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I’m a sucker for a girl and a beat, so it’s not surprising that Kwamie Liv’s “Follow You” caught my attention.

The style of “Follow You” falls somewhere between R&B and trip hop. A soft buzz, like the hum of a failing incandescent light bulb, sets the texture for the track while a head-bobbing drum pattern drives it. It’s an eerie feeling made eerier by Kwamie’s voice, which is hazy like a ghost. You can practically feel her spectral fingers resting cool against your shoulders as a phantasm whispers “I will follow you” into your ears. Then the beat comes in and shit starts getting (corpo)real. The production is great. It’s subtle and moody, but dynamic. It’s better if you have a subwoofer handy.

Kwamie Liv
Photo by Baby Duka

We’re hardly suffering from a glut of trip-hop these days, but part of me feels like we’re repeating history. There was a real female-fronted trip-hop “thing” in the mid-to-late nineties: Portished, the Sneaker Pimps, even the Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Frasier got in on it with Massive Attack for “Teardrop.” All of those bands trended toward a low-end-heavy, dark sound. Sound familiar? Banks? Lana Del Rey? Bueller?

Whether or not you like this depends on whether or not you like sultry, husky vocals whispering into your ear. On “Follow You” Kwamie reminds me a lot of Jennifer Charles minus the extremely amusing sexual innuendos. I love it. To Kwamie’s credit, her cover of The Weeknd’s “What You Need” is pure heat. No one here is afraid of being sexy. At all.

She only has three songs on Soundcloud, which is a little surprising considering how solid they are. What she has released, though, is promising. Her cohort Baby Duka has some…interesting mixes on his own page. “Wahadh Wahatt Waha” is a bumping house track that wouldn’t sound terribly out of place on Mad Decent.

Peep the American Apparel ad music video for “Follow You” below, and keep an eye out for Kwamie Liv’s EP this summer.

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Kwamie Liv