Kia Kadiri Feel This

Trying to pin down Kia Kadiri’s style is like nailing the proverbial Jello to the wall. To say the Vancouver-based singer/MC’s musical approach is different would be disingenuous; to call it fusion would be trendy. Indeed, praises go out to Kadiri’s almost irrepressible music experimentation. Suffice to say, Kadiri — a popular stalwart within the West coast underground scene — is an eclectic mix of R&B, jazz, dub poetry, UK-styled hip-hop (think Monie Love or Floetry’s Natalie Stewart), funk and (dare I say it) neo-soul. Backed by impressively solid production and a more than up-to-the-task band, Kadiri’s 16-track sonic passage covers straight up jazz ("Once Upon A Time”) reggae-tinged hip-hop ("True Soul”), pure R&B ("Bring It On”) and bass ("Feel This”). And with guest stars as diverse as Killa Kela, Abstract Rude and Malcolm Jamal Warner (!?!) pleasantly expect the unexpected. But alas, any musical work has its foibles, and Feel This is no exception. The almost overpowering coffeehouse vibe challenges and threatens to alienate casual listeners used to the pedestrian pabulum currently polluting the airwaves. Also, certain tracks — such as "New Foundation” — while positive and provocatively profound, veer (ever so!) close to parched pedantry with a "preaching to the choir” type mindset. Minor and perhaps insignificant quibbles yes, but nonetheless ones to grow on. All in all, with her debut project Kadiri fires a solid opening salvo to the musical masses. Feel This not only defies categorisation, it demands a whole new category. (Maximum Music)