Reviewed by Ian Phillips.
By Kay Young, Play It again Sam records 2023.
Every now and then I come across a hip-hop artist that really captures my imagination and English woman kay Young is one of them.
There are several essential ingredients that these artists must have to stir me to listen to them.
Firstly, I must be able to understand what they are saying. So much rap is unintelligible to the listener unless they have the lyrics at hand.
Of course, as most music consumed these days is via streaming services few of us bother to hunt the lyrics down therefore we remain uninitiated and ignorant to what is going on in the song.
Secondly, they must offer a different rhythmic pattern to the standard lyric presentation. As rap began in America most rappers copy that rhythm but that pattern may be completely alien to rappers from other places on the planet.
Thirdly, I need melody and musicality to engage with what the rapper is trying to convey. The best rappers understand the importance of melody and if it’s not provided by the voice then it’s there in the musical backing.
Kay Young satisfies all my needs. She has great diction and her rhythms are the rhythmic patterns of her home.
She also is not afraid to sing passages and to provide choruses.
This five track EP has won me over. It is full of musicality containing elements of jazz, particularly via great trumpet solos, and many tasty riffs that keep me engaged melodically.
And Kay has something important to say. Her poetical lyrics are clear and range from the intimate to the universal.
The Bandcamp screed sums her up better than I can.
“Kay is proving just why the new era of black-British musicians are rightfully fighting for their place in the mainstream. Multifaceted and intriguing, Kay Young is defining an original generation of black British music, with fire in her belly.”
She’s gone from home-studio recording to recording in the famous Abbey Road studios within a couple of years and she’s one of the hottest new acts in the country.
Kay Young is my kind of rapper.