Kelela drops debut mixtape CUT 4 ME, featuring Kingdom, Jam City, NGUZUNGUZU, and more dog-piling the production duties

Kelela drops debut mixtape CUT 4 ME, featuring Kingdom, Jam City, NGUZUNGUZU, and more dog-piling the production duties

An immediate draw of the Night Slugs crew is their seemingly innate ability to churn out brutally funky rhythms conducive to dancing — not normally, but with a certain awkward aggressiveness. Anecdotally, I recall listening to the first edition of their All Stars compilation, and despite taking precautions to ensure my tranquility (donning a microwaved neck pillow and having a nice cup of herbal tea), it was but two tracks into the album before I found myself having an air altercation with a mythical (and, needless to say, imaginary) dragon. That’s what it looked like, anyway. Album complete, and numerous fire dodges later, a realization came: “it wouldn’t hurt for them to soften things up a bit.”

Enter Los Angeles-based vocalist Kelela Mizanekristos, who isn’t officially affiliated with Night Slugs, but whose brand new (and debut) mixtape CUT 4 ME is literally filled with NS (and Fade to Mind) production credits, to quite complementary ends. As it happened, Fade to Mind founder Kingdom had discovered Kelela in Los Angeles, and after being sufficiently enamored, the feeling then spread to such artists as Girl Unit, Jam City, NGUZUNGUZU, and Bok Bok, who are all featured on the mixtape.

Kelela herself was born and raised outside of Washington, DC, and despite third-party insistence to the contrary, she never received formal vocal training during her younger years. Having just listened to CUT 4 ME, I was initially going to remark on her style being a little too subdued given the backdrop, but that feeling quickly faded by album’s end. The emotion subtly becomes apparent. Here’s the release in full:

Cut 4 Me tracklist:

01. Guns & Synths (prod: Bok Bok, Napolian, Tariq & Garfield)
02. Enemy (prod: NGUZUNGUZU)
03. Floor Show (prod: Girl Unit)
04. Do It Again
05. Go All Night: Let Me Roll (prod: Morri$)
06. Bank Head (Extended) (prod: Kingdom)
07. Cut 4 Me (prod: Kingdom)
08. Keep It Cool (prod: Jam City)
09. Send Me Out (prod: Kingdom)
10. Go All Night: Let it Burn (prod: Morri$)
11. Something Else (prod: NGUZUNGUZU)
12. A Lie (prod: Bok Bok)
13. Cherry Coffee (prod: Jam City)

• Kelela: https://www.facebook.com/kelelamusic
• Fade to Mind: http://fadetomind.net

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