Arts Desk

On “Four Four,” Kokayi Riffs on Volatile Romance

It was just three weeks ago that Kokayi released Pro Deo et Patria, a lively set of bouncy electro-pop on which the Northeast resident bemoaned racial injustice and police helicopters, among other things.

Released late Thursday, Kokayi's "Four Four" is a creeping rock ballad featuring a couple notable names in D.C. music: Zo! (a frequent collaborator with The Foreign Exchange) plays the keys; producer Jon Laine is on drums. On the song, Kokayi learns—the hard way—to not cheat on his woman. "She's the one for me," he sings. "A hundred stitches and a wedding ring."

The song begins quietly, with Kokayi harmonizing over faint guitar chords and light drum cymbals. The instrumental grows more agitated as it plays, Kokayi's voice tinged in anger as he recites the chorus. "She kicked in the door, waved the four four! And all I said is, 'Mama, don't hit me no more!'"

"Four Four" isn't on Pro Deo. "It's one of my favorite songs to perform and I felt it only right to try and capture it," Kokayi writes in an e-mail. All told, the song further demonstrates his layered dexterity. He can brighten any topic with unconventional ease, no matter how serious it is.

"Four Four" is available for free. Listen and download below.

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