By Daniel Winogradoff, Albums Editor
Little Rock, Arkansas is not especially known for fostering creative outlets for artists. However, pop culture consumers – specifically those fond of Childish Gambino, Isaiah Rashad, photographer Tyler Mitchell or HBO’s hit series “Insecure” – certainly recognize Kari Faux, Little Rock’s current champion of sound.
Following her 2016 debut album, Lost En Los Angeles, Faux is back in the game with her impressive seven song EP, Primary.
Primary is refined and ambidextrous. The juxtaposition between sexy New York, disco-inspired 808-packed jams and Faux’s airy, liquored flow makes for an entertaining listen full of swagger and smooth vibes. However, due to its short nature, the wasted spaces on this project are easily tracked and exposed.
The EP opens up with “Facetious,” Faux’s tone-setting track. After losing her phone in the club, Faux sings and raps about living blithely on a night where an ex presumably tries to get back with her. “I don’t mean to be facetious, ‘cause I see that you’ve been trying to reach me, saw your call was urgent, but I missed that shit on purpose,” Faux recites on the hook. The track is supplemented with voluminous drums and lonesome guitars programmed and produced by E-40 and Isaiah Rashad collaborator Park Ave. and Gage Lane.
The next track, the Jerry Paper-assisted “Gotta Know,” is a mesmerizing anthem about self-assurance and being genuine. Faux effortlessly details her individuality as an up-and-coming artist and person. Her buoyant lyricism is on full display, as she raps “Always had to think outside the box/ Gotta keep my debit cause I’m swiping like a fox” and “Shit, as long as I’m breathing/ Pull up to a fancy restaurant and order grilled cheeses.”
Another highlight of the project is Black Party-produced “Lowkey.” With friendly trap claps painting the background, Faux stresses to her new beau to keep their relationship on the DL.
While Faux shows a knack for gregarious sounds and contemporary romanticism all over this project, Faux’s one area of weakness is a lack of vocalic expansion, figuratively speaking. Faux, at times, fails to draw onto certain thematic elements throughout the project. This is most exuberant on tracks like “Color Wheel” and “New Thang.” With repetition being burgeoningly annoying at times on a 20-minute project, listeners can easily be drawn away from the project over time.
Faux does have quite a lot to be excited for. A successful EP could easily thrust her into the spotlight she has so long been yearning for, especially since her Little Rock, Arkansas days. One thing’s for sure: Little Rock is proud of her work and she knows it, rapping “Baby, I’m the coolest thing that’s coming out of Little Rock.”