Kamaiyah brought some refreshing California sunshine on A Good Night In The Ghetto, but hailing from Oakland, she’s endured some unavoidable dark days. The tape is mostly feel-good Cali breeze complete with theramins, warped 808s and 909s, hyphy, Dayton wires, hydros, good tree, and good times. But one of the more sobering songs is “For My Dawg.” It’s an ode to her friend and hypeman James, who died fighting cancer, and her homey Fred who was violently murdered. It’s also a reminder of how quickly and often a good night in the ghetto can go bad.
The Evan Croker-directed visuals, via The FADER, transform the same staircase she’s facing with chips and malt liquor in hand on her album cover to a candlelight vigil for her fallen friends. James and Fred are also resurrected through home footage interspersed with Kamaiyah and crew paying homage while she spits her heartfelt bars with a woeful, candlelit facial expression. To think I just saw James perform alongside Kamaiyah at SXSW this past March completely ignorant that he warmed the stage up for her with cancer leaves me crestfallen. Watch.
A Good Night In The Ghetto is out now.