Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Kali Uchis delivers soulful R&B on her debut studio project

Review Rating: 3.5/5

R&B and Soul music have always gone hand in hand ever since its origins in the 1950’s.

Throughout the years, notable artists such as Stevie Wonder, R Kelly, and Michael Jackson have passed the torch to modern R&B stars such as John Legend, Frank Ocean, and The Weeknd.

However, behind the mainstream lies an underground superstar in the making in Kali Uchis who has quickly gained a prominent fan base with her soulful voice, over “oldies” samples and experimental instrumentals.

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Uchis, who is of Columbian descent yet was raised in Virginia, released her debut studio project “Por Vida” for free on February 4.

The 9 track EP features a variety of R&B tracks mixed with elements of pop, reggae, and even hip-hop, as Uchis channels her inner soulful voice, a la Billie Holliday.

The EP is led by Uchis’s popular single “Know What I Want”, a reggae-pop like anthem about an ex-boyfriend who should’ve never had the chance to date Uchis.

The track is catchy all around with its up-tempo instrumental, angsty lyrics, and the hilarious line “Should have left you’re a** in the friend zone.”

Uchis is at her best with her other hit single “Lottery”, in which she sings a dreamy pop melody about asking a love interest to take a chance on her.

Among other things, “Por Vida” features great production including two tracks (“Call Me”, “Speed”) produced by Odd Future rapper, Tyler the Creator.

“Speed” features a bass-boosted hip-hop instrumental created by Tyler that goes perfectly with the voice of Uchis, while “Call Me” is a slow yet catchy down-tempo song that will have listeners in awe as they hear the personal feelings Uchis talks about throughout the duration of the track.

Fans of Odd Future will be able to recognize the one of a kind Tyler production, as Uchis and the popular rapper got together in the studio when she decided to move to Los Angeles from Virginia.

Another catchy tune off “Por Vida” is the hip-hop type track “Ridin Round”, which features Uchis rhyming away her personal angsty feelings, and even cussing at times such as in the line “F— me over , I’ll f— you worse and take off to Japan.”

Despite the unique combination of certain instrumentals and Uchis lyrics and voice, “Por Vida” does not have the complete “wow” factor, as a few of the tracks are way too slow and repetitive.
Uchis is still however progressing and working with different elements of music outside her comfort zone, something that has been definitely noticeable when comparing “Por Vida” to her previous mixtape “Drunken Babbles”.

“Por Vida” is no doubt, definitely worth a listen or two, and Uchis is definitely somebody to keep up with as her popularity increases, and may become the next big thing for the next few years to come.

You can stream “Por Vida” below via Soundcloud.

Music video for “Know What I Want” via YouTube.

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