KOJEY RADICAL IS THE POET FOR OUR TIMES

Fully available at http://spiceukonline.com/titomowillz/kojey-radical-is-the-poet-for-our-times/

The UK music scene is so many different things but nothing of the style that Kojey Radical created by dropping In Gods Body.

The album is a 13-piece composition of a new body of work clocking at just 46 minutes, making for a succinct project. Radical continues to play within the intersection of spoken word, grime, jazz, funk and auto-tune as he has since previous album 23Winters. But ‘In God’s Body’ is different, not only does it show that this 24-year-old Hackney, East London native has matured in his skills, it shows experimentation and innovation, it’s London through and through, distinctly human and yet political.

The album title begins a conversation about the innate divinity in each man and woman. Rather than God existing as some celestial being, is it that everyone who raises his or her voice is a deity of their own? Kojey Radical is unapologetically black and his convictions tear through the noise of mainstream UK sound. Being a black man in Britain, the heart of a once global empire and in which, conversations about blackness are often derailed by ‘at least we’re not as bad as the Americans’ is a challenging position but Radical revels in rebellion declaring “all I want is 40 acres, a mule and my respect” on After Winter, referencing the reparations owed to the freed slaves. These reparations never materialised and as such Radical, in his After Winter video, takes up arms. He manages to combine very ‘Welcome to the Terrordome’ aesthetics of black militancy and mischief with a soundtrack of revolution of “taking it all back for the ends.”

Radical is not always sounding the revolutionary battle cry, he shows versatility by switching up the vibe on Nostrand Avenue. The song remarks humorously of his travels in New York in which Nostrand Avenue is actually a major street, and an encounter with some apparently very interested ladies who liked his music, particularly “the chorus, the song didn’t have one.” An attribute I rate really highly in artists is the willingness to innovate. Just as Stormzy’s album Gang Signs and Prayer was widely lauded for its own brilliant combination of gospel with grime. Radical manages to prove that far from being limited to the fierce lyricism he does so well, he’s also able to keep it chill and rap on a calm jazzy beat about girls trying to finesse. ‘Calm and collected, we all have to eat, I respect it.’ Clearly, he doesn’t mind……

Fully available at http://spiceukonline.com/titomowillz/kojey-radical-is-the-poet-for-our-times/

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FROM BLONDE TO BLONDIE, FRANK OCEAN’S NEW SONG ‘PROVIDER’ IS AS WAVY AS EVER

Available at Lonelystar.co.uk – http://lonelystar.co.uk/reviews/blonde-blondie-frank-oceans-new-provider-wavy-ever/

It actually wasn’t that long ago when social media was buried in memes and jokes about Frank Ocean. I for one was, ready to wait until my old age for a follow-up album to the impressive Channel Orange. I mean the complete radio silence aside from cryptic hints and the excruciatingly short ‘Franks Track’ on Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo, made Frank fans, myself included, very agitated. That’s now a distant memory, the two masterpiece albums Blonde, Endless and songs and features ranging from Lens, Chanel, Biking and collabs with the Asap Mob, Tyler the Creator and Calvin Harris to his very own Apple Music Segment Blonded Radio have proved that. Provider is just the newest release and it maintains the clever wordplay, interwoven talk-singing voice and tactical autotune that Ocean does so well.

The music video for Provider, which dropped simultaneously with the song on Ocean’s website, was a surreal, uncanny experience that showed Frank Ocean’s unique ability to meld a childish sense of humour with abstract concepts to create tongue-in-cheek art. The video displayed the visual artist Tom Sachs in his workshop obtaining an old-school boombox and curiously making a few modifications, one of which was the additions of a machete of all things and the attaching of enormous speakers. The DIY effect had an Endless feel, the visual album that Ocean released, and was topped off to comical effect with a Hello Kitty avatar bouncing across the lyrics displayed on the bottom of the screen.

frank

Provider isn’t a regular Frank Ocean track, while incorporating elements of familiar musical territory I found there was yet some aspects of innovation and progress as an artist. One point of difference with usual, if that term can ever be applied to Ocean’s music, was the use of the trap beat in background for some of its duration gave it an interesting vibe alongside the soft slow repetitive chorus of ‘feelings you provide, feelings you provide I know it, I know it, the feelings…’ Also, the track uses a lot of pitch-correction to create a new distinctly inhuman sound. If I’m honest, much in the way that Lens, his previous release, had many features going on at the same time, I do think it does spoil a bit of Frank’s appeal as his raw vocals are extraordinary……..

Full Article Available at Lonelystar.co.uk – http://lonelystar.co.uk/reviews/blonde-blondie-frank-oceans-new-provider-wavy-ever/

 

XXXTENTACION’S ‘17’ IS A DECLARATION OF WAR ON CONFORMITY

*Full Piece Available at SpiceUKOnline* – http://spiceukonline.com/titomowillz/xxxtentacions-17-is-a-declaration-of-war-on-conformity/

XXXTentacion is a multi-faceted artist. All at once, he manages to be a provocateur yet also a talented maverick, a profound poet whilst brash and brutish; X is a 19-year-old troubled soul but he is also an unexpected beacon of light. Controversy sticks to him like glue and in all honesty, he courts the infamy. Yet 17 is different, it is not the same mischievous fun as that which inhabits his hit ‘Look at Me’ that guides this album. No, 17 according to ‘The Explanation’, the album intro, is designed to “cure or at least, numb your depression.”

This 11-track composition is an entirely new creation of X’s and touches on various elements of vulnerability, anger, depression and unlikely as it may seem, hope. And it is that which distinguishes 17 as an album and by extension, XXXTentacion from the SoundCloud generation of rappers he emerged from.  His authenticity is unquestioned.

From his abundance of Soundcloud tracks to his EP Revenge and now 17, X uses experimentation to highlight his uniqueness as an artist. The album length is far from the norm, only 21 minutes long in total. The harsher stereotypical trap beats of his contemporaries, Kodak Black, Lil Pump, Playboi Carti and Ski Mask The Slump God are present on one song. But even so, F**k Love (Feat.Trippie Redd) is far from the usual capitalistic adoration of money or having sex with various women or even drugs, none of said staples of trap music even appear on the track. Instead, this is a love song of sorts with an alternative rock tone, ‘Please bae, don’t go switchin’ sides, switchin’ sides’ is Trippie Redd’s contribution with X following with “Lost it, riots, Gunfire inside my head.”

With the whirlwind of a rough bringing and now allegations against XXXTentacion of domestic abuse, violence, and robbery, though all would vehemently condemn this behaviour, this song does provide some insight into the trauma such an experience creates.

The album cover is much like the music within, a clutter of various sheets of paper defined with a black and bold scrawl of writing. Symbolising the whole aura of the project is the quote ‘There is no end to the pain. You must be numb,’ capitalised while polaroids of X trapped in his own embrace adorn the cover. There exists a lonely respite from the melancholy, ‘You are not alone’ written in the corner…..

*Full Piece Available at SpiceUKOnline* – http://spiceukonline.com/titomowillz/xxxtentacions-17-is-a-declaration-of-war-on-conformity/