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To my ears, Kokayi is the most versatile musician in the D.C. area. You want beats? Please, that’s light work. How ’bout some alt-rock shit? Done. At this point, there’s nothing Kokayi can’t do: I’ve seen him freestyle an entire set at Liv nightclub and make a damn good video for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert contest. His 2010 album, Robots & Dinosaurs, is a must-have.
Out today, Kokayi’s voice sounds incredibly strong on “History,” the first single from a forthcoming House Studios compilation. Above a sauntering electro-pop beat—courtesy of producers Reggie Volume and Brandon Carlyle—the singer walks through biblical events to describe his romantic feelings. “The first time that I saw your face,” he wails, “the Big Bang happened out in space.” The lyrics are strong here, which isn’t surprising for Kokayi, but they ring louder amidst the track’s bubbling synthesizers. Koke flexes some vocal range as the song fades. You like love songs? He’s got that, too.
Stream “History” after the jump.
Kokayi performs with the El Mansouris in our Summer Music Showcase at AMP, 11800 Rockville Pike. $15.