Kay L.A. – Summer In LA – EP Review
Summer In LA huh? And you want me to be feelin’ this while I’m chest deep in snow here in freezing cold Canada, when it’s just about ready to really start ragin’ into winter more than it already has been? I see how it is Kay…never-ending Summer In LA I bet right? Nice. That cuts deep as the snow is here in December – sending us this hot record now in one of the coldest months of the year – you sure you’re not rubbing it in Kay? Just a lil’ bit maybe? Maybe the cold’s just got me bitter…we freezin’ up here yo!
Thankfully, Kay’s got a smooth & sensual sound that starts heatin’ up the speakers right away on the opening track “I Don’t Wanna” – impressive beginning no doubt. Not only do I think she’s got fantastic control on how she wants to come across stylistically over the microphone, she’s got the tone & techniques to back it up, transitioning between more rhythmically-inclined flow & soaring notes being sung out powerfully as “I Don’t Wanna” rolls on. That ain’t it though y’all – that’s the main ingredient, don’t get me wrong – Kay makes the first impression for sure…but then you really start getting into the impressive mix on the music as well and the seriously killer ideas goin’ on with the background vocals – and this really starts to stand out on a whole other level. Excellent interaction between the way Kay sings and the bounce of the beat in the music…essentially a smooth & flawless beginning & tale of love & heartbreak that’s direct & to the points it wants to make while also giving us access to the emotional power Kay can put into her vocals. Overall, “I Don’t Wanna” gives you access to one of the dimensions of style & sound that Kay L.A.’s record branches into, gliding smoothly through a chilled-out atmosphere while keeping the energy fresh on the approach to the hooks & R&B/Club vibe she’s taken on in this first track. It’s a subtle start in many ways with the low-key movements, sweet sound, & sentiment on “I Don’t Wanna,” but the performance from Kay is so stylistically on-point that you can’t help but stay right with this slow-jam, mesmerized by the hypnotic vibes created between her & the music.
“Wave” is what a single sounds like to me, straight-up, full-stop – this second cut creates a huge impact immediately. Wouldn’t be considered just a typical single by any means either – this is the kind of cut that can establish a unique vibe within seconds and lead the way for the rest out there to follow. At its core, you’ll get that beautiful R&B sound from Kay L.A. – but LISTEN to the absolutely wild & jaw-dropping beat & music that come along with her! Everything about “Wave” bounces, rolls, and flows as vibrantly through the speakers as a song can…and the contrasting smoothness & professional moves that Kay makes on the mic really move fluidly with the music. By the time you’re twenty seconds into this cut, you’ll be scratching your head & wondering WHERE Kay is going to find space in this song to do her thang – and by thirty-five seconds in, it becomes much more of a matter of ‘Oh, of course. Where’s she gonna fit? How about ALL the perfect spots?’ As a songwriter & singer, I think this cut speaks volumes on behalf of what Kay is capable of – for real…just imagine hearing the instrumental of “Wave” for the first time and trying to imagine where in the hell or how in the hell you’d add vocals to it! Kay drops a significantly confident & cool performance that handles this inventive beat like she could do it all damn day, every day…and I got mad love for that. Honestly, you’ve gotta have insight into how music works and what you can personally bring to it in order to create something this strong – this is where Kay’s EP starts to noticeably shift from good to great…”Wave” is wickedly strong, examining the ride or die aspect of what makes a relationship work. Gettin’ a solid assist from an electrifying guest appearance on the mic from Andre Flores – this whole cut has been like one great moment after another, with every ingredient adding to one seriously impressive result on “Wave.”
As if summoning even more strength on the microphone, Kay’s got some of her best hooks on “Give” and sings them with beautiful tones & sweet confidence. In terms of accessibility, I feel like both “Give” and the song to follow, “Take The Cake” have a ton to offer a massive audience of listeners out there. There’s something about the uniqueness of “Wave” that’s always going to appeal to me…I still think that’s a real standout, but perhaps for different reasons. “Give” might be more towards comforting vibes you’ve heard in R&B than some of the surrounding tunes on this record, but there’s zero doubt about how much this connects or how well this style suits Kay too. I suppose it comes down to the direction she’ll want to take as an artist…there’s a part of me that suspects she’d be able to crank out a cut like “Give” in the studio any day of the week, whereas I feel like “Wave” might be more challenging on a creative level and maybe even feel more like a win to her when everything is all said & done and she hears the results of her efforts. And that’s all I’m saying I suppose…I don’t want anyone to think I’m complaining, cause I’m not – I think she does what’s essentially a perfect job on “Give” and on the opening track “I Don’t Wanna” as well, in what’s likely a more straight-ahead example of what Kay L.A. can do. Like if you put’em on, there’s no way I’d be trying to turn them down or turn them off, they’re both great tunes…you’re welcome to call me crazy if you like, but I think Kay shines brightest when she’s challenged more by the beats she’s working with or truly inspired by them. Having said all that, after multiple spins through the Summer Of LA, I’m 99% convinced this is probably the most universal sound & song she’s got on the record – like I’d seriously doubt anyone out there isn’t gonna feel this one. It’s remarkably sweet & sincere and Kay sings it spectacularly well in a way you can tell she’s feelin’ it too. FinagoBaby does solid work bringing style to the bars on his guest appearance on “Give” – and once again, listening closely to the background will reveal all kinds of additional magic you’ll get right into; it’ll be tough for any one element to outshine those main hooks from the main star by comparison, but everything’s in-line and sounding right on-point in the sweetened ambitions & sound of “Give.”
The bright sound & bounce on “Take The Cake” is addictive enough to want several slices of this single-worthy tune. This particular cut is like somewhere in between Rihanna and Lily Allen – and if I was Kay, I’d be examining this track big time…because there’s a lot of room out there in music for something like the sound she’s got right here. You get style, you get hooks, you get plenty of relevant lingo & buzz words that a crusty old dude like me has no idea of what’s being said necessarily, but I know enough to know I love what I hear. Designed for good times while still getting to the heart of what it is that Kay wants to express, whether you catch – or even know every word she’s singin’ here, it’s a really impressive song from beginning to end. “Take The Cake” draws hard on melody, rhythm & flow, and of course, an innovative & stylistic performance from Kay that has her right in the grip of a vibe that fits her perfectly, 100%. SMART combo at work here for sure all-around…and like I said, I think there’s a TON of space for this kind of sound out there right now – Kay puts a ton of attitude into this cut when you listen to what she’s layin’ down lyrically close-up…and for most people, it’s going to be brilliantly disguised underneath the playful brightness of the beat & piano-melody. So it’s one of those cuts that’ll work for her on several levels when it comes to listeners out there; on the surface level, this song absolutely radiates beautiful melody and warm-vocal tones from the hooks to the music – and if you dig deeper, you’ll love the fact that Kay’s confident attitude & style remains completely intact. Massive appeal on just about every level I can think of…definitely a successful & single-worthy sound once again from Kay.
But like…OH KAY – OKAY then! You wanna kick it old-school do ya? Count me IN homie, let’s do this! “Crush On You” is pure perfection and style for miles – Kay is “way too fly” as she says on this cut herself, with the way she makes moves switchin’ it up to bringin’ out HOT BARS on this second track from the end of her EP, you’ll realize that her proclamation of being “the realest in the game” is a pretty damn accurate assessment. No question about it – she’s crushin’ it here on the m-i-c as she struts & strolls through “Crush On You.” She’s hinted at bars a lil’ bit before this track on her EP, but she absolutely lets it loose her and puts her versatile talent straight into the spotlight with an inspired performance that captures the essence of this vibe bang-on. Basically, she’s isn’t hinting anymore; she takes a full 180-degree turn on “Crush On You” and authoritatively pimp-slaps just about every other emcee out there with one big swing of her mic-hand and a display of verbal confidence you can’t take your ears off of. It’s like you feel like you probably SHOULD have expected this switch in style coming…but you’ll truly be blown away but just how effective it is when it happens to the point where “Crush On You” nearly feels like it comes straight out of left field. With the incredibly smooth beat this cut comes along with and the way she flows so naturally through this cut, that transition in style is just about as welcome as it gets…zero issues with heading into more decided Rap/Hip-Hop terrain with Kay – she’s absolutely got bars and supreme skill. Like, we’re into O.G. territory here – Kay’s got a Digable Planets level of cool like dat throughout “Crush On You” – it’s brilliant old-school for the right here & now. “Don’t gotta give an F as long as U C Kay” might go down as one of the best lines in history, period.
On her “Mortal Kombat shit” – Kay takes another turn slayin’ bars on the final track and puttin’ down the finishing moves on her Summer In LA EP, along with Hundosavii as they pass the mic on “Often.” Probably the most ‘now’ sound of the set in terms of what’s out there in the scenes & dominatin’ airwaves lately…which might work in her favor…or could potentially get her lost in a sea of similar cuts. “Often” has the advantage of hooks you’ll remember and a solid performance from both emcees on the mic deliverin’em…but likely compared to the rest of the material you’ll find on this record, this last tune almost plays like a bonus track or extra shout-out. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that and “Often” still has plenty of supercharged energy & entertainment value, I’m just advocating on behalf of the amount of identity as an artist you’ll find being established in Kay’s cuts like “Wave,” “Take The Cake,” and “Crush On You” – I’d probably argue that these three cuts are the ones most likely to set her apart from the rest of what’s out there, while the other three are still jams you’ll want to repeat for sure. All-in-all though, from “Often” right on back to the beginning where it all started, Kay’s proven to be seriously skilled & versatile as an artist…and I’d imagine the amount of doors she’s opened up here have been barely left hangin’ on the hinges as she busts through to that next-level with the wild cuts on Summer In LA. The consistency in the quality of the ideas & music are there – and I’d imagine that’s going to be the case for years to come…Kay L.A. clearly puts a ton of effort, passion, & skill into her songs, and she comes out successful in each style she brings to her music with stunning results all-around.
Another awesome artist found on the I Wright Music label for sure. Find Kay L.A. and the Summer In LA EP at iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/summer-in-la-ep/1439850368
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