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New Native Rapper: Keep It Real

Kyoto’s Native Rapper excels when it comes to the small details. Last year’s triumphant Mass Maker EP hit immediately for its celebratory mode centered around netlabel artists, but subsequent listens also reveal a release full of strange little details and sudden vocal twists. This latter point feels more pronounced on Keep It Real, an album pushing Native Rapper’s singing more to the forefront. The rubbery “Midnight Dreaming” features all sorts of nice vocal swerves, ranging from Native Rapper shooting up a register suddenly or a rap sample dropping in out of nowhere (“creepin!”), adding some unexpected energy to the song. The title track plays around with space — busy one second, near silent the next — with all sorts of pitch shifting adding some unease to the party. Yet the highlight is the one song bucking expectations — “Imasara,” featuring Lulu in a collab that brings out the best in both. A good step forward for an artist with loads of potential. Get it here, or listen below.