In the space of just 15 minutes, ambitious South London-based singer-songwriter Kemi Ade leaves quite an impression. Immersed in soul and jazz sounds — in the vein of neo-soul names like Erykah Badu and Jill Scott — Ade's O.W.Nesty EP nails the sultry, seductive, and hip-hop-edged elements inherent to the genre, and does so with an imposing flair.
Opening number "Rare 1" is appropriately funky, complete with snaps, snare and a luscious modern jazz wrapping. Single "Third" unapologetically jacks the vocal swing of Estelle, and soars high in her draft. There's a hypnotic allure to "Asland Wonder Interlude," prepping listeners for the rawness that is the electro-groove tune "The Most" and Jill Scott-esque closer "Remedy." Ade is talented in her own right, but clearly still in the reverse-engineering stage of taking her love of the early Badu-era R&B and crafting a wholly distinct sound of her own.
It's all good though: Ade has the goods, and seemingly the tenacity, to be around for a while. It's a journey in its nascent stages, O.W.Nesty makes it worth getting aboard now. (Independent)