“Joy” is the latest single from prolific Santa Monica artist Leven Kali, who continues to expand his stylistic boundaries while delivering a message of hope.
This West Coast talent has displayed a diverse creativity from the beginning. His debut project 4102, which featured rapper Casey Veggies and producer Thundercat, was wrapped in a fusion of jazz, hip-hop, R&B and funk. Since then, Kali has kept the delivery rate high with four new tracks “Mine”, “Root Of Evil”, “Cassandra” and “Joy”. The instrumentation on these songs sets the listener up with feelgood vibes, and yet the lyrics contain more complex meanings, taking Kali from a good songwriter to a great one.
“Joy” considers the pure despair and the resourceful hope one can feel when confronted by today’s social, economic and political adversities. Throughout Kali sings about racism, immigration, civil rights with powerful lines like “It break my heart every time I turn the news on and see the police shot another young brother.” The track also centers around the theme of self-empowerment, as seen through his backstory of being a determined 18-year-old in the studio. The two messages converge on a repeated line, “Now you might feel it take too long, but we gon’ fight and keep on marching to our dream.”
Marching is exactly what you want to do along to the dynamic funk rhythms. Perhaps, you’ll follow Kali’s lead with a subtle bounce and throwing your hands up with each choral iteration of ‘joy’. Leven Kali is evidently a confident performer, so much so that he doesn’t even feel the need to put down his cup of tea for the camera.