Kari Faux is rap’s girl next door.
“I’m just normal,” says the 23-year-old. “There’s a male rapper for every kind of dude that exists. There’s not a female artist that every woman can relate to.”
With the release of her debut album, Lost En Los Angeles, the Little Rock-born rapper aims to prove she’s just the artist to fill that void. She and her longtime collaborator Malik “Black Party” Flint first perked up the internet’s ears in the summer of 2014 with “No Small Talk,” a chilled-out flex of a song that features Faux’s coolly authoritative flow over the jangle of a flip phone that Complex deemed “ridiculously catchy.” The track was the centerpiece of the breezy, easy-riding EP Laugh Now, Die Later, which caught the attention of Childish Gambino’s manager. Within a couple of months, Gambino added a verse to the song and the blogosphere went bonkers. By the end of the year, Faux and Flint had packed up and left Arkansas for Los Angeles.
Despite her moniker, Faux (real name Kari Johnson) is all about honesty in her life and lyrics. Born to a teenage mother, she was adopted by a couple who were physically unable to have more children.
“I used to be angsty, ‘I don’t belong here, I’m the black sheep,’” she says, laughing. “But I never had a reason to be like that. It was just hormones. I love my parents to death. I grew up awesome.”
“My dad used to play classical when he picked me up from elementary school. That’s my first memory of listening to music and having an actual feeling and connection to the music,” she said. “I’m all about feelings. I don’t do anything if I’m not feeling it. Anything I make — if it’s not an honest feeling then I can’t commit to it.”
Though she tinkered with rap in high school, it wasn’t until she was 19 that she and Flint began to make music in earnest. They eventually churned out seven tapes, thus it’s only natural that Flint took on the role of executive producer of Lost En Los Angeles. While Kari might have been mentally and emotionally lost in Los Angeles, it’s clear that disorientation didn’t extend to the album.
“This is the kind of music I always wanted to make,” Faux says of her debut. Indeed, the album reveals a new maturity in both Faux and Flint. On songs like “NADA,” Faux’s diamond-in-the-rough flow has been polished to a high gleam. Yet she still retains the relatable persona and lyrics that made her so beloved in the first place. (“I’m no man’s fantasy,” she raps on “Fantasy.”) The production is at turns slick and jazzy, trappy, and trippy.
Get to know Kari in her own words:
My sound in five words or less: Funky Futuristic Fire
Best part of making this video: Watching the giant bass monster come to life.
What inspires your art: Everyday life.
Explain the concept of the song in one sentence: Being in love with me isn’t easy.
Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat? @KARIFAUX
Favorite emoji: rose emoji
Watch her video on REVOLT TV the week of September 19th, and let us know your thoughts by tweeting @RevoltTV and using the hashtag #SpotlightOnREVOLT