21 year old ameriKKKen is a force to be reckoned with. Hailing from Indianapolis, the city is not thought of as a major player in hip hop, but local artists such as ameriKKKen herself are carving their own unique sounds and scenes. KHAOTIC is an impressive debut, forgoing flashy, over the top production in favor of luscious, twinkling beats suitable for a smoke session with friends in your bedroom or a romantic car ride across the city.
Despite KHAOTIC's accessibility, ameriKKKen does not shy away from heavy handed subject nature, effortlessly weaved in between tales of love and success. "Silver Lining", the album's dynamic ear worm of an opening track, starts with her saying "Turn me up some?/ Nah, I don't mean like literally./ I know that's some cool shit rappers like to say to get in their zone and shit.", a light hearted nod to tropes in hip hop and the pressure to conform to such standards as an up and coming artist. ameriKKKen then takes listeners onto a heart wrenching journey of devils and demons. What is most admirable about this track is the self awareness ameriKKKen possesses, whether in the humor at the beginning of the track or her reflections on the pressure to fix her life decisions. It is a beautiful show of vulnerability to set the slow burn into triumph of the rest of the project.
"Who Do You Love?" incurs aural whiplash as listeners go from the powerful line delivery in "Silver Lining" to the sensual and smooth delivery of the hook. It tells the increasingly common story of a woman shooting her shot, interrogating a potential partner for one night, or many more, of late night talks and love. However, ameriKKKen takes it a step further, wishing to know about hopes, dreams, and fears. It sounds like emotional foreplay, digging into the psyche of a crush to get at something larger. Her silky vocals become more prominent throughout the project alongside her punchy delivery, with this talent not acting as a background aid.
In many ways, ameriKKKen feels like a hidden gem that can coexist with current powerhouses such as Rapsody, Summer Walker, and the slew of female-identified musicians effortlessly blending together old and new sensibilities into the modern age. She is confident in her talents, and KHAOTIC is a brilliant introduction into her arsenal of detailed storytelling.