The concept for this playlist was built around the line in the opening track by Chance The Rapper that says “I woke up this morning / I woke up this morning / Gotta smile when I say that shit / I woke up this morning!”
I’ve been thinking a lot about that line since I first heard the song. I could go into a long monologue about ‘what a time it is to be alive,’ but honestly I don’t feel like sharing all of that today in my own words. I’ll share a few, but mostly I wanted to put together a playlist of songs old and new that sum up my feelings about the world.
It’s funny – I think I get a certain way at the end of every year as my team is putting together our Best Songs of the Year playlist; I think it makes me pause and think about what music really means to me. It’s weird to be able to connect so deeply to the words and art of people you don’t know at all. But when you do feel that sense of connection, it’s a really beautiful thing.
This is a collection of songs that I feel a connection to. It’s a mix of all-time favorites, recent favorites, and songs by some new artists I’m into. For one reason or another, each song gets me excited to wake up each morning. And I’m thankful to be reminded of what a gift that is.
Covering “Hey Ya!” is probably not the best way to get famous in 2015. Unless, of course, you’re KAMAU, who has given us such a wonderfully organic and left-field take on André 3000‘s classic that it could stand completely on its own.
Slowing the pace down considerably and replacing the instrumental with a crunchy, vocal heavy beat, KAMAU takes the frenetic love song and turns it into a soulful, meandering groove. Booming vocal harmonies give “Hey Ya!” depth and dynamism, but KAMAU’s presence on the mic is never overshadowed by the moving parts around him.
A resonant, but understated piano gives the outro some added lushness, and KAMAU tacks on some pretty stellar bars to round out the proceedings.
“We rose like a rose from a stone under fluorescent light/Love like glass in the water, and we thought it was ice,” he spits on a verse filled with gorgeous, well-developed imagery.
KAMAU has a new EP in the works, and if every track reaches the soaring heights of his “Hey Ya!” cover he could easily be the next name to blow in alternative R&B.