Kamilah Hobson is a Chicago, Illinois-based artist who records under the alias Hi Love. After her comeback release of 2012’s “Life and Love,” the veteran R&B/soul singer’s EP After All, as well as her follow up full-length, Chicago Amoré , further punctuated this name change with a return to her roots, among them, Minnie Riperton, Curtis Mayfield, and Stevie Wonder. Now, on her latest EP, Cold Wind, Love sets a gradual realism to that foundation of influences with a dash of modern, engaging pop prowess.
Opening on the titular track, Love’s growth is immediately apparent, as she makes the leap from a warm, harmonic intro into a quippy, sultry tonality. During the verses, the lush string arrangements and icy, urban percussion work exceptionally well in accentuating that factor. Beneath her live-in-the-moment, confidence-strutting exterior, Love showcases a bit more vulnerability on the track to follow, “Queen & Slim,” admitting to needing companionship. Her utilizing throwback soul samples and modern arrangements benefit the song just as well, while her vocal layering is similarly colorful and uncluttered. Capping the EP’s first side is a noteworthy gem, “Arrows.” It carries the ear candy that is its stationary and harmonized vocal hooks,
and paces the involvement to the matching tune of the bass. The song is also well-crafted thematically, serving as both an answer that highlights the effects of heartbreak, and a standout around solidified romantic independence.
By the latter half of the EP, “The Truth” takes cue from her previous themes and channels them through a newly-nuanced delivery – graceful, yet piercing. I found the contrast between that and the abrasive, almost hazy percussive strikes, Love once again demonstrates the importance of sticking to her instinct regardless of present circumstances. Following a further punctuating statement on the penultimate track, “Grow Strong,” the closing remix of the first track. Guest rapper Femdot is a welcome addition, giving the imagery contextual relevance to the current pandemic, and not only emphasizing a unified struggle, but strength in the same way.
Overall, Cold Wind is a compelling stamp of Hi Love’s presence in the 2020s. Her refined stylistic and thematic stance is both familiar and fresh, with emphasis on an ultimately organic presentation. Having been active for well over a decade, Love is an artist to look out for in the truest sense, and continues to show potential in sustaining a fruitful career.
Hi Love Socials: