Democracy Dies in Darkness

Going Out Guide

Kelow LaTesha: Still on the come up, down for the long haul

By Chris Richards

May 19, 2016 at 10:52 AM

(Photo by Anthony Glover)

Plenty of rappers seem to be embarking on valiant vibe-quests these days, and many sound lost. Not Kelow LaTesha. The rising DMV rapper has released a spate of hazy new songs on Soundcloud in recent weeks, but her sneakers still appear to be touching the ground. Mixing spirituality with trash talk, her most artful rhymes push in different directions while still holding the center.

That's the goal — or at least one of them. After growing up in Prince George's County, magnetized by hip-hop and go-go, Kelow says she'd like her music to reflect not only who she is, but who she's becoming. "I grew up very wild, but always had conscious people around me," she says. "So I want to keep going with my generation, but I also want to show that I'm growing as a being. We're all going to get older. . . . And the older crowd, they've already lived the foolish life. They've already lived everything we done seen."

You can hear similar flickers of youthful wisdom throughout "Amethyst Stoner," the terse and tenacious mixtape she dropped last year. And while fans can probably expect a follow-up before too long, Kelow says she's more focused on her long-term mission. "Eventually, I want to make songs for my grandfather," she says. "Or for anyone's grandfather. I want them to say, 'I like that little girl. She's crazy!' "

Part of the Arcade 2.0 with Al Hostile, Kasey Jones, Ciscero, Tre Pica$$o, Sleepy, Msanii, $ean Thom, Maryle, Osh Ohe and Yang.N.Yin on Saturday at Dance Loft, 4618 14th Street NW. Show starts at 7 p.m. thearcade2.splashthat.com. $10-$15.

[WARNING: The video below contains explicit language.]


Chris Richards has been The Washington Post's pop music critic since 2009. Before joining The Post, he freelanced for various music publications.

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Going Out Guide

Kelow LaTesha: Still on the come up, down for the long haul

By Chris Richards

May 19, 2016 at 10:52 AM

(Photo by Anthony Glover)

Plenty of rappers seem to be embarking on valiant vibe-quests these days, and many sound lost. Not Kelow LaTesha. The rising DMV rapper has released a spate of hazy new songs on Soundcloud in recent weeks, but her sneakers still appear to be touching the ground. Mixing spirituality with trash talk, her most artful rhymes push in different directions while still holding the center.

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