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Kamaiyah Captures A Unique New Sound With ‘Before I Wake’

Mixtape of the Week

The 25-year-old Oakland rapper/singer, Kamaiyah, is back with her brand new mixtape, Before I Wake, available now via

kamaiyah-before-i-wakePrior to being selected as one of XXL Magazine‘s 2017 Freshman class, she received critical acclaim for her debut mixtape, A Good Night in the Ghetto, which featured a guest appearance by California rapper YG. She was also featured on his 2016 debut album, Still Brazy, on the track “Why You Always Hatin’,” along with Drake.

Most recently, she was featured on fellow Oakland-native Keyshia Cole‘s 11:11 Reset. Kamaiyah draws inspiration from artists like TLCMissy Elliott, Aaliyah, and feels she is helping sets the tone for a new generation of young women in hip-hop.

According to a recent interview with GQ, she explained that her new mixtape is only one of two projects she is currently working on.

“My [major-label studio debut] has been held up to samples… so it wasn’t put out on time,” she said. “It was supposed to come out in March, I believe. Now it’s November. So to make up for that deficit, I’m gonna put out more work.”

She also told GQ that she is currently working on her next project, Woke.

The mixtape opens with “Dope Bitch” a hyped up Bay Area rap that sounds like something you’d expect to hear on an E-40 or Keak Da Sneak record.

“The Wave” is another original pop/rap track. It is uniquely different, mellow and confident. And let’s face it “ain’t nobody standing in [her] way.”

No lie. “Playa in Me” is a synth-led West Coast club banger about having to be ruthless in order to make it in the game.

Kamaiyah slows things down with the track, “Me Against Me,” a much more introspective look at the 25-year-old lyricist’s life experiences on this smooth, calypso-style rap beat. Her other musical influences take over on the track, “Does She Know,” which sounds like an early ’90s R&B song, about “sneakin'” and “creepin’.”

The mixtape continues with a confession about her addiction to “Fashion,” her struggles with past relationships, which she details on the track “Leave ‘Em,” and her own conscious path to recovery after losing her brother, on the track “Therapy.”

While the new mixtape is arguably not the young rapper’s best, it is consistent and delivers a much more distinguished sound than her earlier work. But, one thing is for certain… we expect to see much more of Kamaiyah in the coming year.



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