May 24, 2019
Whilst D’Angelo’s R&B stylings weren’t exactly traditional, or even reflected the popular sounds of the time, Kelela makes him sound positively contemporary in comparison.
Indeed, on her debut release she takes the Contemporary R&B rule book and throws it right out of the window. In fact, one could argue that she barely gave the damn thing a passing glance before she hurled into the street.
Kelela’s music occupies far more esoteric, darker territory. Yes, there might be hints of 90s R&B in her vocals but it’s merely a nod to the past because what she does on Cut 4 Me is something altogether different.
Assembling 9 producers for this record must have been no mean feat, but it sounds pretty well strung together. The dark, creepy, empty (in a good way) beats place her firmly in more experimental territory, producing a feel which is more akin to Frank Ocean than Alicia Keys.
On this record she’s bringing in influences of bass, electro, grime and techno, completely shredding the blueprint for what R&B can or should be in the process. Many reviews called it “future R&B” and if you’re even remotely aware of the genre and its trapping, you’d be hard pressed to argue otherwise.
Some of the people on this podcast are not at all remotely aware of the trappings of this genre, so when Weaver brings it to the table it has somewhat of a mixed reception. A die hard Kelela fan, he presents it for inclusion in the discography not just because he loves or because of the way it stands out and makes you think, but also because this record seems to have influenced, and continues influence, other alternative R&B artists, many of whom are mentioned in this episode.
Along the way we discuss how more black artists are gaining prominence in alternative music circles, Chris devices a music game for you fans, and we unveil a new nexus.
What do you think - should it be added into our discography? Vote below.