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Miss Kaniyah’s“ I Look Good”

Miss Kaniyah’s rise to prominence within the underground has been nothing short of meteoric, but if you listen to her new single “I Look Good,” you should be able to pick on the same two things that I did regardless of what you think about big indie hype. First off, “I Look Good” doesn’t show off a player who sounds like the attention she’s getting from the media is going to her head; on the contrary, she sounds more focused in her melding of rhythm and rhyme here than she did in the whole of her critically acclaimed debut, which was also released in 2019. Secondly, considering how much she’s squeezing into the black-and-white parameters of this poppy hip-hop single, it’s a surprise her talents weren’t noticed sooner than they were.

Everything in this single was created to give something over to the sway of the percussion, including the way Miss Kaniyah stylized her verses. I can’t say for certain, but just going off of the role that the beat plays in establishing everything from the emotionality of the material to the cutting tone of the melody as it’s presented at the start of the song, I would have to assume that tempo and pacing were the cornerstones of this release’s initial design. This isn’t to suggest that the lyrics are somehow a throwaway in “I Look Good” at all, but merely to note the intimate knowledge this player has of her depth as a beat-maker more than anything else.

Beyond the grooves in this track, Miss Kaniyah’s singing has a very gentle feel that is even more sensuous than it was the first time I heard it just a couple of short months ago. She seems a little more available to us in this performance as if she’s letting her guard down and gelling with her surroundings in the studio more than even she had anticipated she would be at this point in her young, budding career. She’s shockingly unhesitant when getting after the hook, and whether rapping or giving us more of a soft croon, she doesn’t seem to be shaken by any of the twists and turns that the structure of this composition has in store for her – the opposite, to be perfectly frank.

The momentum growing behind Miss Kaniyah is the real deal, and I think it is all because of the way she’s maturing as a songwriter. There’s no selfishness in her narratives, and although “I Look Good” sounds personal and not derived from the pages of someone else’s book in life, it’s not so insular or cut off from the mainstream as to be inaccessible to us, the general audience. She’s already aware of the value in making herself open as an artist rather than closing off, even if it’s a means of generating original content, and provided she keeps steering away from the shortcuts a lot of her rivals would just as soon take in making their way into the spotlight, I don’t see anything about her swelling good fortune changing toward the negative.

Mindy McCall



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