Thursday, 3 March 2016

Recommended music: '23Winters' by Kojey Radical

The line between rap and poetry has been blurred before, but never so successfully and so powerfully. I've personally seen both Oddisee and Loyle Carner deliver spoken-word, acapella pieces that worked really well, but they struck me more as raps that work as poetry, whereas I get the sense the Kojey's work seems to have its roots in poetry and the beats are added as a way of broadcasting it to the world. Kojey makes reference to this in the album's opener 'Footsteps' as he says "Let's play a game of pin the pressure on the poet, is it poetry or rap, I found rhythm inside of poetry".

That's not to say that the music isn't good, adding as it does a dark and brooding atmosphere to the record. It's downbeat and sometimes introspective, but never depressing. The brilliant chorus on 'Kwame Nkrumah' is definitely one of the high points - just imagine a whole audience shouting out "They look at me like a winner now". It's defiantly optimistic, and we need more of that in our lives.

Overall the vibe is a bit Roots Manuva, a bit Tricky, and there's an occasional catch in his voice that sounds like Kendrick Lamar. There's no doubting the depth of both Radical's talent and his commitment to and belief in his work. What you're witnessing with this record is the birth of a major new talent, and one that is worth much more than the '5 grand for 3 albums' deal that he was offered by a record label that should be ashamed of themselves.

Buy this once, and listen to it all year. It's the real sound of 2016.

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