Sur-PRIZE! Wrap your ears around Kota Bank’s future facing pop mixtape
Overnight, we’ve been treated to a ten track mixtape by NLV Record’s newest signee, singer/songwriter KOTA BANKS. The surprise drop of PRIZE is a collaboration with label mate SWICK on the production, but is more an exploration and showcase of the vocalists’ versatility and zeitgeist grabbing lyricism. Over the collection of tracks, she covers the topics of love, her rise to fame, fuckbois and self empowerment, grounded with shining instrumentals and a firm sense of her own identity.
The title track of the mixtape kicks everything off with a bang, with hyped production and Banks‘ autotuned vocals preaching feminine strength effortlessly. The following tracks, ‘Child’ and ‘I’m It’, make the self confidence trifecta of an introduction, the first featuring the vocal equivalent of an eye roll and the second being a self love anthem for the ages with both guaranteed to get hips moving. Banks’ single ‘Fiorentina’ shines as the only track on the mixtape with a feature, from UK rapper CAPO LEE, with it’s laid back energy melding into ‘Toy’, moving into trap rap territory with her casual flow taking the place of a rapper over top.
Placement of tracks in a mixtape is vital, and on PRIZE everything feels like it’s purposefully placed with every song building off and adding to the ones before and after. The open use of autotune, used more on this mixtape as an extra melodic effect than a crutch, is dropped on ‘Insomnia’ and ‘U Changed’ where Kota Banks shines showing off her range and vocal prowess in her emotive delivery. The final three tracks, ‘New Friends’, ‘Backstage’ and ‘Dangerous’ all clearly define the upper hand Banks has over pop. Every track is completely self contained, packed with metaphor and references within themselves, and delivered with a casual strength and energy that cannot be replicated.
All over PRIZE, Banks’ lyricism and self-assured delivery feels totally effortless, tapping into her own experiences and delivering them with no filter and a cocky attitude. Swick’s unique ear for production is the cherry on top of the whole experience, elevating Banks’ stunning vocals and quippy lyrics into club territory and setting the scene for the story of every track. The theme across all the tracks however would have to be self empowerment; Kota Banks clearly knows who she is, what she deserves and how to articulate it all with a cheeky grin and no holds barred.
Find the new Kota Banks’ mixtape PRIZE on your downloading or streaming service of choice here.
Photo by Tiff Williams.
WORDS BY HOLLY O’NEILL