BACKSTORY: A versatile emcee whose raps range from party anthems to introspective confessions
FROM: Little Rock, Arkansas; currently vibing in Los Angeles
YOU MIGHT KNOW HER FROM: Her collaborations with Childish Gambino and Pivot Gang, or her own music used heavily in Issa Rae’s HBO series Insecure
NOW: Touring in support of her Cry 4 Help EP
The Arkansas-born, Los Angeles–based rapper Kari Faux wasn’t enjoying making music. She felt her output was empty, lacking soul. “I was making songs just to be making songs,” Faux says. “So I was like, ‘You know what? This year I’m not going to make music. I’m going to find something else that makes me happy.’ Then I started DJing.”
Faux soon landed DJ gigs at parties, concerts, and festivals. She also got back in the right frame of mind to make her own music. This positive energy shines through on her recently released Cry 4 Help EP, an efficient five-song collection clocking in at seventeen minutes and ending with the powerful “Latch Key.” There, she addresses having a miscarriage and wishing her childhood would have included more quality time with her parents—who provided a home, but one that was often empty while they were away working.
Writing and rapping about her experiences proved beneficial. “At some point in your life you’re going to have to address the shit that’s traumatic, whether you like it or not,” Faux says matter-of-factly. “Some people do whatever they have to do not to address that type of shit. But for me, I just want to be a better human being. I know that to be a better human, I have to address the shit that makes me uncomfortable. And I did.”
“I just want to be a better human being. I know that to be a better human, I have to address the shit that makes me uncomfortable. And I did.”
Elsewhere on Cry 4 Help, she acknowledges a personal shortcoming with “Medicated”: she’s good at picking bad friends. “I’m just attracted to terrible people,” she admits, lamenting the reality, but softening it with a slight chuckle. “I know that sounds crazy, but I just have an affinity for helping people I think need help or have this rough edge about them. I can see the good in people, and I tend to overlook things and just be like, ‘Oh, they need a friend. If they had a good friend, they’d be a good person.’ And then that’s not the case.”
Faux’s eventual awakening in these situations leads to spending a lot of time by herself. On “Leave Me Alone,” she details her desire for solitude. “I get a lot of peace when I’m by myself,” Faux says. “I enjoy myself. I make myself laugh. I’m so entertaining. I don’t need a bunch of people around me to make me feel anything. When you start adding all that other energy of other people, it can just get confusing and messy. I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m going back to the crib, my little recluse hole.’ It makes more sense. When I’m alone, I know who I am. I know what I like.”
As Kari Faux’s career continues climbing, she’s embracing work as a model, in addition to being a musician with a healthy tour schedule and several songs—including “Top Down” and “No Small Talk”—featured on the hit HBO show Insecure. She’s also riding a welcome wave of personal and creative growth.
“Cry 4 Help has opened me up in a way where I’m like, ‘I have a lot more processing to do,’” she says of her EP. “I feel like I’m only going to get more introspective as the music goes. It’s a really good starting point for me.” FL