Kid Sister‘s moniker is a misnomer: she’s no kid, and she’s no rookie. The 29-year-old Chicago MC has been popping up on the national music scene for a few years now, attracting notice here and there (notably for her single “Pro Nails,” featuring Kanye West) but never quite catching the buzz express. In a dance-pop-hip-hop scene suddenly crowded with up-and-coming b-girls, Kid Sister isn’t the most of anything. She doesn’t have the biggest hit (that’s Lil Mama, with “Lip Gloss”), the biggest attitude (that’s Lady Sovereign), or the most underground cred (that’s Amanda Blank). She’s just good.
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Ultraviolet, Kid Sister’s long-awaited debut LP, has just been released, and it was worth the wait: a rich and consistent 38-minute ride that rolls like a Cadillac. It’s remarkably coherent for an album recorded over years’ time with multiple different producers, and once it’s on your iPod, it’s likely to stay there for quite awhile. The sound is a stew of 80s synths, 90s club beats, and 00s pop hip-hop; it sounds vaguely retro, but not in any easily pegged genre. “Pro Nails” is actually one of the least strong tracks on the album; my favorites are the club-friendly ballad “Daydreaming,” which features soaring synths and a guest appearance by Gnarls Barkley’s Cee-Lo, and the burbling album closer “Control.” Kid Sister may still not be the most of anything, but she doesn’t need to be: the Kid’s got game.