Emerging from the darkness with more calm than adrenaline yet still beholden to urgency, we find the beginnings of Flau’jae’s “Karma” ready to spellbind anyone who comes within earshot of the growing malice in the melody. Long before she and Philly’s 2Rare begin to drop verses against the backdrop via some truly cold rapping, Flau’jae is already setting quite the mood in this track through an instrumental potency that you just can’t find every day in hip-hop anymore. The music here was conceived to get us eager for whatever’s coming at us over the next hill, which, to be fair, this composition sports in droves. There’s no telling what we’re in for before hitting play; this is smart rap for a generation in demand of something more immersive out of pop music.
Flau’jae’s rapping is seamless, and I think it’s obvious that she doesn’t see much of a use for heavy augmentations within her vocal delivery. There’s a bit of modulation, particularly in the midsection of the verses, but the subtle Auto-Tuning doesn’t impede her natural execution. It’s nice to find someone in hip-hop who isn’t as obsessed with manipulating the soundboard as she is creating intelligent content with a cohesive narrative, because in all actuality, this kind of a player has become increasingly difficult to locate in today’s dramatically experimental climate in both hip-hop and the greater independent music world in general.
Try as you might, you’re not likely to hear another groove quite as overtly alt-pop inside of a hip-hop track like that which is in “Karma.” I could be wrong, but I get the feeling that Flau’jae grew up on a mixture of rap and translucent pop, mostly because both she and 2Rare put a lot of energy into making the beats as important to the listener as any of the actual words are. That can’t help but make a critic like myself think of some of the more experimental voices in rap today when considering the concept here; when you’re using every part of an instrumental setup to make your message to the audience clear, you’re no longer working with underground tools exclusively, but something far more alternative.
“Karma” fades away on the whim of a bassline, but even in these indulgent final moments of the song, it doesn’t seem as though Flau’jae is trying to max out a credit that she hasn’t earned yet; she’s got the talent to back up everything she’s doing here and then some. Rap has always been an acquired taste for those of us who can appreciate its most endearing of components, but I don’t necessarily think you need to be an aficionado of the hip-hop genre to have some love for what Flau’jae is doing in “Karma.” She’s got creativity that doesn’t come around every day, and in this single, she’s making it work for her in a fashion I approve of. I hope to see her and 2Rare reunite in the future, but regardless of her game plan, I’ll be sticking around for more.
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