The Internet, Kilo Kish
In September, Odd Future subgroup The Internet (producer Matt Martians and DJ/producer/engineer Syd the Kid) quietly released "Love Song - 1." Already a pretty wisp of a track, Syd elevates it to remarkable. Her voice touches the notes the way you stroke a sleeping baby, and in a scant minute and a half, she captures the entire range of emotion -- confusion, ache, resignation, hopefulness, yearning -- that characterizes the breakup conversation. It's so intimate you almost blush.
But we wondered then, could the one member of Odd Future who seemed to prefer being behind the boards and decks step into the spotlight? Would she be able to command the stage of their first-ever live show without the chaos of the rest of Odd Future there to fill up space?
Syd is not a likely star. Well, first of all, the obvious -- she's an openly gay woman in hip hop. She hasn't been scrubbed and finished with five coats of MAC Lipglass like most young R&B wannabes. Nor is she descended from that earth-mama Erykah Badu tradition. At certain moments last night, like when she crooned, "Why you gotta be a cunt for?", she had the same twinkle in her eye as Jill Scott does. But Syd doesn't have a powerhouse voice. None of that matters. She's a star.
Opening for The Internet was Kilo Kish, the New York rapper/budding muse/recent fashion school graduate who made a cute appearance on The Jet Age of Tomorrow's Journey to the 5th Echelon as well as imbued a track on Vince Staples' Shyne Coldchain Vol. 1 with a lush otherworldliness. At the beginning of April, she released an EP produced by Martians and Hal Williams, Homeschool, that mostly flew under the radar - a couple girls murmured, "Who's that?" when she walked out last night.
She lilts more than raps; on standout track "Navy," the insistence of her little-girl singsong stands in perfect contrast to the fairly complex lyrics and shimmery production. New to being onstage, she seemed a bit nervous, and a couple of times even was off-key. But her smile feels like a gift; and her presence is earnest and, appealingly, a little nerdy.