REVIEW: Kitty Cash – Love the Free

artworks-000064895373-ho1ett-t500x500Occasionally people quite like us and let us listen to things in advance. NYC DJ Kitty Cash is one of them – we’re the first people in Europe to preview Cash’s new mixtape Love the Free. This might not seem much cop over this side of the Pond (yet), but the fact that she’s enlisted buzz-generating Kelela and Sampha alongside Vic Mensa and Kid A should get your juices going. Oh, and the fact that it’s downright exceptional.

Before we expand on the greatness of Love the Free, here’s a little crash course (Cash course, if you will… oh, forget it): young Kitty has been a DJ for Rihanna x River Island, Fools Gold, and Boiler Room. She’s toured Europe with Odd Future’s The Internet and her BFF Kilo Kish, after which the idea for this collection hit her. We’re informed that Cash wanted to bring art and self-expression into DJing, longing for the days when DJs would curate a lot more. So she contacted friends and artists she loved, explained her concept to them (some said yes, some said no), the results of which are this tape.

And what a tape it is. From the opening Kilo Kish vocal – a scintillating mission statement and creative reinterpretation of Drake’s Crew Love – we segue into another dark, glorious cut from Kelela (punctuated by Kitty’s trademark meow, of course). “I’d do anything for the high”, she sings over a pernicious beat on The High, solidifying her reputation as one to watch. Phony Ppl take the stage next with some decidedly East Coast R&B, Jesse Boykins throws in a baby-making slow-jam, and then we’re hit square in the face with a killer cut from Jean Deaux, produced and featuring Sampha. It’s blistering DIY, relentless in its production but perfectly balanced between its two vocalists.

It marks the start of a chilled out music interlude, with various artists contributing beats between the smoothest transitions. It seems apparent that Cash isn’t pandering to a niche or audience in particular, instead sticking to her concept and piecing together a collection that wholly reflects her own taste and personality. We’re slammed back to reality with our personal highlight, Kitties with the Ca$h starring Chippy Nonstop (a dead ringer for New York’s other Kitty), before another golden run of tracks to close out the album.

Love the Free feels like an important mixtape for 2013; the nearest comparison to a compilation like this would be the recently lauded Saint Heron from Solange, but even then Cash has curated a collection so varied and consistent that it demands attention. Fresh to death and not a single note out of place, you need this in your life the minute it becomes available. You heard it here first.