Ask any rapper to list their influences, and almost every single one is going to drop names you’ve never heard of, but who are worshipped as gods within their area code. Not so for fresh-out-the-gate Kdot. While San Diego’s got boatloads of classic rock, indie rock, Latin Pop, jazz, and R&B outfits that have gone national and racked up some awards, they haven’t for hip-hop. So what do you do as a teenager who wants to rap and make beats without a local scene? You do what the punks did and recruit your equally DIY friends. Kdot would hole up at home freestyling, perfecting his flow, and as luck would have it, his cousin was trying his hand at production. They got into it, and Kdot began casting a wider net to draw on farther-flung West Coast rappers and their styles, to create his own. Just a couple years into his career, Kdot’s dropping “Vintage Girls,” and by the sound of it, we should be expecting big things from this kid.
“Vintage Girls” is a shout out to girls who are different without trying to be; the young women who don’t follow, but don’t lead either. They’re not interested in what’s hot right this minute; they’re into bands and looks that have stood the test of time. No wonder Kdot, a rapper without a scene, is into girls who might feel a little bit like they’re in the wrong place, wrong time. Kdot’s laid back, melodic rhyming hits all the right notes, lyrically and musically, trading flex bars for vulnerable declarations of high praise for someone he totally gets. The track channels the best of what’s blowing up the platforms right now: game-changers like Lil Skies, Lil Uzi Vert, Roddy Ricch, Trippie Redd, even a little Weeknd. He’s self-releasing the Vintage Girls full-length on Kdot Music because he’s not one who waits around for someone to do it for him.
Kdot wanders a nearly abandoned parking garage at night; its cavernous emptiness is perfect for the heavy reverb blanketing the track. A new layer gets added to the song here, the lyrics resonate more acutely, a story emerges. He’s telling us what he can’t tell her. Directors Trevor Landress and Jacob Koch capture that introspective kid pacing his room, fixated on his flow; here, he’s running, stumbling, perhaps away from that solitude, looking for his exit. The object of his affection rocks her thrift shop gear, but she’s outside, free to walk the beach while Kdot’s only company is the camera. Is this as close as he’s going to get to actually laying it all out for her? Will these thoughts only get as far as this track? For fans of melodic, hooky, self-aware West Coast Hip Hop, anyone who’s got the words but hasn’t found the right moment, “Vintage Girls” is a song made for hitting repeat and learning the lyrics.