Published on April 16th, 2018 | by voxx0
Kali Uchis – Isolation
The Gorillaz and Snoop Dogg collaborator shines on her debut album…
Invited to record with Snoop Dogg while she was a still a teenager working behind the tills at Whole Foods, the mix of retro soul and hip-hop attitude which marked out Kali Uchis’s 2012 mixtape Drunken Babble ensured he was just the first of many suitors. Since then the Virginia-born 23-year-old has graced albums by Gorillaz and Tyler, The Creator, but as her full-length debut proves, she was destined to be more than just an arresting featured artist.
Isolation showcases just what made others scramble for her number: natural pop charisma and an ability to glide effortlessly between genres. Striking a soulful yet combative pose for Miami’s reggae-tinged R&B (“I ain’t here to be cute”) on ‘Just A Stranger’, produced by The Internet’s young prodigy Steve Lacy, she proves equally capable of funked-up bump’n’grind.
Yet Uchis’s husky, languorous tone can also evoke emotional depths, not least when tackling affairs of the heart. ‘Tyrant’, a sensuous slow jam gilded by Jorja Smith, frames relationships as an oppressive power struggle (“What would you do with all that control?”), while ‘After The Storm’ is an archly playful, funk-driven ode to self-empowerment, recorded with Funkadelic bass maestro Bootsy Collins and given a tongue-in-cheek twist by former vocal sparring partner Tyler, The Creator.
Other celebrated former collaborators make less impression – Damon Albarn’s appearance on electro-pop curio ‘In My Dream’ is fleeting at best. But such moments only reinforce the feeling that Kali Uchis’s time in the spotlight has arrived.
- By Jake White