REVIEW: Kah-Lo – The Arrival EP


Born Faridah Seriki, she was nominated for ‘Rinse and Repeat’ by DJ Riton in the Best Dance Recording Category. This came after the song peaked No. 13 on the UK Singles Chart. Interestingly, her relationship with Riton started with Twitter DMs when both artists were living in New York.

Her style is the rap-talk mould that got acts like M.I.A and Santigold popular. Usually, she goes with Electronic Dance-worthy Pop-rap styles that brought Azealia Banks and Dev to the limelight at the start of the last decade.

But interestingly, she says that she is not a rapper. When she started making music, she didn’t think she could sing properly, so she started rapping with inspiration from Ikechukwu. Born and raised in Lagos, Kah-Lo comes from an affluent background. From her teens, she started traveling across the world and got signed to Interscope Records.

On June 11, 2021, she released her debut EP, The Arrival, which comes just as EDM is starting to gather pace in her home country, Nigeria. From ‘Rinse and Repeat’ to her debut EP, Kah-Lo’s Nigerian heritage and upbringing is heavily reflected in her western-influenced Nigerian accent. Although many might see the retention of her accent as an intentional accident.

In fact, ‘Commandments’ sees her interpolate the popular Nigerian recital, “17, 18, 19 bobo…” as “17, 18, 19 baby…

Topically, ‘The Arrival’ is an acquired taste with an experimental version of Dance music. While her lyrics might go over most people’s heads, she is actually an astute lyricist who pays attention to details.

On the party-themed ‘Ouch’ and ‘Fire’ which seems to document the mindstate of a young woman who’s about to go out for a hedonistic night. Her story is so intentional that she documents what the woman wears. However, what will attract many will be her rhymes and the legato riffs around her hook.

She might have questionable lines like, “I look so fire bitch, I am the lines…” but her music isn’t built on attractive lyrics. In essence, her music is the lamba of Rap music where lyricism isn’t the main focus but the attraction of the overall music, led by a powerful or resonant hook. In a lot of ways, her music is inspired by Afro-pop. Indeed, she also knows how to produce the rhymes that elevate a listener’s experience.

The best song on the EP is ‘Spaceships’ featuring The Knocks. Opening up to Pop riffs and Hi-hats and snare-focused percussion, the beat is defined by its melodious bass and buzzing riffs around 00:39. She sings a lot about elevation but on this song, she crashlands unintentionally.

But creatively, the ‘Commandments’ she blurs out on track four is the best song on this album. Led by a popular TikTok trend from 2021, she wants to see women go down on the dancefloor. Across the EP, she also understands when to switch from bland percussive music to eclectic melody-infused dance music.

Clear examples are the riffs around the hook of ‘Ouch’ and what started around 1:51 of ‘Commandments.’


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