Welcome to Sleeper Hit, a new series where we highlight standout gems from recently released projects. The sleeper hit cannot be the obvious choice. The sleeper hit surprises and thrills us. It’s the one without being too loud about it. We hope you enjoy our selections.
We love to root for Kamaiyah. She’s one of the Bay Area’s best rappers. Since 2016’s A Good Night in the Ghetto, Kamaiyah has put on for the Bay, bringing classic G-Funk sensibilities to the mainstream hip-hop scene. She was validated in 2017, named an XXL freshman.
Now, four years removed from A Good Night, Kamaiyah, 27, returns with Got It Made, a more confident and focused 10-track affair packed with bounce, deep bass grooves, and impenetrable bars. It’s her first project release since parting ways with Interscope last August. In truth, any of these ten cuts, even the intro, could stand to be a sleeper hit. However, within an album full of West Coast bangers, we do have one standout: “Pressure.”
“Pressure” is the anthem on Got It Made. The song—much like the Oakland native herself—is unstoppable and undeniable. “Pressure” drips security and strength, and swagger. Dramatic piano chords usher us into a new and stunting realm for Kamaiyah. The vocal fry she brings when rapping “I love myself / Yeah, I trust myself / I don’t need nobody else” has her sounding like the best villain this side of the country. Bars about going indie and staying hard rain down on us. Kamaiyah sounds hungry, positively snarling on the track with her unique vocal tone. She eats this one.
“Pressure” shines from start to finish, with a chanting outro that gets us hyped to press play again. Hearing Kamaiyah in her confident bag, putting herself on a deserving pedestal, is rewarding. She doesn’t need approval; she doesn’t need anyone; she has herself, and that’s more than enough. “Pressure” is sure to be a treat for fans, a reward for those who have stuck with her—both in terms of quality and content.
“I know my worth, and I’m priceless,” Kamaiyah announces, the “Queen of this Westside shit.” As the beat falls off and Kamaiyah assures us she needs nobody else, we imagine a crowd of fans losing their minds, chanting along, as she packs out stadium after stadium. “Pressure” has all the requisites to be a sleeper hit: quotables, confidence, replay value, and that sterling moment when the listener becomes part of the song. Subtly, Kamaiyah uses “Pressure” to bring us into her journey, and we don’t take her openness for granted.