When describing Kelela’s richly toned vocal performance on her newly-released mixtape, Cut 4 Me, the usage of alliterations abound. The industry’s critics can’t help from likening the Los Angeles-based singer’s sound to diaphanous streams of vapor and literal beams of light—pervasive energies, to be sure—that leave us to conclude that the artist is nothing short of a force of nature. Drifting and wandering along the atmospheric Fade to Mind-produced beats, Kelela’s voice builds with a measured persistence on each track. It at once a cajoling coo that urges and pleads, while steadfastly developing into a throaty belt that disarms and sends the listener to new heights. We first heard this slinky, sensual execution just last year on Kingdom’s hit, “Bank Head”, which solidified the Maryland-native as one of the new ingénues of dance music, but Cut 4 Me has all but solidified her place as the genre’s topliner. Transportive in nature, the mixtape’s standout tracks like “Keep It Cool”, “Send Me Out”, “Floor Show”, and the eponymous “Cut 4 Me”, propel the listener towards the future of the genre, while mixing in classic 90’s R&B themes of late-night phone calls and hook-ups with your boo. It’s this mix of the future and the past (which is no better evident than on “Something Else”, the Nguzunguzu-produced homage to Art of Noise) that will have you body-rolling and slow-jamming through the atmosphere.
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