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West Mecklenburg graduate Kuratii is an up-and-coming producer that stands out in the crowd

By Megan Wolford

July 11, 2020

Diversifying the hip-hop ecosystem in the city, 26-year-old producer and engineer Kana Thompson a.k.a. Kuratii has stepped into the scene with her debut project, A Story Told. The six-song EP features an ironclad group of emcees who show no mercy over dark piano blends, distorted horns, and matching timbres riding Kuratii’s musical wave. Kuratii embraces being a rarity in the music industry: a woman in hip-hop production. 

Thompson’s musical background started in middle school where she played the clarinet and later joined the marching band at West Mecklenburg High School. There, she got a look at the disparities in resources for underfunded schools in the country and learned to overcome adversity. “Even though we knew other schools were better than us, we never compared ourselves to them,” Thompson said. 

Kana Thompson a.k.a. Kuratii. Photo: Sheldon Kearse

Before her first full project as a producer, Thompson spent time working with mentor and producer Nick Snow who helped mold her sound over multiple collaborations with rapper Jerrel, who is also featured on A Story Told. Learning under Snow helped her tap into her duality as a producer and engineer. “I was ass by myself but Nick really helped me with structure, learning where to start my beats and things like that,” said Thompson. 

After Snow would finish a beat, Thompson would add in sounds like high hats and snares to put her own sauce on the production. When Snow ended up moving to Los Angeles she hit a turning point having to teach herself FL Studio and Pro Tools to create her own style. 

A year after Thompson met Charlotte rapper Cheeno Ghee, she signed her to her GCE talent collective. Fate would bring the collaboration full circle as Thompson’s manager Moonie, was a former classmate of Ghee at UNCC. 

Cheeno Ghee and Kuratii. Photo: Sheldon Kearse

Unlike her instrumental projects Sau.Cura, I Charge 4 Extra Sauce, and 4th Quarter, her latest EP captures the personalities of collaborators Cheeno Ghee, Jerrel, $terl, Liah Luciano, and Riqq Boii. 

Each artist bobs and weaves with razor sharp lyrics over Kuratii’s whimsical beats, recounting relationship pitfalls, money making deals, and everyday mischief. A Story Told is a quick yet cunningly raw compilation clocking in at 16 minutes, and it’s a project compelling enough leave on repeat. 

Listen to A Story Told and follow Kuratii on Instagram and Twitter.

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