It is understandable that when an artist releases an album on their own label that the freedom from that better represents their style. Thankfully, Nikka Costa’s Pro*Whoa!, released on her new Go Funk Yourself Records, is no exception to this rule as it represents the fire, the funk, the soul, and the edge of this phenomenal vocalist.
Make no mistake, Pro*Whoa! is probably the truest definition of the kind of artist that Nikka Costa is. Known mostly for being a funk and soul artist, the self proclaimed “Funky White B*tch” spreads her wings to display her lack of fear and wealth of confidence. The title track is probably the best example of this. Swirling with heavy electric guitars and synth about the chorus, Nikka spends a majority of the track rapping! A total ego-boosting rant, she glosses over her career pointing out that she’s been singing since she was in diapers. Executed as more of a concept song that would have more place in her stage show, this song is high energy and edgy.
Most of the songs on this EP follow along the same aggression and tone. “Nylons In A Rip” has a sort of anti-love theme that it shares with “Never Wanna C U Again” that further emphasizes not only the strength of Nikka’s personality, but the strength of her voice. It starts with a heavy hitting drumline that leads into her verse. As the chorus drops, the song’s heavy rock tone brings the volume of the edge up to 10. The song continues to see-saw between calm and rage in just a way that matches Nikka’s personality. “Never Wanna C U Again” has a kind of golden soul sound to it that boasts a Tina Turner -like strength and personality. “Stuff” features Nikka sort of taking a page from Gwen Stefani in a track that seems like a No Doubt throwback. It is clear, though, that there is a strength or confidence within that oozes from within each song. This is the sign of an artist with diversity in both style and freedom.
The highlights of the EP come at its beginning and end. Unlike the other songs, these tracks are mellow and soft. Again, this shows her versatility.
The last track, “Chase The Thrill,” is a near submission for the next 007 movie. Sounding much like the James Bond themes by the likes of Tina Turner and Alicia Keys, Nikka totally sells the whole seduction, intrigue, and mystery that those Bond soundtracks typically have.
“Head First” is a mellow yet sexy trip into what makes Nikka such an amazing artist. Taking her voice to a range that Prince typically has brandished in songs like “Kiss” and “Insatiable,” Nikka massages the power of her voice to create a soft and near breathless tone to accompany a simple bassline. The funky style of this seductive track is a bit closer to what her fans are accustomed to hearing from her.
In the end, Pro*Whoa! is without a doubt a true representation of the fiery nature of this amazing singer. If this is but a sample of what is to become a full LP, then it stands to be Nikka Costa’s truest representation yet.