If you know Kokayi, then you know he’s a proud D.C. dude with the city slang and rich historical knowledge to prove it.
But if you follow his music, then you know he isn’t boxed in by hip-hop or go-go, opting instead for pulsating compositions that blend rock, pop, and EDM into the mix.
His stellar Robots & Dinosaurs album was reflective and somber without sounding schizophrenic, and the subsequent remix EP felt like a straightforward dance record. In May, Kokayi released a bunch of his old beats just for fun, yet none of them felt stale or outdated.
So he pretty much does what he wants. Therefore, you really shouldn’t be surprised by Koke’s new album, Pacific Coast Highway. Released today, the summery instrumental project is designed to take listeners on an aural road trip from San Diego, Calif., to the state of Washington. Its 19 songs are mostly upbeat, with just a few calm moments (“Monterey County,” “Florence2Yachats”). Elsewhere, Kokayi gets creative on “213-LBC,” using the voices of his children to layer the beat (his son says “b-b-b-beatbox” and his daughter yells “get excited!” throughout the song).
The weather is expected to be nice tomorrow, so consider Pacific Coast Highway a breezy transition into your weekend. If nothing else, maybe it’ll inspire you to drive along the California coastline. The album is now available on Kokayi’s Bandcamp page and on iTunes next month. Or you can listen below.