Cloak of Anonymity

Exclaim! - - REVIEWS - MATTHEW BLENKARN ERIN LOW­ERS

Leikeli47

Wash & Set

Since her first sin­gle, “Miss Amer­ica,” back in 2012, Leikeli47 has en­veloped her­self in a cloak of anonymity. While her LK-47 mix­tapes gar­nered the Brook­lyn rap­per a unique fan base, in­clud­ing the likes of Di­plo and Jay-Z, her de­but LP, Wash & Set, is go­ing to hold it. At 14 tracks, the record ex­plores the quirky dy­nam­ics of who Leikeli47 is: cre­ative, mys­te­ri­ous, dy­namic, loud and un­mis­tak­ably fem­i­nine, de­spite be­ing masked by a bal­a­clava. She sub­verts typ­i­cal no­tions of beauty both through her ap­pear­ance and her mu­sic, as on bouncy ti­tle track “Wash & Set” and the ec­cen­tric “Money,” where Leikeli speaks to fi­nan­cial free­dom. Sim­i­larly, the grungy “Braids tuh’ da flo(w)” of­fers a care­free an­them for women — es­pe­cially black women — to feel good about them­selves, while the soul­ful “Miss Me” could eas­ily pass as a breakup song or world takeover heater. Whether Leikeli47 is ex­plor­ing the realms of house mu­sic on the en­er­getic “At­ti­tude” or show­ing her West In­dian roots on “Bub­blegum,” which pays homage to Ele­phant Man’s “Pon De River,” Wash & Set serves up

new­found synth-pop flour­ishes. Strik­ing a bal­ance be­tween sin­is­ter and com­fort­ing, it’s a com­pelling sign that Cold Specks re­mains an artist to watch. (Arts & Crafts, arts-crafts.ca) a hot plat­ter of up­tempo beats from var­i­ous gen­res, all bol­stered by Leikeli’s con­ta­gious hooks. (Hard­cover/RCA)

With the world in dis­ar­ray, how do you keep pos­i­tive enough to make the mu­sic that you do?

It may sound a lit­tle deep, but you of­ten just have to die within your­self. I just have to kill cer­tain things — cer­tain en­er­gies, feel­ings and emo­tions as they go. It’s tough, but it’s a method that I’ve prac­ticed over the years. One thing I don’t let my­self do is sit and sulk in any kind of neg­a­tiv­ity that will hin­der me flour­ish­ing or climb­ing. I’m glad that I’m at a place where I can brush a lot off, and am able to put that in the mu­sic.

You’ve been wear­ing a bal­a­clava your en­tire ca­reer. Do you think it’ll ever come off?

I don’t know. I just want to say with that, only time can tell. I don’t know where I’m gonna go with it, I re­ally, re­ally don’t. But if there is a day when it phys­i­cally comes down, hey, it is what it is — we’re just gonna con­tinue to party. The party won’t stop.

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