Kaiit takes her place as the must-watch artist of the year with ‘OG Luv Kush, pt. 2’
After the breakout success of her 2017 singles ‘Natural Woman’ and ‘2000 n Somethin’, the Papua New Guinea-born, Melbourne-based singer KAIIT was rightly hailed as one to watch for 2018. Now, she’s given us the first indication that she intends to deliver on that promise in the form of her first single for 2018, ‘OG Luv Kush, pt. 2’, an honest portrait of a breakup that details the paradox between missing someone and knowing you need to move on regardless, between loving them still and knowing that the relationship is holding you back.
A sumptuous instrumental, adorned with lush, dripping vintage keys, a buttery bass line and some light percussive backing gives way to Kaiit’s low-key virtuosic vocal performance and her nimble, evocative storytelling and impressive lyricism. The paradox of trying to move on from an ex you still miss takes some people months to emotionally untangle, but Kaiit condenses the bittersweet pang down to an apt two lines: “You’re never really on my mind / I just think of you from time to time.”
The interplay here between lyrics and instrumentation represents Kaiit’s songwriting at its most sophisticated and accomplished yet, with a tranquil atmosphere and Kaiit’s blissed-out delivery, the track shimmers with the kind of rich, heavenly neo-soul and jazz influences that you’ll want to lose yourself luxuriating in. At some points it contrasts against the candid sincerity of Kaiit’s storytelling, such as summing up the dynamics of a relationship with “I feel like I’m your mama / ‘Cause it’s so damn hard just to please you,” but it always provides context to the lyrics (and the lyrics vice versa), acting as both a literal and a metaphorical backing to the emotional honesty of Kaiit’s lyrics.
Along the way she excavates some of the conflicts and anxieties that colour modern romance: the decision to leave someone on ‘seen’; surrendering to the curiosity by stealing your friends’ phone to stealthily check an ex’s socials because you’ve hidden their profile on yours; subconsciously holding out a glimmer of hope somewhere deep inside of you that you might fortuitously bump into them when you’re out on the weekend, even if it’s just so they know how well you’re doing without them.
‘OG Luv Kush, Pt. 2’ is not just Kaiit’s best song to date, it’s also partially a flex – that she can compress this level of lyrical, musical and narrative sophistication into a two-and-a-half minute track doesn’t simply justify her spot on the list of ‘must-watch artists’, it demolishes the list all together.
IMAGE: Lydia Rui