Since her first single, "Miss America," back in 2012, Leikeli47 has enveloped herself in a cloak of anonymity, revealing bits and pieces of herself through her music. While her LK-47 mixtapes garnered the Brooklyn rapper a unique fanbase, including the likes of Diplo and Jay-Z, it's her debut LP Wash & Set, released on RCA Records, that's going to hold it.
At 14 tracks, the record explores the quirky dynamics of what makes Leikeli47 who she is; creative, mysterious, dynamic, loud and unmistakably feminine, despite being masked by a balaclava. She subverts typical notions of beauty both through her appearance and her music, as on bouncy title track "Wash & Set" and the eccentric "Money," where Leikeli speaks to financial freedom. Similarly, the grungy "Braids tuh' da flo(w)" offers a carefree anthem for women — especially Black women — to feel good about themselves, while the soulful "Miss Me" could easily pass as a breakup song or world takeover heater.
Contrary to the bouncy deliveries that pervade the album, Leikeli also delivers laid-back, fairy-like vocals on tracks like "2nd Fiddle" and "Elian's Revenge," showing a softer, yet still-stimulating layer to her music. Whether Leikeli47 is exploring the realms of house music on the energetic "Attitude" or showing her West Indian roots on "Bubblegum," which pays homage to Elephant Man's "Pon De River," Wash & Set serves up a hot platter of uptempo beats from varying genres, all bolstered by Leikeli's contagious hooks.
Although she doesn't focus on any particular style or flow, Leikeli47's ear for production and keen sense of melody power Wash & Set from what could've been a sonic disaster to a smooth blowout record. Or, in her own words from "Don't Do It": "I chew the beat up like chicken roti / Another like me? That's unlikely." (Hardcover/RCA Records)