Let me begin with a confession. This write-up is not going to be based on the first time I listened to this project. I know, I know. How could I ruin the sacredness of the First Listen? But listen, Linda. My cat decided to wild out today, I had to rearrange my room so she wouldn’t keep stepping on my record player to get to the window, I had to repot some plants that were getting too big for the original pot, and a bunch of other misadventures that were really all too MUCH for a Monday. And I have this story and another one to write (for later in the week) that I didn’t start writing until the afternoon (which isn’t great for a morning person). And to top it off, this week was supposed to be a Week Fulla! But I forgot!!! So I’ll do it next week. So for today, I decided to pick a super short project for a super short First Listen, so I wouldn’t have to worry about missing a day. So in reality, it isn’t that bad. But I’ll have a proper First Listen for next week and later on this week! Anyway, with my heart relieved, let’s talk about KAMAUU.
2019: TheKAMAUU-CASSETTE: MíXD GRēēNS
While scouring KAMAUU’s website to find where we sought his musical inspiration, I found a little quote about this project. ‘“I named it TheKAMAUU-CASSETTE: MíXD GRēēNS, because I feel green right now,” he admits. “I feel fertile. I feel like things are growing from me. The seeds planted by my elders and experiences are on the brink of breaking the surface, and I’m excited. I have no fear about my future. It’s a feeling instigated by observation. Green represents growth. I’m aware.”’ And honestly, what a perfect summation of this project. Although it’s super short (about 13 minutes), it feels like a project made by someone who is ready and completely open to upcoming possibilities.
There’s something very bright and aspirational about this project. All of the lyrics and production sound fresh, while also sounding familiar. I saw in a couple of places on the internet that people were comparing KAMAUU to Andre 3000, and I think you can hear why on MíXD GRēēNS, but he also finds home amongst a bunch of other neo-soul, hip hop, afrobeat, and r&b sounds as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that someone like Erykah Badu was an inspiration for him. I also love love LOVE the different places he goes on this project, as far as lyrics and delivery. We get some rapping and self-bolstering, but we also get some heartfelt singing and lines about passion and love. “Bamboo” and “clover” – the first and last tracks on MíXD GRēēNS, respectively – are the perfect songs for showing how versatile KAMAUU is.
I also LOVE the music videos from this project. They’re full of BEAUTIFUL people of color (with DARK SKINNED BLACK WOMEN AT THE FOREFRONT!!!), and wonderful earthtones in the setting and styling of everyone in the video. Also, unrelated, but he seems like such a NICE PERSON! And fun guy to be around. Like, how do I become his friend??????
I’m really really looking forward to what KAMAUU comes up with in the future. He has a couple of other projects that I’m going to make my way through, while I’m waiting to see where he goes next. And I think that’s the beauty of his creative process. There’s not necessarily a clear point B. He seems to have just this utter openness for where he wants to go, what he wants to create, and what he wants to do. And I think that’s such an impressive and important way to approach making things. Having that openness and being able to be that fluid allows for so many possibilities that wouldn’t exist without freeing the mind of specific expectations. So I won’t impose any on KAMAUU either. I’ll just be sitting here waiting for whatever he does. I’m sure it’ll be great.
Featured Image Credit: https://www.bricartsmedia.org/events-performances/bricxhome-performance-kamauu
(listen to TheKAMAUU-CASSETTE: MíXD GRēēNS on spotify by clicking the image below)
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