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Single Review: Miss Kaniyah – “I Look Good”

You can’t put a price on natural charisma in the music business; hence, when an artist like Miss Kaniyah comes along, there’s going to be a lot of buzz surrounding the golden touch she has in the recording studio. Rather than having to fluff up this young woman’s sound with a lot of synthetic filler and collaborative smokescreens to mask a lack of birthrights, Miss Kaniyah unleashes everything she was born to deliver in a song like “I Look Good,” charting a course between melodic indie pop and sterling hip-hop so few of her peers have been able to follow in their own content lately.

The execution we find in “I Look Good” has a softness that when juxtaposed with the gruff textural elements in the percussion creates a chaotic fizziness in the mix impossible to achieve otherwise. It never devolves into white noise, but its presence undeniably enhances the pristine color provided to the song via the harmony, which is perhaps the most organic point of interest in the melodic half of the mix. Layers of cerebral aesthetics run together and make even the subtler parts of this track sound larger than life, which is much more acceptable than inviting anything artificial into the fold.

This bass component is so clandestine that it almost feels nonexistent in a couple of significant junctures between the start of the song and the conclusion, but I don’t think it needed to be any more prominent to contribute something evocative to the bottom end of this track. Miss Kaniyah has already learned that moderation is going to be the most important ingredient in her recipe for finding success, and if her efficiency-first attitude carries over to the complete tracklist of a proper LP, she’s soon going to issue something her rivals won’t likely be able to top anytime soon.

The percussion is perhaps the bread and butter of the backend in “I Look Good,” but even if it didn’t have the boost it gets from some of the more intricate parts in the instrumental arrangement here, I think its tonal offerings are potent enough to earn some recognition in this review. It says a lot when a rapper can work an abstract beat into a consistent, steadily enrapturing pattern of poetic verses as Miss Kaniyah has in this performance, and if there’s anything we can take away from the groove in this single, it’s that she isn’t easily intimidated by mathy rhythmic challenges – in fact, she seems rather turned on by them.

Unsurprisingly to those who keep up with the American underground nowadays, the indie circuit submits another can’t-miss artist in Miss Kaniyah this year who doesn’t have to rely on the trends supported by her peers to make a big statement inside her first months in the headlines, and “I Look Good” is the latest proof of her eminence. Commerciality hasn’t given way to the best start to a new chapter in the history of pop and hip-hop, but Miss Kaniyah has a shot at really scaling the indie hierarchy as long as she continues to rip out scorchers like this one.

Gayle Glanville


About Michael Stover

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