Back to the Basics with Kari Faux

When we hear about rappers from the south, we tend not to include Arkansas in that conversation. That’s mainly because there are so few representatives from the state but that’s changing. Kari Faux is her name and she’s putting on for Little Rock, AR. Her catalog dates back to 2012 yet she started making wider strides in 2014 with her mixtape Laugh Now, Die Later. It featured 10 tracks of southern style hip hop infused with electronica. She produced most of the tape with the exception of a two songs. The track that began creating her buzz was “No Small Talk”. It was then remixed by Childish Gambino on STN MTNLaugh Now, Die Later definitely was an emphatic introduction of the rapper and her style. She went in, no holds barred, as her conversational flow pulls you in to listen.

“Spendin’ money, make it bounce back like Spalding / Got a new nigga and he say he from New Orleans / If he ain’t talkin’ money nigga, why the fuck you talkin’ / All my bitches bossy, all my diamonds flossy” – Kari Faux in No Small Talk

In 2016 she released her debut album, Lost En Los Angeles. This was an ode to her experiences as a new resident to the notorious city. She includes tales of dealing with guys who just fall below the bar in tracks like “Fantasy” or “Lie 2 My Face”. There are moments of triumph as well where she describes exactly why she’s the illest. “Nada” is a funky track in which she reminds you that trivial things won’t slow her down. Kari is consistent in her flow and delivery. Nonchalant, yet self-assured, her easy-going demeanor is inspiring.

No, you aren’t hearing things.

You’ve probably heard her music on Issa Rae’s Insecure which featured “Lie 2 My Face” from this album. She also made “Top Down” for the show. “Lowkey” made an appearance in season two of Insecure as well. She’s also featured on The Sun’s Tirade by Isaiah Rashad and snagged another Gambino collab with Awaken, My Love!  The best part about Kari as a rapper is that she doesn’t take herself too seriously. You can hear that she’s having fun with her music and see it in her visuals as well.

A Closer Listen to Primary

Primary is the latest EP that she released on Sept. 15th. This is probably the funkiest hip-hop project I’ve heard in a while besides Snoop Dogg’s BUSH. A spirited bass lines the first track, “Facetious”, accompanied by groovy keys and her calm voice carrying a sweet tune on the chorus. This song deals with her interactions with a young man who thought her time was free to waste. Before the beat drops, her phone is ringing and she complains “why are you calling?”. Not only can we hear the exasperation in her voice but we can feel it. A notion we all related to at one point in our adult lives, once you move on, the phone starts ringing again.

“Just please stop calling me ’cause you been having yo’ fun (You been having yo’ fun) / Runnin’ ’round town with a girl who can’t even keep her hair done (Even keep her hair done)” – Kari Faux in Facetious

“Color Wheel” is a personal favorite. This song details a relationship that’s flourishing and growing. She called on Matt Martians of The Internet for production and I couldn’t think of a better collaboration. Bouncy snares and subtle hi-hats paired with a sultry bassline and guitar are married perfectly to convey the butterflies of a budding love. Kari expresses how she’s enjoying her beau’s vibe but also, how well it complements her own.

“He calls me yellow ’cause he say I always bring the sunshine / My future baby’s be the reason that I stay on my grind
But in the mean time I collect coins and stack green / Crisp blue faces take me places that I’ve never seen” – Kari Faux in Color Wheel

I appreciate the metaphor she used of her relationship being a color wheel and the wordplay which incorporated primary colors. There are many things to learn from Kari and about her—through her music and style. Unapologetic in everything she does, Primary sets a new personal bar. This EP is available on Apple Music, Spotify and Soundcloud.