RHYTHM & BLUES: Kelela – Cut 4 Me

By: Ntombenhle Shezi (@NtombenhleShezi)

Listening to the mixtapeCut 4 Me, had me thinking of the sounds of many who were at the forefront of the R&B movement in the 1990s.  Some  of the songs could have easily been been a Kelis, Brandy or Aaliyah joint back in the day, with a part of me kind of anticipating  a Darkchild shout out on one or two tracks. However, comparisons aside the production on the album is what stood out for me the most. 

Available on iTunes

Kelela Mizanekristos’ critically acclaimed mixtape Cut 4 Me,, caught the attention of many when it dropped towards the end of 2013. Listed as one of the ‘Artists to Look Out’ for by BBC’s Sound of 2014, Kelela was notably featured on Solange Knowles’ St Heron mixtape, which is a collection of musicians representing a new wave of R&B. Although raised as an American, her parents are Ethiopian immigrants and she embraces her diversity by describing herself as being committed to not being in “one thing”. It comes as no surprise that the LA based crooner is described as being at the helm of the “experimental R&B” movement.

Kelela by Sam Bayliss-Ibran

Listening to the mixtape had me thinking of the sounds of many who were at the forefront of the R&B movement in the 1990s.  Some  of the songs could have easily been been a Kelis, Brandy or Aaliyah joint back in the day, with a part of me kind of anticipating  a Darkchild shout out on one or two tracks. However, comparisons aside the production on the album is what stood out for me the most. Fresh and futuristic beats from the likes of  Bok Bok, Nguzuguzu, Girl Unit and the incredibly talented Jam City are what kept me playing certain songs over and over again. Unfortunately, some of the beats surpassed the vocals, making them more memorable melodies than the lyrical masterpieces I was hoping they would be.  Some stand out tracks include Cherry Coffee, the grime inspired Keep it Cool, and Go All Night (Let Me Roll), a sultry jam extended into Go All Night (Let it Burn). Above all, Kelela’s Cut 4 Me is an interesting experiment of mellow R&B vocals layered over sometimes very hard electro and exciting beats.

Listen to another R&B sensation Jhene Aiko- Sailing Souls EP.

You can also watch Solange Knowles- Losing You Music Video which was shot in our very own Langa, Cape Town, in 2012.

 

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