I will work backwards in a way…
PHOTO CREDIT: Mikey Massey/Hypebeast
because I wanted to discuss Kojey Radical’s new album, Cashmere Tears. It is a few weeks old, and it has gathered up some truly terrific reviews. I must admit that I have not long discovered Kojey Radical and, whilst I am going to start by recommending Cashmere Tears, go back and listen to all his work and as much as you can. Whether with the press or on radio, you find this honest, engaging and promising artist who is primed for some big things. When speaking with Complex, he was asked about how his music gets to the people; how he is discovered – he was also asked about the creative project for his latest work:
“We spoke a while back on the differing points of introduction people have to your music—do you feel like you’ve now gone past that point?
Yes and no. In some spaces, yeah... I enjoy convos like this because I can’t skip that part. Some may have heard of me a while ago and, for whatever reason, they just didn’t bite? They just waited, waited to see if it was a passing name in the wind, and by the time they realise I’m here forever, it’s like: “Oh no! I have to go back.” So they might feel like they’ve just discovered me; a few songs deep but I’m three projects in, multiple collaborations, multiple tours, there’s film stuff and fashion, but you don’t want people to be overwhelmed. Sometimes I prefer the quick introduction. In a time when so many struggle for longevity, I can’t really complain.
Tell us a story about the process in making this project.
On my track “2020”, I say, “I just came back from the Motherland, the view was beautiful”, from when I spent time in Ghana just before I started. I was listening to the new wave of African artists, the new ‘Alte’ movement, and this one girl stood out to me and that was Amaarae. So we’re at the studio in Accra, and you know when someone’s energy just explodes? She jumped out this big Jeep, shaved head, colour dye, swaggy. Everyone knows who she is. They say to me: “This is Amaarae, your cousin.” [Laughs] I took a step back, I saw the way she moved and I said, “Yeah, she is my cousin!” I told her, “Ama, I’m going to Henley on Thames to create this project and I want you to come from lovely, sunny Ghana to come be with us by the lake.” She became one of the most pivotal pieces in making this flow the way it flows. It could have gone unnoticed and under-appreciated, but Amaarae is the reason it all flows—everyone will tell you that. From the producers to the instrument guys, everyone would ask: “Ama, what do you think of this?” She just loves music! We made “Sugar” within the first 45 minutes of being at the camp”.
Born Kwadwo Adu Genfi Amponsah, Kojey Radical was raised in London but was born to Ghanaian immigrants. Whilst a lot of those Afrocentric themes appear in his work now, they were there from the start. I like the fact Kojey Radical fuses together Spoken Word with more conventional Rap and Hip-Hop.
His brew is one that is in demand and turning heads! His path to Cashmere Tears has been quite an interesting one. The fact that his parents managed to make a life over here is impressed. I guess the promising artist would have seen their struggle and how they managed to settle. Kojey Radical began his life as a Spoken Word poet and illustrator. He graduated from the London College of Fashion and released a conceptual work, Dear Daisy: Opium in 2014. I would urge people to check out the E.P. as it is a truly wonderful work that touches o relationships, social media and religion. His sophomore E.P., 23Winters is another wonderfully rich work that stands out from everything else around. I guess Cashmere Tears is the first peak of a career that, whilst new, has already been pretty busy and successful. The reviews for his album have been amazing, as I say. This is what NME had to say:
“The latter half of the album feels like a revelation of self-worth. This is especially true of ‘Eleven’, a track on which Radical tells a story of self-realisation after a long fight with life. It sounds like a poem to himself as well as about himself: “Settle down / You’ve been a king / Without a crown”. The moving final track, ‘Last Night’, concludes Radical’s story. Reminiscing those nightly woes, he leaves us with a poetic ending about his talk with God: “I spoke to God last night, and she said the right thing may not always come out the right way…And that’s fine, that’s life”.
His talk with God left him with some advice that we all could use. ‘Last Night’ shifts from a cry for help to affirmation, words for all those times you felt you couldn’t get out of a rut. Leaving us with an overarching feeling of self-reassurance after his exploration of life, Kojey Radical here celebrates life’s imperfections. No matter how gloomy the world may seem, everything’s for a reason – we’ve just got to find it.
There is something undeniably assured and professional when you hear Kojey Radical’s music. Everything sounds so completely on a different plain; the music digs deep and the songs stay with you – that is not something you can say with every artist. Cashmere Tears his latest odyssey and is one of the most impressive offerings from a year that has given music fans so much. If you want to go and see him play, check out his movements and get involved. I have only just scratched the surface, but I wanted to bring to the fore an artist who, whilst pre-existing and popular, is not known by everyone. You do not need to be a fan of Rap or Grime to appreciate what he is putting out. Kojey Radical is such a wide-ranging and personal talent, that he cannot be labelled and easily defined. If you are still unfamiliar with the cuts he is putting out there…
PHOTO CREDIT: @kemkaajoku
THEN go and get involved right now.
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