I’m not sure what she’s been doing since the global pandemic started, but before that point Kari Faux was definitely a female rapper on the rise. She had been co-signed by Childish Gambino on one of his mixtapes, made cameos on albums by Isaiah Rashad and Syd tha Kyd, and with the release of “Cry 4 Help” in 2019 she seemed poise to jump to the next level. The twist is that the lead single off the release was called “Leave Me Alone” and since 2020 that feels like exactly what everybody has done.
To some degree I get it. Everybody was focused on their own shit for a while. Social distancing, stocking up on toilet paper, worrying whether or not we’d ever spent holidays with family again. It’s now 2023 though, four years since “Cry 4 Help” came out, and I’m starting to think Kari Faux meant that shit. It wasn’t just an artistic statement. She really did want people to just fuck off and go away. Dealing with the music industry can certainly make someone that bitter, even a promising young artist like Kari Faux. “Smoke is all in my lungs/but my judgment’s not that clouded” raps Kari on “In the Air” before noting “Too high to get over on me/You lost your mind — think I found it.” She’s definitely over the bullshit and happy to smoke one and forget all about it. Curren$y slides in for a cameo though so there’s at least one industry figure she still fucks with.
Faux also dropped a video for “Night Time” off this extended play, but as of the publication of this review it had done under 50,000 views. If that’s what made her quit I wouldn’t blame her. I doubt the ad revenue from YouTube even covered the budget to shoot it with those kind of numbers. If a label fronted the advance to produce it with the intention to recoup from the units sold (a far too common practice back in the days — charging artists for the promotion the label should be doing themselves) she’d still be in the red.
To be honest though Kari herself can shoulder some of the blame. The most interesting stuff she does to me is the personal songs like “Latch Key” where she talks about her own struggles and history. The singing tracks don’t do it for me, nor does playing to the male gaze in any way, because the industry is crowded with plenty of female rappers who do both. I want to hear from the insecure girl who says things like “I’m all grown up, sometimes I hate myself/To be completely honest I wouldn’t date myself.” That’s some raw emotional material that makes me pay attention.
If Kari Faux has more songs like that in store I’d like to see her return from “Cry 4 Help” with a full length album on a major with big guest stars and become a household name. Given the history of the music business though it seems like they pick one Doja Cat, Lizzo or Megan Thee Stallion per year to focus on and then move on. Why? I don’t fucking know, it’s bullshit, but that’s what happens. Without another endorsement from Donald Glover her chance may have already come and gone.