Cooly G – Playin’ Me

January 01, 1970



Cooly G’s version of “Trouble” is a far cry from the piano-lush,
falsetto’d sentimentality of Coldplay, punctuated by whip-shot electric
percussion and the chilled slinkiness of manicured synths. Cooly G, one of
dubstep’s only female producer/MCs, crosses warm sensual vocals with brainy,
intricate rhythmic syncopation. She somehow makes the song both more
emotionally real and less conventionally accessible than the original, a neat
trick like turning processed cheese into runny camembert.  


Playin Me is the artist’s
first full-length, following a string of well-received 12″s, splits and a
much-remarked solo turn on King Midas Sound’s Without You compilation. Cooly, whose real name is Merissa
Campbell, does it all on these 13 tracks, writing, producing, arranging and
mixing these uneasy concoctions of rhythm, mood and atmosphere. As a singer,
Cooly G proceeds with smooth assurance, her voice as sleek and melodically
capable as an old-school soul vocalist. Yet she contradicts and complicates her
pretty lines with antsy, twitchy, chopped-up rhythms and ominous textures of
synth. “Playin Me” starts with the accessibility of commercial radio pop, yet
is quickly submerged in the trickeries of off-kilter rhythms, the uncertain
undertows of echoey dread. Airy, dreamy “Landscapes” (aided by Sinbad) would
float away if its billowing melody weren’t riddled with the buckshot cadences
of complicated electronic drums. And “Sunshine,” transforms a warm, easy reggae
back beat into something cerebral and spiritual, a caressing daydream heated
just through with sensuality.


In interviews, Cooly G downplays her singular status in a
male-dominated industry. Still it’s not hard to suss out a distinctively female
warmth pulsing through this traditionally chilly genre.   Listen to the way her slippery,
sexually-charged presence shifts the icy percussion and machine-smooth synths
of “Good Times” into sensuality. Nobody’s playing Cooly G. She’s playing
herself – and very well.


DOWNLOAD: “Good Times,”

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