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Kari Faux

From Little Rock to Los Angeles, from slinging fast food to spitting clever rhymes, Kari Faux brought the complex flow of old-school '90s rap and updated it with poignant, oftentimes irreverent lyrics for the Internet age. She issued her official debut full-length, Lost en Los Angeles, in 2015, attracting attention from contemporaries like Childish Gambino. In 2020, she released her breakthrough effort, Lowkey Superstar. Raised with Southern gospel and classical tradition by her parents (a factory worker and minister), Kari Rose Johnson started rapping for fun as an in-joke with her friends. Multiple mixtapes later, she had developed a hypnotic flow, a knack for clever wordplay, and a witty deadpan that befit her self-proclaimed nickname "Rap Game Daria" (after the popular late-'90s/early-aughts MTV cartoon). Jokes aside, her aggressive boasts and hard stance conveyed an unflappable confidence befitting a veteran emcee, not an L.A. transplant in her early twenties. Her first song, 2011's "Fauxty Miles Per Hour," was followed by a series of lost mixtapes in 2012. It wasn't until 2014, however, that she increased her exposure and fan base with the Laugh Now, Cry Later EP, which featured "No Small Talk" and the troll-baiting "On the Internet" (which ironically helped her via the very vehicle she prodded on the track). She caught the attention of Childish Gambino (he had a cameo in her "Gahdamn" video) and eventually became part of his management team. In 2015, she performed in Mexico and Hong Kong to promote her debut full-length. That album -- Lost en Los Angeles -- included the single "Nada," which was produced by longtime friend Malik "Black Party" Flint. The following year, she continued her collaborations with Childish Gambino, appearing on his releases STN MTN and "Awaken, My Love!" She also joined R&B duo Chloe x Halle on "Fake" and the Internet on "On My Mind/Charge It to the Game." On the solo front, she issued EPs Primary (2017) and CRY 4 HELP (2019). In 2020, Faux released the Lowkey Superstar mixtape, which was later expanded to include guests JID, Jazz Cartier, Smino, and more.
© Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo


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