In the space of just a few years, Goya Gumbani and Kiina have become one of my favourite music duos making music. Their 2020 masterpiece The Lesser-Known made me a fan of Kiina’s smooth, soulful production, and Goya’s silky smooth flow and introspections always makes for a rewarding listening experience. So when I learnt that they were releasing a follow-up project, it’s safe to say I was really excited. Face in the Storm is their new body of work, and easily their most complete to date. A real mood album, the vinyl package comes with incense specifically created for the album, and 12 tracks of pure ear candy.
Its 36 minute runtime is almost double what they came with last time around, and from the first listen this is already their most focused and complete album to date. Kiina’s production is sublime, with soulful and punchy beats that have a delicate, ethereal feel to them. “Trials” is one of the standouts for me, with subtle but poignant guitar leads and piano melodies that complement the groovy bassline and beat. The textured production gives Goya Gumbani the space to speak his truth, with intricate raps that flow effortlessly over the silky smooth beat. “Grippin’ Grain” featuring YUNGMORPHEUS contains a soulful guitar lead, synth melodies and introspective verses calling out fake friends, police brutality and other shit that both emcees try to distance themselves from so they can continue thriving. It’s inspiring seeing Goya Gumbani speak his truth, and knowing him a little personally, I know he’s a genuine, real dude who doesn’t like all that fake shit around him. With a pure heart, he’s able to navigate through these tracks and pour his heart out on record. Tracks like “Weepin'” reveal some of his vulnerabilities, painted with a jazzy and soothing beat that captures his energy beautifully. “Runnin'” featuring Remy Banks is another highlight for me. The vocal sample complemented by the groovy beat makes for a perfect soundscape for both Goya Gumbani and Remy Banks (the fact he got him as a featre is amazing enough) to rap over. The keys and melodies on “Ashtray” featuring Fatima are just so beautiful, and the lead single “Define Time” sounds even better in the context of the album. With its thumping beat and Goya’s visual rhymes make it another standout. The reflective and smooth beat on “Smile” is exceptional as well, with Goya Gumbani’s high pitched voice painting this beat with smooth final verse that captures his artistic aura perfectly.
Goya Gumbani and Kiina managed to outdo themselves with Face in the Storm. It’s their most ambitious, focused and concise body of work to date, with smooth and jazzy soundscapes that complement Goya Gumbani’s potent introspective verses that paint a picture of his life, struggles and observations with such clarity, it makes him one of the most exciting working today. As for Kiina, his beats are exceptional and among the best production I’ve heard this year.