Kari, you is kind.
Kari Faux is a lyricist, performer and all-around creative from Little Rock, Arkansas. With eyes on her after her last EP Laugh Now, Die Later and a co-sign from Childish Gambino himself, the newest member of Royalty’s multifaceted clan is due for a project that embodies her true identity as an artist. Finally, Kari Faux has dropped Lost En Los Angeles from a smoggy sky somewhere in California with hopes to shine a light on the curiosities, setbacks, accomplishments and inclinations that come with the voyage through life as a young adult. Musically, LELA is a journey. Just as Kari’s got you in her passenger seat and you know just where you’re off to she takes a turn and invites you to lose yourself even more in the music and the message.
After playing Laugh Now, Die Later so much it could be the official score to my Snapchat clips, then listening to Lost En Los Angeles, I noticed that intros and interludes are popular with Kari Faux. She goes from a dialogue expressing her gratitude for us embarking on this musical journey that is LELA to an inner monologue reminding her to call Granny Faux. With bongos to massage her into our stream of consciousness, Kari reassures us “focus and breathe” and “nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
“Lost En Los Angeles. I’m just tryna find my way.” – Lost En Los Angeles
Our first track greets us with siren like synths and a bounce that any Hoover St. affiliate would be proud to twist his fingers to. This track definitely highlights the impact California has had on the Little Rock raised lyricist, from its Moog-esque sub synths and funky guitar riffs to the lyrics mentioning the Cali smog and damning the LA traffic. You thought you ran out of tracks to flip switches to in your 1968 candy paint drop-top Deville; then Kari came through with Lost En Los Angeles. Thank you, Kari. You is kind.
“Life is like a movie clip, but I don’t need no fuckin script. From an ugly duckling now I’m shining like The Vegas Strip.” – NADA
Well into NADA, and I’m starting to feel like “The Kaliforniation of Kari” serves as an appropriate alternate title for LELA. The whole sound and vibe becomes reminiscent of Ice Cube’s Good Day (if it were written by a black female millennial with a thumb on pop culture). However, with Law of Attraction, I can feel the mood easing out into something new. Me being a sucker for some good ol’ off-key crooning, Law of Attraction morphed my screw face into an endearing crooked smile. Dreamlike, sultry, yet still playful, Law of Attraction isn’t your average “baby, baby please” track. The 22-year-old musician mixes teen-like romantic impulse with adult-like sensuality, making Law of Attraction the perfect single for a chick who’s not afraid to approach a potential bae.
“You know I got that futuristic fire. You know I got that shit that takes you high up. Come see me, I’m your supplier. Giving you the vibes that you desire.” – Supplier
You thought you’d never find another song that essentially said “nigga please, you know I’m the shit” but in a classier way, with a cup-of-wine cadence. Then Kari gave you “Supplier”. Again, thank you, Kari. You is smart. Supplier is a two-step starting 80s like groove. Honestly, if you knew a pimp named Butter Brown, who bathed in molasses every Sunday and only allowed his hoes to cook with non-stick pans this shit would still be smoother than him. The official video for “Supplier” builds on the 80’s vibe aesthetically with cheesy double exposure shots and male band members in terrible wigs. By all means, go ahead and tell us how we really feel about the 80’s Kari. Sonically, Supplier gives us a funky, vintage vibe. Visually, Supplier is an ode to a Soul Glo commercial. If you love Kari for nothing else, let it be for her gift of fluidity across media.
If Supplier says “you know you want me,” “Don’t” absolutely says “you got me fucked up.” No… really… Faux hones in on that familiar feeling when a nigga “gets comfortable” and consequently “gets you fucked up.” As the keys play an almost ambient melody. The Royalty label-mate comes through with a jocular, yet sassy chant, “don’t be a head-ass, don’t be a head ass nigga.” With Don’t Faux romanticizes the not-so-inside joke that a nigga will naturally, eventually try you. I’m here for it. It’s realistic. LELA is an exploration of familiar experiences and realizations, less talked about existential curiosities and hood vernacular. “Don’t” is a fitting employment of a few of those above.
“There’s a method to my recklessness. Never gave a fuck bout being elegant. Why you out here fighting to be relevant? I’m just out here tryna pay my fucking rent.” – Nothing 2 Lose
I think with LELA, Kari poses a handful of introspective questions. One of which is, if the lot of us are lost in life why can’t we embrace and share that insecurity as a means to form a virtual community and a sense of togetherness? This is something she addresses with The LELA Project. Seemingly an inclusive, introspective extension of the identically titled opus, The LELA Project allows Kari to interview subjects with one commonality: being lost in Los Angeles. Interviews include photographer Ibra Ake and comedian Quinta B. The soul-searching interviews are an extension of the concepts behind LELA and further exemplifies Kari’s creative approach to her craft.
“If you ain’t come to dance then why the fuck did you come? You paid to get up in this bitch but standing there looking dumb. You posted with your friends against the wall. Keep looking at your phone knowing ain’t nobody call.” – This Right Here
When it comes to hooks, Kari damn sure delivers. I mean “No Small Talk” was so popping Gambino had to hop on it. This right here is definitely going to have my red cup in the air and my box braids, swaying. And that’s the point. After a more mellow, gloomy “Nothing 2 Lose”, “This Right Here” comes on and reminds us not to take ourselves so seriously, relax and enjoy the moment.
The rest of LELA, and the whole project for that matter, is an excursion through the feelings about self-doubt, dating, drugs, partying, happiness, confidence and all the things that come with navigating life as a 20-something year-old without much of a map. Kari Faux’s Lost En Los Angeles is an exemplary model of what happens when you give a young black female artist a label’s backing and creative freedom. LELA is for anyone who can appreciate art-hoe bangs, as well as box braids. It’s for products of the Soulja Boy generation that can still enjoy a decent Jazz ensemble. I particularly like that Faux does not allow herself or her projects to be boxed in by one sound. And somehow despite shape shifting her delivery along her tracks Kari stays in character, weaving in and out of each song with flow and cadence, likening her to a love child between Donna Summer and Gangsta Boo.
The Childish Gambino protégé is developing on all platforms and LELA is an invitation to get lost and consequently grow with Faux. It is a much necessary bridge between the carefree black girl and careful artist. Thank you, Kari. You is important.
Words by Germany “Snap” Lancaster