’23 Winters’ offers poetic narration on the evolution of a young man’s art and self-appreciation, guided by the voice of his father, and by Ghanaian history, and has echoes of the dynamic socio-political commentary of Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’. It is an extraordinary EP from Kojey Radical, the East London-based creator, and is already in the Top 40 UK Chart and in the top three of the UK Rap & Hip Hop Albums Chart, one place above the influential, aforementioned Kendrick.
Soft, minor piano chords and an entrapping hip hop beat ease us into ‘Footsteps’, before Kojey roars lines like: “This is god’s body / Speaking with a belly full of thunder / Haven’t eaten in twenty-two winters / I know hunger”. The stripped-back sound allows for a more brutal vocalisation of ideas, and sets the pace for this poet’s anthology.
‘Bambu’ is an elegy to the youth lost in “ignorant bliss”; when there’s no opportunity, there’s no ambition, and Kojey delivers a potent message on what popular culture construes as success, namely “pussy” and “weed”. “Oh nostalgia, you wicked, wicked temptress, you” he screams, jolting us back to the present with an impressively emotive delivery. Both produced by Lupus Cain, ‘Bambu’ is second only to the excellent ‘Kwame Nkrumah’, named after Ghana’s first Prime Minister who led the country to independence from Britain. Kojey seems to muse on his future position as a leader in artistic and political circles, which appears fitting when you see the acclaim already converging around his name.
This isn’t Kojey‘s first body of work, (see mixtape ‘Dear Daisy: Opium’ released in 2014), but really sets the benchmark for this rising British talent. He’s so full of raw energy and sentiment, he pushes himself to work harder, and having sold out a headline show at Oslo, Hackney earlier this year, he’s earning his way to serious recognition.
’23 Winters’ EP is out now via Kojey Radical.
This Kojey Radical article was written by Eleanor Wallace, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.