Chika’s major label debut EP, Industry Games, is a challenge to review, for a fantastic reason. The breathlessly enthused Alabama MC packs so much meaning, metaphor and sheer syllable density into every line that it can be tough for a thoroughly impressed rap critic to type up and quote her finest turns of phrase for a review.
Rather than butchering her deft lyricism in the attempt, I’d rather recommend you simply bask in her layered wordplay, which has endless replay value on songs like the bone-rattling, hanger-on-admonishing “Designer,” and the rapid-fire, rival-slaying title track.
Impressive as her rapping is over a variety of beats — be it synth-laden and thoroughly modern trap or throwback soul samples — Chika’s most memorable turn on Industry Games is her pop-chart-worthy performance on “On My Way.” It vividly depicts a queer romance, thanks to Chika soulfully singing and then spiting her heart out for her boo. Yes, she’s a downright double threat as a rapper and a singer.
As she speak-sings on the intro, over heartstring-tugging piano: “I hope this album make you think.” Let’s just say that hope isn’t dashed on this fantastic debut. (Warner)