Updated: Dec 31, 2022
An analytic review of the up-and-coming rap artist Kei's newest single.
Written by Sara Diaz
Edited by Yoko Zhu
Boston-based artist Kei mixes colorful beats and evocative lyrics in her newest single “berserk.”
The syncopated beats in the introduction lay the foundation for the song. It’s an almost “off-beat” sound that evokes the feeling of a rising temper, racing to just “pop tf off!” As Kei starts off the track, her tone can be compared to a certain mischievous innocence. It feels like she’s dangling candy over your head.
Where Kei really goes “berserk” is at the 0:39 mark. Her tone shifts to a more serious and gritty East Coast flow. She simultaneously keeps it light by adding some onomatopoeia when she “spit in ya face, no discussion” and “munchin’.” Her tone shifts yet again at the 1:07 mark with the standout lyrics, “In-sane I go ber-serk.” The flow sounds exactly like an adrenaline-induced heartbeat, the feeling you get after going “berserk.”
The song feels like a pressure-invoked tantrum. There is a layer of innocence and frustration in not being taken seriously. Kei plays with different tones and flows, almost feeling like an artist featuring herself.
Photo Credit: @solely.sadiq
While the tone and high-impact tempo are cohesive with the “in your face” attitude of Kei’s vocals, the sound mixing seems to overshadow the lyrics until the tone shifts throughout the song. The beats and sound are reminiscent of a Kenny Beats-produced Rico Nasty song. It is clear that Nasty’s alternative hip-hop sound is an influence on Kei, and that influence comes through in many of the stylistic choices of the song from the intense production to the vibrant tone of the flow. However, it may teeter the line between inspiration and replication. With Kei being relatively new to the music scene, it can take some time to develop a distinct sound that lets the audience know “that’s that new Kei beat!” “Berserk” lays a good foundation for Kei’s future work, but for now, it may feel like only the skeleton for her greatest potential.
Though Kei is an emerging artist, she is definitely going to keep climbing through the ranks. You should definitely be on the lookout for what else she drops because if you don’t start now, you might go “berserk” when she hits the charts!