Wikipedia defines beatboxing as ‘a form of vocal percussion which primarily involves the art of producing drum beats, rhythm, and musical sounds using one's mouth’, but it’s more likely that when you think of beat boxing, images of Rahzel (the one with ‘two voice boxes’?!) and embarrassing white chavs spraying out saliva amongst inaudible noises on X-Factor to a bemused Simon Cowell are instantaneously conjured.
But what happens when it’s chucked in amongst a plethora of talented, and really rather legendary, producers and a new artist who seems to have more creativity than a Goth during an art degree? Something along the lines of an album like ‘Amplified!’
Killa Kela is this beatboxing champ and his debut album is eleven tracks of mind broadening, pleasurable electro. Showcasing Justice-esque dirty dance on tracks like ‘Built Like an Amplifier’ with lyrics like /and my knees hurt from all the times I tried to please her/ rivalling the intoxicating filth of the likes of Peaches.
‘Situation’, ‘Cards and Cheques’ and ‘Couple of Wasters’ fuse 90’s rap with modern hip hop and electro in a sort of Beastie Boys meets Kid Kudi collision. Similarly, ‘Get a Rise’ throws another proverbial spanner into the genre defining works, with Killa Kela teaming up with Hadouken! in one of the most standout tracks of the album due to it’s dirty drum and bass and screamo energy. Even when sliding a more traditional pop dance song into the mix with ‘She’s Sweet’, Kela still maintains an edge that makes it seem innovative and at the forefront of some sort of movement with a retro beat.
The album’s sheer diversity and creative prowess means influences and comparisons read like the NME archives but Killa Kela manages to enhance these inputs, as well as the help from the likes of Does it Offend You Yeah? Frontman and Human League Producer, Martin Rushent, and still stamp his ownership and individuality over the debut with all the power of a rock-filled Nike Air Max trainer.