For a lot of artists (even some of the most successful ones) it can take years of evolving as a creative to get to the point where their music, visual aesthetic, and brand all make sense as one. Maybe that’s a product of some artists being inauthentic to their true selves or maybe it’s just extremely difficult to pull off, but regardless of any definitive answer or theory, it’s always impressive to see an artist who is able to build a cohesive world around their music – no matter what stage of their career they are in. And while tons of artists each day sit around and scratch their heads about how to make it all make sense, Brooklyn based singer, songwriter, and producer, Laila!, is running laps around them as she’s seemingly figured this all out before even graduating high school. After stumbling across a sped-up version of the 17 year old’s debut single, “Like That”, on TikTok a few weeks ago, I’ve continued to exist in a state of shock that someone so creative and forward-thinking can exist without everyone knowing about them. Lucky enough for you all, that’s what has brought us hear today, so I’m thrilled to be shining the Lyrical Lemonade spotlight on the multi-talented up-and-comer, Laila!, this afternoon!
Released in mid-April, Laila!’s “Wassup” is an anthem that’s just about the closest thing you can find to a Gen-Z mashup between early Brent Faiyaz and Jersey Club while still managing to stay in it’s own distinct pocket. With an r&b world as competitive as it is right now, the new-wave seems to be in a rush to recreate the nostalgic feel that we once had in the genre in the early 2000s and 90s, however one thing I don’t see is anyone taking that sound and reinventing the wheel with it – this is precisely where Laila! comes in. Incorporating her airy flows and graceful vocal tone overtop of a laid-back, yet experimental beat, Laila! hovers over her own production in such an effortless way in “Wassup” that’ll make you feel too cool for school again. Created almost entirely by herself (alongside her sister, Saniyah), “Wassup” has a vibey, D.I.Y. ethos to it that you can just tell was Laila! in her truest form and element. Throughout the song, Laila! carries a swagger and energy about her that feels so nonchalant within her flows and bars, it’s as if she’s not even trying to stunt but does so anyways. As you can tell in the song’s outro (at the “listen to the beat” section), Laila! is not only making phenomenal music, but she’s having fun with it too and those good vibrations carry over into the music. Speaking on the song’s origins, Laila! had this to say about “Wassup”:
“My song “Wassup” started with the beat; I made the beat months before I actually wrote the song, and when I played it for my 5 year old lil sis and she immediately started dancing, i knew it was the ultimate stamp of approval. It wasn’t until I revisited the beat later and started brainstorming some lyrics with my sister, Saniyah. I was aiming to make something fun, something to speak to what I’m about as a young artist while also showing off my production, and ultimately a song that makes people wanna dance and just vibe to it.”
Unquestionably a future Gen-Z anthem, Laila!’s “Wassup” is an undiscovered gem that deserves as much love and attention as possible because this song and artist are going to go a very long way and this is just the beginning. Be sure to check out, “Wassup”, below!