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Mikayla Simpson, better known as Koffee, released her album Gifted on March 25th.  While it is her debut album, she did win a Grammy for Best Reggae Album for her EP Rapture in 2019.  That EP,  along with the other singles she has released over the past few years, might be best described as contemporary dancehall.  My initial plan was to listen to Gifted a couple of times and then start writing my review, but I just kept playing it over and over again. I was captivated.

Gifted is very different from anything we’ve heard before from Koffee.  She flows from song to song with different styles of reggae including traditional reggae to more of a hip-hop inspired dancehall.  In my opinion, this one has something for everyone.  Some initial reviews suggest that because of the different styles she included, there truly is no flow to the album.  I respectfully disagree and feel Koffee's innovation and out of the box thinking makes the flow work. I love all types of reggae, so her approach on Gifted really struck me.

The first track, "x10" does not start with Koffee, but a simple sample of Bob Marley and "Redemption Song".  It's a nice roots reggae song but has an afrobeat / R&B feel to it.  My favorite track, "Lonely", is a wonderful song that takes me back to the days of 80’s lover rock. "Defend" blends R&B with reggae beats and provides an inspiring message of political activism.  Songs like "Pull Up" and "Shine" share positive messages about never giving up on your dreams (even if you are going through a tough time). "Shine" is a traditional reggae song with a merging of trap. Incredible.

This album is so fresh, so up-beat, with many beautiful moments of joy.  That said, Gifted still carries great messages from song to song. There is a breezy flow to each song, but is not done in a popcorn way.  It instead offers a unique sound makes you smile with lyrics keep you thinking.

Is Koffee the new queen of reggae?  At the present time no.  However,  she may be on her way if she keeps releasing amazing music like this. 

One Love - Todd


Todd Judd

Photojournalist - Pennsylvania

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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