Hip-Hop is meant to be progressive. Like every other genre, it can stagnate, it can lose its edge, it can stutter. Sometimes it crawls to a standstill. But like all genres, independent artists working within (or, without) that framework will always be there, have something to say, and prove unequivocally - and, vocally, of course - their worth.
K.Flay has somehow managed to fly below the Hip-Hop and progressive Indie radar for a few years now - though she’s been around for over a decade. She’s garnered more attention recently, though, with her debut breakthrough full length, Life As A Dog, and through relentless touring on the EP’s that came before, as well as in support of the album. Just a few years ago, I had the pleasure to witness her undeniable skill, energy, and passion at the now defunct Mad Hatter, and have been a fan since.
Combining heart-on-sleeve lyricism with wit, charm, and a little self-deprecation, K.Flay bounces around effortlessly between beat driven bangers to emotive, dance-y singalongs, to melancholy confessionals, all from the comfort of her own laptop, keyboard, and various other synths, sequencers, and machinery. It’s evocative and refreshing, as you can sense, and very plainly see, the fun she’s having, even if she’s speaking of heartbreak/ache. The fact that it’s simply her and her instruments (and make no mistake, they’re instruments under her guidance) on stage might play awkwardly for some, but regardless the size of the stage, there’s a legitimate air of intimacy to each performance that’s difficult for some full bands to capture, let alone retain as a hallmark of their performance. It’s effortless, and even a little mesmerizing. Fans of independent artists like P.O.S. and many of the others in the Doomtree collective will find a lot to love and appreciate about what she’s doing.
Incredible beats, clever and catchy hooks, and painfully honest lyrics make K.Flay an all-around threat, but her live performance makes her unmissable when it comes to MidPoint this year. Catch her on Sunday night at The Taft Ballroom, 11:00 PM. There may not be a better way to close out this year’s festival.