The only woman included in XXL’s 2017 Freshman Class just dropped her first single and video post-cover. If “Build You Up” is any indication, Kamaiyah is sure to be one of the brightest lights in this year’s crop of talent — even if the BET Awards missed out.
Borrowing heavily from ’90s R&B and newjack swing references, Kamaiyah’s bouncy first single from her delayed mixtape, Don’t Ever Get It Twisted, stresses the importance of self-love. Reminiscent of early TLC tracks like “Friends,” “Build You Up” is a true throwback to the positive message joints of the Yo! MTV Raps era.
As a Bay Area resident, there is plenty of love for Oakland throughout the song as well. Kamaiyah’s solo performance shots take place in front of the iconic Grand Lake Theater, and the 2017 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors are well-represented by the throwback jackets and jerseys on her friends.
It’s all in the video: Dancers in oversized jerseys, handheld old school radio, classic BMWs all lined a-la Cash Money records visuals circa 1998, and of course, Kamaiyah, channeling Supa Fly Missy Elliott. For a clip that’s this referential, it should’ve been more difficult to make it look fresh, but the video is so bright, colorful and genuine that you can’t help but get caught up in the effervescent, upbeat vibe.