Quirky raps meet disco cool

photo: paley fairman

Who He?

Twenty-year-old Las Vegas native Shamir Bailey, who initially appeared on a compilation tape whisked together by the Godmode label in Brooklyn. Having revealed the lo-fi disco EP ‘Northtown’, Shamir has now been poached football academy-style by British mega-indie XL.

Why Shamir?

Check out the video on YouTube for his debut single, ’On The Regular’. This kid’s anything but regular, exuding an androgynous style reminiscent of early Prince, although without the chest wig.

Any more to it than that? Well, yes, despite its poppy house stompers, Shamir’s ‘Ratchet’ album features plenty of substance over style and bristles with quirky hyper-raps and synth-frazzled disco coolness. His high-pitched vocal paints a saccharine contradiction between his untainted image and cocksure middle-finger attitude, but he’s a good boy really. With stardom an attainable goal, Shamir could only espouse, “The seven-year-old me is, like, dying on the inside”.

Tell Us More

Shamir is nobody’s creation. Despite a musical family and early introductions to hip hop, neo soul and R&B – inspired by Groove Theory and OutKast – the youngster was writing his own material before his voice had broken. Dancefloors may sway to Shamir’s soulful adolescent vibe but, beyond the bubblegum, ‘Ratchet’ is very adeptly produced and features some surprisingly mature ballads, like the excellent ‘Darker’.

Shamir exudes the confidence you’d expect from a major talent winding up for a major career. With epic self-depreciation, he refers to himself as a jack of all trades, not to mention a “skinny fat ass”. Find out for yourself when he embarks on a short UK tour throughout July.

‘Ratchet’ is out on XL Recordings

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A Canadian girl with a smart synthpop sound, a strong DIY ethos, and a nod and a wink to Rimmel London