Photo Credit: Jimmy Fontaine
At first glance, young Cali singer-rapper Kyle gives you a modern Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air vibe. Complete with the dimples, loud outfits, and box-mop hair. In case you haven’t heard him streaming through your Pandora or in your earbuds courtesy of fun and catchy singles like “iSpy” featuring fellow “happy rapper” Lil Yachty, Kyle’s feel good style is certainly indicative and manifested in his music.
On his debut album Light Of Mine, he takes you on a light hearted journey of innocent adolescence, youthful love, and the struggles of what young males go through finding themselves all at the same time. As a follow-up to 2015’s mixtape Smyle, the LP keeps you engaged and mostly uplifted throughout the duration as he bounces from drop top highway cruising cuts like “iMissMe”. The chorus flows with a catchy pop feel featuring the talented R&B breakout star Khalid. “Rodeo” is another uptown swing type of jam that reminds you of summertime BBQ’s in the backyard (white tees, flip flops, wine coolers and sundresses). These and other standout tracks where he blends fun with real youthful honesty is where Kyle is at his best.
“On my last albums, I was very good at telling a specific story but I felt like there was a destination I hadn’t reached yet. With this one, I wanted to make sure that I went more in depth with the lyrics to every song, I wanted to make sure I went more personal and showed people a different struggle,” he stated upon the album’s release.
The fierce yet melodic “Ups And Downs” which is one of the best tracks on the album (And also a tribute to good friend and rapper Kid Cudi) is a fabulous self-serving example of this as he raps:
“Truthfully, honestly, I am a mess / I am depressed, I am obsessed / With self-deprecating and blamin’ myself / Socially lyin’, denyin’ the help.”
Then between the comfortable bass booming snares of “Zoom” he takes you through a speeding tunnel of self-identifying thoughts in his mind crooning:
“And I zoom right on past my problems / I ain’t got no time to solve em’ / GPS my way back to myself, I thought I lost it.”
For the hip-hop heads, “Games” is probably the closest to authentic hip-hop that Kyle gets and is already a fan favorite as he confidently boasts lines like, “I wanna rhyme like Busta, sing like Usher.”
The track “Babies” with the sultry singer Alessia Cara though a nice record, the sentimental efforts is where Kyle tends to fall short. Though Kyle has an excellent knack for light-hearted humility, the song lacks substance and if not for Cara’s vocals, it would have been a complete miss.
In the end, Light Of Mine is a fine debut. The ability to draw the listener in through fun and uplifting honesty is not an easy thing to do for any artist, but this is where Kyle sets himself apart and shines the most. His lyrics are by no means a pity party, but more of a modest sense of relatable self-awareness. Light Of Mine is like riding in your car with all the windows down on a scorching hot day, picking up a tall glass of fresh squeezed iced lemonade on the way home, and then taking a nice long sip. Refreshing indeed!