“elegance” By Kilo Kish Review
Kilo Kish raps in stirring whispers and conversational asides. It’s made her a great background player for artists like Vince Staples and Childish Gambino, but has often left her lost in her own solo music. Her early tapes were soft-spoken art-rap musings that were pleasing on an aesthetic level but light on personality. Her last album, 2016’s Reflections in Real Time, ventured in the opposite direction; character-driven but musically scattershot, it was charming but seemed more like thought bubbles swirling around her head than fully formed songs.
Her new song, “Elegance,” is a course-correction. It is the best Kilo Kish song by a considerable margin, and it hones in on what makes her such an enchanting and elusive artist, using her wispy raps to drift through a warped pop jam. From an upcoming EP called MOTHE, which Kish told Paper is “focused more on the intersection of nature and the electricity found in all things,” the song bursts with light and life, her flows tracing around scuzzy but vivid synths. There is a static charge emitted by the production, its wattage producing a fluorescent glow through which Kish’s shadows dance.
“Elegance” is more about form than function, which suits Kish’s strengths; she works best when her hushed voice slips out of the cracks in the beat and into the open air. Kish went to school for design and it shows in her process. The song considers how elegance feels and not what it means, and her performance embodies that grace and style—she imagines the motions of her raps the way ballerinas fixate on their lines, each gesture carefully drawn to the next. With “Elegance,” Kilo Kish reveals a clearer image of herself in the contours of the silhouettes she sketches.