Classically trained pianist Katie Kate delivers laid back rhymes on electro-rap debut, 'Flatland'

Think “classically trained pianist” and “white-girl rapper” probably isn’t the next thought that comes to mind, but Seattle’s Katie Kate is both.

It gets more incongruous: Katie Kate grew up on a farm in upstate New York, earned a degree in classical piano from Cornish College of the Arts in 2009 and landed in Seattle, where, apparently, she’s been honing her lyrical flow and working up some lean electro beats. She’s good at both, but her understated lyrical delivery is where she really succeeds. Unlike, say, the brash braying of Lady Sovereign or the all-around over-the-topness of Kreayshawn, Katie Kate lays ways back, murmuring her rhymes with a calm self-confidence that can be flat-out riveting on “Flatland,” her debut.

Her free song, “Uh… No,” is stark, consisting mostly of shifting beats and her lyrical purr, which holds a touch of disdain. She dresses up her spare beats elsewhere, with a pinging synth that breaks wide open on “Bad Amazons” and machine-like whirring on “Bodyout Princess,” which is one of several songs she sings on. Katie Kate does that well, too, sounding ethereal and reflective on “Houses” and letting her voice ring out over busy electronics on “Hunting.”

Although there’s a novelty factor to Katie Kate’s unusual background — classically trained farmgirl rapper — her skill as a lyricist and musician quickly demonstrate she’s more than mere novelty.


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