Full of low-key charm and high-key energy, Kayowa revels in their power on "Fresh" - co-written with PinkPantheress.
Ahead of an EP due this summer, South London alt rapper Kayowa continues to define themself and their artistic style on their latest cut. It follows last year’s album Cyberflex, which saw Kayowa well establish their glitchy flow and widely-varied production - all done by Kayowa themself, building their musical worlds with Nintendo samples and strutting beats.
Their sonic exploration and creativity hasn’t gone unnoticed either, with "Fresh" coming hot off a longlisting from Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent competition. Sometimes in a fierce flow, sometimes in a gentle meander of spoken word, Kayowa is bringing a sense of intrigue and intoxicating vibes to every tune they share.
Here, on "Fresh", backed by their sparky percussion, Kayowa murmurs and delicately grooves along, sounding completely breezy, delivering every line with a smile. But "Fresh" is a track of two worlds, the flickering instrumental and mesmerising background melodies providing a serene world for Kayowa to dominate with assertion in their lyrics. They “know that you want it” and that they’re “the biggest spice” and they don’t need telling, nor do they need to prove it.
Kayowa’s sense of fun is part of why we can’t help but agree - only they could manage to make the line “got a cabbage in my pocket” sound so sleek and inviting. The juxtapositions between total cool, command, tongue in cheek vibes, and chilled instrumentals seem to be a Kayowa calling card by now, and Fresh is another prime example.
“Fresh is all about being a bad b*tch and walking in your own power, regardless of what the world has to say. At first glance, people assume I’m all sweet and flowery and don't have a backbone… but when I’m tested, I can easily switch in a heartbeat and put people in their place. This can be reflected in the song: the beat itself sounds all cute and girly, but if you listen to the lyrics, my cocky side leaps out. I’m telling people not to give me advice because I won't listen. Don't let my smile fool you, there's a lot of fierceness beneath the mask.”