is addressed to needs her to treat them right and that she is a “freak” so to speak, which serves as a powerful message as the hip hop community generally implies that “sexy” woman aren’t long term relationship material. Kamaiyah may want to be a love interest of sorts, but she doesn’t need to lose her sexuality to be a suitable counter-part to someone else.
Having a nice voice is an aspect of rap not often discussed. Although the genre doesn’t have singers per-say, a person’s voice definitely plays an important role in their success as a rapper. There’s just something special about Kamaiyah’s voice. Her flows can be very laid back and also in your face with her voice always fitting the sound of each song. The character of Kamaiyah’s voice is another important factor in her ability to stand out. It is fair to say that her presence will be immediately recognizable on any of the tracks she participates on the future.
Overall, I enjoyed this work quite a bit. Kamiyah’s sound isn’t necessarily the most unique on the scene right now, but her aesthetic pallet signifies a high level of originality. This combined with her great voice and knack for quick-hitting flow makes for a very enjoyable experience from beginning to end.