‘Music is life. That’s why our hearts have beats.’
For as long as I can recall music has been a fundamental part of my being, a part of my every day and an intense, overwhelming passion of mine. A sweet melody knows no bounds, possessing the ability to draw out all forms of human emotion from deep within, it can change lives.
Ultimately, as with any art form I’m always on the lookout for life changing music in all aspects, someone that embodies all I seek in an artist, sound, lyrical dexterity, thought provoking messages and of course the body of work itself as a whole.
For the above reasons (and in case you’re sleeping on this guy) I want to introduce you to the homie that is Kojey Radical and tell you why his new EP 23 Winters is an essential for your playlist.
- My heart has long since been in rhythm with the echo of a good beat so let’s begin with what captivates us with any song in the first place, the sound. Kojey’s sound is dynamic, unique and varied to say the least; I don’t think there’s anyone else quite like him. Sitting somewhere between spoken word, rap and cinematic chanting our bold young poet showcases a fierce, powerful vocal over roaring drums and African percussion with the occasional calming guitar rift blended in, a riveting collection of compelling sounds that will hang on the walls of your lobe forever.
- Variety really is the spice of life and adding spice to an already delectable menu of tracks are the artists/producers Kojey has collaborated with. These include Bobii Lewis, Zulu, Ray Blk and Tom Grenan offering vocals, all of which bring something fresh and captivating to the sound. Lupus Cain, Selvsse, KZ the Producer, Mike Musiq and New Machine are the genius producers at the forefront of the powerful sound proving that too many cooks don’t always spoil the broth.
- Consistency is the secret ingredient any artist needs to make a project that boasts longevity and the art of being timeless. There’s nothing more disappointing than when an artist releases a couple of dope tracks prior to an album just for the listener to tune in and find they are the only remotely listenable tracks on the project. I can promise you let downs are not a feature on this EP; every track holds its own and offers something fresh and exciting to the last.
- This isn’t just an album, a track listing of songs that bear no relation to one another; it’s very transparent that copious amounts of time have gone into binding this work of art together seamlessly; it’s all very deliberate, from the artwork down to where each track is placed. Its intricacy is unmatched. Isn’t that the level of effort we want to see from our idols? I sure as hell do and it’s interesting being able to piece all the parts of this intimate picture together. Kojey took his time with this, quality over quantity.
- Everyone has a different poison, mine is my pen but Kojeys is irrefutably his way with words, from raps to poems to soliloquy’s he leaves no stone unturned. The sheer lyrical dexterity showcased amongst these songs is awe inspiring, a true marvel, which leads me to my next point….
- I can’t speak for all but personally I prefer my music to come bearing gifts, to provoke thought, change and deliver a powerful message. Sometimes it’s easy to forget what an incredibly large platform music is and to see it being used to its maximum potential to deliver positive messages for humanity is exactly what the doctor ordered. Music affects the masses and Kojey uses it to spread doctrines of love, reality, life, poverty, revolution, culture and empathy compelling us to awaken to his parallel universe changing the world we know and how we view it.
- Whilst on the subject of spreading a positive message universally Kojey also makes references to racial injustices and social constraints with underlying themes of African Diaspora peppered on top. Orchestrating a lyrical revolution he boldly challenges the status quo with provocative lines ‘weapon on my waist ain’t a sword it’s a pencil, don’t shoot‘, raw in his delivery and in today’s climate, a necessary stand against intentional structured racism that is irrefutably still present around the globe.
- As if we hadn’t already covered sound, depth, lyrical prowess, features and empowering messages you can also bag a free history lesson from Kojey. Thematically tied together with narration by Kojey’s father and his experiences we learn about the day Ghana gained its independence under Prime Minister/President Kwame Nkrumah which is a title of one of the tracks undoubtedly as a mark of respect to the momentous occasion and his father.
- Kojey’s continued sense of pride for his heritage is undeniably beautiful to witness and equally an imperative notion to promote. In a day and age where we regularly see society (and endless memes) heap praise on those who are ‘light skinned’ and of Caribbean descent in contrast to the sometimes insulting and degrading humour that is aimed towards Africans and their culture, it’s inspiring to see Kojey unapologetically own his roots and wear his culture like a badge with pride.
- As afore mentioned the theme of the project is an ongoing conversation between Kojey and his father, an exchange of sorts, pearls of wisdom passed down a generation. The project ends with ‘Mufasa’s Outro’ a touching, candid encounter between father and son. The genuine emotion in this outro ties up one of the most remarkably touching, innovative pieces of art I’ve had the pleasure of hearing.