It’s not every day a Jamaican artiste can host a listening party and have the likes of American rapper/producer Swizz Beatz show up while his superstar wife, singer Alicia Keys, plays the piano in the background. But thanks to social distancing and bomb music, Lila Iké pulled it off during the pre-listening party for her debut EP, The Experience, last night on Instagram.

Lila Iké performinh at Unruly Fest last December. (Photo: Buzz Caribbean)

Joining the live with his best ‘yaadie’ greeting, Beatz requested the flirty, reggaeton track, ‘I Spy’, which is among seven songs on the project.

“Big song, that’s the zone right there,” he said.

Beatz first heard the song during a listening session with Protoje some time ago in Los Angeles, but it was his first time ‘meeting’ the sultry vocalist.

Iké was alongside ‘King Digg’ at his Habitat Studios in Kingston.

American rapper Swizz Beatz joined Lila Iké virtual listening party to offer support.

“I had to come and show love,” Beatz said. “You (Protoje) came and showed love to my family so I had to come and show love to your family, it’s an equal exchange… It’s all love, whenever y’all need us, we here. Bless up sis, congratulations on everything.”

Understandably, Iké spazzed out after the call ended, yelling, “Dem tink a chattings!”

‘The Experience’ aptly starts with Iké’s biggest single to date, ‘Where I’m Coming From’, a representation of her humble roots and love affair with dub-driven sounds. Before getting to the second track, Grammy winner Koffee joined the live, a rarity for the 20-year-old wonder, though understandable when one considers her longstanding association with the Indiggnation crew.

“CHEERS TO THE BIG, BAD ALBUM. KEEP UP THE WORKS MUMS, YOU KNOW UNRULY ENDORSE TO THE FULLEST.”

– POPCAAN

“Yow mi excited yuh fret, mi feel like mi inna yuh position right now…mi excited fi yuh,” Koffee said before referring to the new generation of artistes as, “Grammy kids…we have a Grammy team a come outta Jamaica, dem nuh know enuh.”

Iké takes a more cautious tone on ‘Solitude’, a journal about securing her mental health in her newfound celebrity. Produced by musician Sean ‘Ziah’ Roberts and Iotosh, the track features a violin break which heightens the EP’s genre-playful style.

While Koffee played publicist throughout the live, Iké shared more tunes from the project, including the imaginative ‘Stars Align’ which uses the Bout Noon instrumental created by Phillip ‘Winta’ James. Protoje first made the rhythm popular with the title track in 2018, followed by Mortimer with ‘No Lies’ last year.

Grammy Award-winning artiste Koffee also joined the virtual listening party.

James comes in again as producer on ‘Forget Me’, which showcases another womanly side of Iké. The track, co-written with James, speaks of a woman at her wits’ end with a petty partner.

“Di man (James) seh, ‘you know seh mi did think up a little idea for a hook’ and mi just seh ‘alright’. Mi never know seh Winta is a hook-kinda man,” she said. “Mi hear di man sing, ‘if every day we a go fight, I think it’s best that you forget me’… and mi seh a dat mi a work with. I’m so good at talking about dem kinda man deh.”

Hails of “Yyyyyyyyyyyyyyy” and “chubble” entered the chat when Popcaan joined the live as Iké played the penultimate track, ‘Second Chance’. The newly trimmed deejay, who was surrounded by fellow artistes Skilli Beng and Stylo G, requested ‘I Spy’ before vibing to the final track, Thy Will’. The latter samples Sly and Robbie’s More Baltimore rhythm, and culminates The Experience with Iké’s spiritual side.

“Cheers to the big, bad album,” Popcaan said. “Keep up the works mums, you know Unruly endorse to the fullest.”

The Experience is now available on all major platforms.

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