"Especially if you start being an artist by rapping, it's kind of hard to break that mold," KAMI mused to me earlier this year, discussing his upcoming project Just Like the Movies. KAMI was speaking from experience: He became involved in music as part of the sprawling Chicago rap collective SaveMoney, breaking out on a national level as part of a duo with Joey Purp called Leather Corduroys, but before long his instincts started leading him in another musical direction.
Leather Cords often found him playing the melodic counterpoint to Joey's rap bars—"I was like damn, I'm so good at rapping, but this nigga's better than me at rapping, so what else am I doing here?" KAMI joked to me when I interviewed him last fall—and, as he sat down with producer Knox Fortune to figure out what was next, that sound became more and more prominent. The two bonded over an appreciation of wide-ranging rock and new wave influences. That ultimately led them toward a sultry fusion of synth pop and rap that bends familiar sounds in new directions. Just Like the Movies is like a DIYTop Gun soundtrack set in the future and shot on a camcorder.
"I hate using the word 'experimentation' because it wasn't an experiment," KAMI said. "It was moreso something that I did and allowed and happen versus something that I tried to test. It happened, and I was happy with it. It just was a little different, so when I put it out there, that was the experiment—not the song. People try to always [be like] 'aw, I'm on some different shit.' Like, nah, you just made something that you might not have identified with before."
Just Like the Movies is out to retailers next Friday, May 5, but you can stream the whole thing right here exclusively for the next week. Executive produced by the aforementioned Knox Fortune, who you may also know as the featured vocals on Chance the Rapper's single "All Night," it includes cameos from a few other SaveMoney favorites like Joey Purp, Towkio, Vic Mensa, and Sterling Hayes. As promised, it puts a new spin on the nouveau Chicago rap sound the collective has developed.
"I want people to recognize that it's cool to have a duality to you, to be able to adapt, to be a different person but not just for the sake of being different," KAMI told me last fall. "Things can be natural." When I checked up with him again more recently, he felt even more confident that he had delivered on that goal: "I'm glad that everything, aesthetically, from the visual [side] to the music, turned out the way it did." Stream Just Like the Movies and check out the full cover art below.
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