The 10 Best Bay Area Albums of 2016: Kamaiyah, 'A Good Night In the Ghetto'

Let's just get this out of the way: “How Does it Feel to Be Rich” is an impeccable song, the type of thing you play to your 13-year-old niece who likes Nicki Minaj and your 45-year-old “there's no good rap music anymore” uncle alike, a timeless jam wrapped in a 1990s vibe, the squirreliest synth bass this side of “Boss Tycoon,” a rhetorical question answered by its popularity, the minitruck anthem that never was, a shot of aural morphine to anyone raised on Bay Area hip-hop.

Which is why Kamaiyah's proper follow-up, A Good Night in the Ghetto, could have been such a letdown. Or, at least, a stale victory lap for “How Does it Feel,” cashing in on its success through remixes and retreads. Instead, it keeps the same subwoofer-in-the-trunk, Members Only-jacket feel, with a bright young rapper on the mic ready to claim her territory.

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Said territory-claiming shouldn't be too hard. This year, Kamaiyah filled a featured spot on YG's “Why You Always Hatin'” from his stellar album Still Brazy, and, in Oakland, opened two nights in a row for Drake. But it's the vibe of the cover photo -- a crew of friends, some liquor, those apartment steps -- that keeps A Good Night in the Ghetto rooted in Oakland soul, no matter how far Kamaiyah's star ascends. Here's to a full-length follow-up.

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Previously:
Musk, ‘Musk 2: The Second Skumming’
CCR Headcleaner, 'Tear Down the Wall'
Caleborate, '1993'
E-40, 'The D-Boy Diaries Books 1 &2'
Fantastic Negrito, 'The Last Days of Oakland'
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, 'A Man Alive'
Jay Som, 'Turn Into'

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