Halfway through summer 2020, the youthful Jamaican reggae craftsman Koffee delivered her single “Lockdown” and longed for life after the pandemic. “Where will we go/When di quarantine chime done and everyone contact street?” she sang over an Afrobeats-touched riddim, envisioning a relationship’s future once she and her boo could at long last advance past FaceTime. Its video was comparatively hopeful: Koffee at home, interestingly, in running pants; then, at that point, Koffee hitting the ocean side with a team of companions, blessedly communing out on the planet.
“Me ah go put you pon lockdown/Put yuh body pon lockdown,” she warbled — pandemic balance asking to become summer immediacy.
As the Delta variation spread, however, the expected finish of separation flattened like a party expand. Instead of mope in her jammies, Koffee got to work: Gifted, her most memorable collection and the development to her Grammy-winning Rapture EP, is by definition a pandemic collection, instilling the apathy and vulnerability of this age with an energy it could without a doubt utilize.
Koffee’s modest insight supports her songwriting, with melodies like “Safeguard” and “Sparkle” mulling over weapon savagery and neediness with that equivalent serene goal, her voice solid and valid as she describes sociopolitical real factors and offers herself as a defense against them. “Koffee guard them case,” she sings on “Shield,” and on “Sparkle,” she implores the young to “simply stay alive… I must sparkle, you must sparkle.”
The casual speed of “West Indies,” with its in a bad way down outro, feels like the upbeat memory of a party replayed in sluggish movement, a heartfelt contradiction to the sluggish drudgery darlings rock of “Desolate.” There’s a glad and unadulterated connotation to her music, not least due to her enticing vocal tone, which gives the feeling that she’s kind and liberal as well. For the brutish among us, elevating music can will generally grind instead of rouse, however Koffee hits a wonderful midpoint, liberated from education and never constrained; she’s basically welcoming us into her reality. It’s bright there, and I, as far as one might be concerned, could utilize it.