Kat Dahlia’s “Gangsta” sounds like a single transplanted from the early-mid 2000s, with its street-dusted core and slight Reggaeton influence. The song’s chorus and ominous, instantly familiar keyboard loop even riffs off one of 50 Cent’s earliest hits, managing to capture a lot of that same kind of melodic appeal in the process.
“Gangsta” feels out of step with current trends in urban music, and it’s all the more refreshing for it. Dahlia, a Miami native and signee of Sylvia Rhone, cuts an interesting figure on the track – she’s fiercely independent (“No, I ain’t stuntin’ like my daddy,” she huffs), a wounded soul trying to smoke away the hurt while still perpetually on the verge of breaking into a growl mid-line.
The Samantha Lecca-directed video finds Dahlia cultivating a street-meets-high fashion image while invoking the South Beach/“real Miami” split in a manner not dissimilar to the debut clip from another Miami artist – namely, Rick Ross (see: Gil Green’s gritty 2006 visual for “Hustlin’”). Dahlia’s “Gangsta” is a similarly striking first statement from an emerging voice.