On A Good Night in the Ghetto, the young Oakland MC Kamaiyah captures lightning in a bottle. Confident and nuanced, it’s a self-contained piece of Bay Area hip-hop with clear lyrical nods to Too $hort, as the funkified, fleshy beats recall DJ Quik.
Kamaiyah chronicles her young life via a series of drunken and stoned nights (“Out the Bottle”) and a supply of sexual conquests (“Niggas,” “Break You Down”) that are notable in how bold and plainspoken she is about them.
Kamaiyah’s style descends from fellow West Coast rappers like Suga Free, but it’s also very much her own, blending equal loves of Cali hip-hop and ’90s vocal groups like TLC. Bay Area producers such as P-Lo, 1-O.A.K., and Trackademicks blend new jack swing and radio R&B samples for this young, agile rapper. The YG-featuring “fu-Ck It Up” and life-affirming hit single “How Does It Feel?” leap out of the speakers and onto many DJ sets, but it’s the overall triumphant vibe of A Good Night in the Ghetto that merits repeat listens. –Matthew Ramirez