Just Like the Movies

“Drip water, I was selling’ seafood!” crooned Chicago hip-hop artist Kami. The slender rapper cha cha’s around the stage in all-black, with the exception of his thick blue suspenders. Despite a relatively small crowd at the North Coast Music Festival, Kami seems absolutely stoked to be here. He engages with the crowd with a call and responses, performs short monologues in between songs and smirks when he sees people mouthing the words.

Kami’s music comes from a place of nostalgia. Synths with 80’s inflections fire off in the background and there’s a sense of the pop ballardy of yore in his hooks. As he performed his early evening set, images from Clockwork Orange, Pulp Fiction and other late 20th century  films are projected behind him. His new backing band seemed to to get a kick out of playing classic rock type hooks. He raps about having a bald head like Tupac and about hanging out with girls who look like Anna Nicole Smith.

These sorts of images and reference make Kami sound like an old soul yearning for the golden days.

But Kami is a man of the 2000’s and he proves this with his flow. It’s reminiscent of Lupe Fiasco and Kanye, but with a more millennial inflection.  He crosses genres fluidly by mixing his sentimental bars with indie rock musicians. Kami is a tapestry of influence and he shows it both on and off the stage. He masterfully uses autotune both live and in the studio. “It’s a different way of using my voice as an instrument,” Kami explained after his set. “There’s a lot of experimentations that goes into the little inflections. It’s a different sound.”

Despite a crowd composed of mostly curious hippies, Kami decided to flex his rap chops. He brought out fellow SaveMoney artist Joey Purp to do his verse on Kami’s new single “Reboot”. SaveMoney is a Chicago rap collective by Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa. There was even some speculation that Chance might appear as well, but Purp was a more than adequate special guest. Purp performed his hit single “Bag Talk” while Kami danced in the background.

Kami closed out his set with “Just Like The Movies”, his most popular track, to an excited crowd. When asked what his interpretation of the title was, Kami used it as a means to explain his general philosophy of making music and storytelling. “If you take someone’s life from start to finish, you’ll probably have an interesting enough story to put it on and let people watch it.”


By: Caleb Brennan