“Why you acting so cold?” Part of Kelela’s appeal is that she has this Aaliyah-esque quality to her voice that makes it as pretty as blown glass. She’s also not afraid to cut through the bullshit, like on "Melba’s Call" with Night Slugs leader Bok Bok. She wants to snuggle up – who would refuse?
"Do It Again"
Kelela doesn’t waste a word on "Do It Again," another Cut 4 Me standout that’s produced by NA. The beat sounds like you just stumbled on a secret lagoon, and Kelela is the mysterious, alluring mermaid, urging you to stay. The way songs like this sculpt out their own universe is what Kelela so addicting.
"Go All Night (Let Me Roll)"
Vapor rises from this idiosyncratic cut that was chopped in half on Cut 4 Me. The album doesn’t have the happiest sound on every track, but "Go All Night," with its short, quirky Cam’ron samples and the memory of talking all through the night, recalls brighter times. You can find the complete extended version on Solange Knowles’ excellent Saint Heron compilation.
Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda are Ngugunguzu, the highly respected production duo from L.A. who do house, bass music and other experimental electronic sounds. Here they pare it down – finger snaps, shimmering synths, a hesitant 808. Kelela lofts her voice across the chorus as she sings of a dysfunctional relationship, providing yet another example of the ways she can utilize her vocal chords.
A beacon of light blinks like radar, searching for a kindred spirit to join in the dead of night. "Cherry Coffee" drums up more feelings than many of us would like to admit we harbor. Strings creep in like waves calming after a storm. A bassline traces a path through the darkness. “That’s the hardest part, seein’ in the dark,” sings Kelela, before crooning a time-halting hook. Picture this song as a final boat ride to a lonely lighthouse as steam escapes the ocean in the early morning. "Cherry Coffee" is a perfectly epic, heartbreaking way to end the masterpiece that is Cut 4 Me.