Mikayla Victoria Simpson (stage name Koffee), has defined and redefined herself and the kind of music that emanates from her lips. On the Grammy-winning/history-making EP Rapture, Koffee unveiled her innovative blend of reggae, dancehall, and sculpted rap flows in 2019. With a voice so unique, and the braggadocio of rapper, Koffee‘s sounds and musical charisma is one that is hardly unlovable.
A young flourishing bundle of talent so keen on sharing her heritage and showcasing the beauty of black girl magic with the rest of the world, while also helping to disseminate the idea that music can be channeled positively into being an ultimate healer to mankind, helping listeners recover from all kinds of hurts, emotional, mental, marital, and other unforeseeable traumas. Koffee was overjoyed to announce that her debut album ‘Gifted‘ unveiled on Friday, March 25th 2022, an album she describes as “A gift that keeps on giving”.
A 10-track body of work thronged with superb songwriting, deft vocals, range, depth and satisfying melodies, the Gifted album is proof that Koffee evidently dived abyssally deep into her musical arsenal, bringing some refreshing sounds to the reggae sphere with the project.
The album’s introductory track ‘X10′ begins with a perfectly synchronized sample of Bob Marley‘s iconic Redemption Song. Koffee expresses her gratitude for life and the gift of waking up every morning, she noted that the line “It’s a pleasure to be outside” relates to her music traveling the world and shattering boundaries outside of her native Jamaica. She vocalizes her religious belief and admonishes the evidence of God’s work in her life. X10 is more or less a prayer of appreciation cut into serenading melodies, a superb album opener.
With immaculate lyrical skills and remarkable thematic flow across each song, the following set of songs simply demonstrates Koffee‘s musical dexterity. “Yutes ah troop round and run for dem safety, looks like gunshot ah run the streets dem lately.” she laments on “Defend” a 57 seconds-long track that admonishes the ills in her homeland and how it affects the youths. Continuing to lambast the current status of the Caribbean on the next track “Shine“, emphasizing unjustified and senseless gun violence.
On the album’s title track, “Gifted,” she serenades beautifully with a vibe so catchy, her voice quaking over sampled children’s voices and light, shuffling percussion. The album’s most classicist reggae piece, “Lonely,” chimes in, with a smooth feel of 80’s-styled lover’s rock, mashed with staccato piano, noodling guitars, and live voices.
Halfway into the album, the sounds transcends into a jivy bop with the song ‘Runaway,’ a perky love number with a fantastic bounce and genius play of words. She once again plunges back to reflecting on her roots, on “Where I’m From,” and ‘West Indies‘ but this time she does so with much glorification, highlighting how her birthplace “Spain Town“(Spanish Town. Jamaica) has played it’s role in shaping her into who she has become.
Before closing the album with the Covid-19 pandemic-inspired track “Lockdown,” Koffee made sure to come through once more, with some more braggadocios flows on the Jae5-produced song “Pull up,” in which she vocalizes about her luxury living, name-dropping luxurious brands and letting it be known that she pulls up in a Rari (Ferrari), Benz, and Audi, all while rocking Prada. “Zero to a hundred in two, Yeah, so me flex pon you,” she admits with a rapper-like vaunt.
‘Gifted,’ by Koffee, is not only a thoroughly delightful piece of work, but also a alluringly colossal benchmark for Reggae/Dancehall music. This clearly portrays Koffee as a self-aware young black woman who is also socially conscious, as well as a vivacious, cheery, and hyperactive youth. It offers an exquisite musical delivery, depth in lyrics, and a blend of feel good vibrations. Her ability to infuse components of various genres of music into her own unique style of Reggae/Dancehall is highly applaudable. All of which makes a listener wish the project’s number of songs didn’t stop at 10. That’s probably what excellent music does.