Kwakzino Exclusive Interview #2Legit2Quit

Reviews from the 6, Selecta

Kwakzino aka Kwakz is 28 and grew up in South Norwood near Croydon. He now studies in High Wycombe and has been writing lyrics on and off since he was 13. He’s been focused on music since he was 21 and released his first mixtape aged 23.

I asked Kwakz a few questions to get to know the guy behind #2Legit2Quit…

What/who are your 3 biggest influences?
My mum, uncle, Jesus Christ

What about your musical influences?
My three biggest musical influences that inspired me to get into music are, Oxide and Neutrino, Kirk Franklin and Tupac lol. When I was young I loved all of their music and in their own way each have had an impact on me and played a part in me going into music and taking seriously.

How would you describe your sound?
Different, counter-culture, exciting and again…different

What’s your favourite tune off the EP and why?
My favourite song depends on my mood. I’m really proud of this body of work.

My top three songs personally are:

  1. Positive Vibez because of how it came about so organically in my boys’ front room on a beat he had produced 5 years prior 🙂
  2. Elevate cos I love the strong message behind this song and love performing it due to the energy it brings.
  3. L,L,L,S  is special to me as its one of those diamonds you create as an artist that you’re so proud of you want to show the world straight away. But if you don’t yet have more work that matches that creativity, you have to keep it concealed and wait until it is the right time to show the world. As you can see, I’ve found it hard to pick one lol and then I could replace either of those with Journey due to how defining of my reality it is and again the message it has for others, that life is a journey that we have to face up to and make the most of.

What’s your top 5 played tunes this month?
Ay I am a music head I love a good song that can just take me away some times.

This month I’ve been on a different vibe and found a few foreign bangers too.

  1. Booba – DKR
  2. Booba – Valide
  3. Nasshhe si Chadh gayi – Befikre
  4. Likemikes23 – Foreign
  5. Tay600 – Pressure

Love that. What are your plans for summer/any gigs?
Ayye summer will be fun and I most definitely will be playing as many gigs as possible then. As well as the music; Summertime I’m looking to be putting on Project Elevate which was birthed last year and is a creative space for young people to come and take advantage of during the 6 week break where they can develop various creative or technical skills; be inspired and have a safe place to chill out and meet new people.

That’s sick. Big up yourself for giving back. What’s the last best gig you’ve been to? The most fun I’ve had at gig was at my own EP launch earlier this year and I booked my friend Rhymestar to come down and perform his new single Understand Me along with my other guy Maxx Profits and they both absolutely killed it. I can’t remember being more gassed than that at a performance in the last few years…

If you could have one dream collab who would it be and why?
A dream collab would have to be with Bob Marley and Tupac; but that will have to wait until Heavens doors open and everything little thing will be alright 🙂

Who produced the EP?
Producers include:

  1. L,L,L,S – Garf
  2. Loving Life – Cornerboy Muzik
  3. Blessed – Kazebeats (recently produced Joe Grinds Pon Di Riddim)
  4. They Don’t Know – Golduss – produced and featured on the hook in particular tracks 6,7,8.
  5. Positive Vibez – Steamer an artist/producer from West London.

Eerf Evil (Live Free) is my blood brother and also fellow rhymer and constant inspiration in my life. I am looking forward to more collaborations with these talented artists and producers.

Now for the review, please have a read and a listen.

#1 A chilled out summer old school hip hop Reggie Snow vibe. Solid opening track.

#2 Ad libs. UK Rap is doing it’s a ting right now and this track proves the longevity of the trap beat and ad libs combo. Lyrically tight with honest content this gives us a glimpse into Kwakzino’s journey into music.

#3 Journey – this is my favourite tune off the EP. Life is for living not for being shook. Sick opening bar. The instrumental is beautiful and Kwakzino’s flow compliments the narrative of the tune Journey. Solid hook, after one listen I couldn’t get it out of my head. “Hard work pays, that’s all I push now”

#4 We get to track 4 and Kwakzino proves he can spit. I like the continuity and the consistent positive message he spreads. Again the lyrics reflect that music is his ting now, it’s rare that someone calls bs on trapping and the headache that comes with being in the game. I respect his hustle and the message. Also, the beat is SICK.

#5 A chilled out vibe, looking forward to listening to this over summer.

#6 Living life and I’m loving it. SNM. I want to hear this in the rave. Kwakzino has an ear for beats which is clearly demonstrated through the variety of tracks on the project. This is the biggest beat, it goes hard and I’m loving it.

#7 I dare you to listen to this and not dab. This tune made me happy and count my blessings. Life is good when you listen to BLESSED.

#8 This is catchy and vibey as hell. Ending the EP on another big beat. Kwakzino’s voice is sick this is a solid EP that illustrates his ability to bridge genres, present the best that UK rap has to offer with flow and the skill of storytelling through his lyrics.

I predict big things to come.

 

7th April – Weekly Selecta

Selecta

This time last week I was getting ready to SHELL IT THE F DOWN at the biggest motive of the year. The legendary Sian Anderson hooked me up with 2x tickets to the Floor Sixx official launch party. See the video below for the waviness. Sian and J2K have set up a mentoring scheme, creative hub and label for emerging artists. Such a sick idea with clout and opportunities that have been lacking for too long in the industry, huge ratings for this initiative. Read Notion’s article for more details here.

 

Juice and POWERRRR Juice and POWEEER

Afro B performed this at Sian’s Fluxx at Floor 6 launch party on Friday (did I mention it was a lituation?) and it went OFF. Yes to Bagel King cameo. Afro B just keeps coming through with the vibes.

Kojo Funds dropped the visuals for Fear No One. He does no wrong.

Hardy Caprio’s latest. Enjoy.

31st March – Weekly Selecta

Selecta

Mist is doing it right now. He makes me so proud to be from Birmingham. And I will forever love him for coming through with the “karlas, apnars, gorahs” line. YES. This is my favourite video in a LONG time. He’s in Iceland and husky is wearing his chain – are you dumb?! The fur trim jackets and the 50 Cent swag – he is killing it.

This is the best tune out right now.

You alright yeah?! Ask your mum she good yeah?!

This song is great. Jokes and jiggy. Check it out.

I know it was released way before now but this week I have been banging this tune. It’s a mad collab and one to reload.

Kendrick coming through with Humble. I am feeling the comeback of Kendrick, his last two releases have been interesting and a sign of great things to come. The video is awesome, mad trippy and makes you wanna wile out.

Grime, Knife Crime and Stormzy’s LBC clapback

Politics

I am proud to have written this piece originally for the Youth Violence Commission which can be found here.

“All the suit wearing guys in cities can’t stand us. They don’t understand us.” – P Money

Top down approaches make young people feel they are the problem when they are often the solution. The commission will give us back our voices. I know I am not alone (especially if you are a Londoner) in thinking that every time we open the paper or read the news there is a mention of a stabbing or fatality. What I find even more depressing is that often the victim is younger than me.

Youth violence is an issue that affects communities across the U.K. The systemic failings of government policy, cuts and lack of funding to community services have contributed. It is naïve to label violence and knife crime synonymously with gang-violence. It is an issue of multiple complexities and we must change the narrative.

Deprivation and poverty can lead to a lack of aspiration. Alternatives to the lifestyle that goes hand in hand with youth violence should be presented. Success stories and role models exist, from family members and youth workers to footballers and musicians. The media portrayal of young people needs to change, the discrimination against figures such as grime MC’s and rappers fuels resentment.

A caller on LBC accused Stormzy and grime music of being one of the main reasons behind the knife crime epidemic in the UK. In a classic move, Stormzy called out LBC on the first track of his new album Gang Signs and Prayer, ‘First Things First’ saying: “ LBC’s tryna’ black ball me and tryna’ blame your boy for knife crime, I don’t use a shank, I got money in the bank man, I’d rather do a drive by”.

Big Mike was invited onto LBC to respond to the initial remarks in an interview with Shelagh Fogarty. He explained that Grime is an expression of circumstances. MC’s are social commentators reporting on their reality. As Stormzy put it, “for someone to say that grime music is the reason for the country’s knife crime epidemic – that is wild.”

Anyone who listens to Grime knows that MC’s cover the realest of topics that bear relevance to their communities. The nuances of discussing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, bereavement, violence, deprivation and angst through Grime is not lost on its fans. Grime is powered by determination; this determination is what is needed to end youth violence and the needless loss of life.

Harnessing the message and energy of grime music is at the crux of combatting youth violence. By understanding the key messaging of police brutality, institutionalised racism and a resignation to life in a system that is not balanced in their favour; we can seek to engage and make meaningful change. All these lessons can be learnt from this genre.

Grime is pure, unadulterated, raw truth at 140bpm. It reflects anti-establishment and anti-corruption. Grime encapsulates and articulates life for many people across the U.K. Grime’s success and growth in popularity in the last couple of years has only reinforced its cultural importance as a social and political movement. It is the voice of the unrepresented in society, those that are frustrated with their situation and who are motivated to better themselves.

Profiling people based on their taste in music is discriminatory and laughable and Stormzy was right to defend the genre and his journey. The Commission is here to ensure that policy is created at a grassroots levels involving communities. I am keen to give Grime and its MC’s the platform they deserve and the Youth Violence Commission offers this opportunity. Their insights are a necessity to this process and it’s important to eradicate all preconceived notions that authorities have of the culture.

Stop Youth Violence

Politics

“Keeping people safe is the first duty of government”

Youth violence is more important than political differences. I am pleased to be working with Vicky Foxcroft MP who has set up a cross-party commission of 6 MP’s, which will give this debate the recognition it deserves. The aim is to understand how violence manifests itself and what factors influence young people. Youth consultation is imperative to form effective solutions and policy recommendations. At the moment I am doing what I can to help the Youth Violence Commission by adding my thoughts on causes and solutions.

In 2016 10 young people were killed:

  • Moamen Settar 18
  • Lance Scott Walker 18
  • Ziggy Worrell-Owusu 19
  • Andre Aderemi 19
  • Leoandro Osemeke 16
  • Andrew Oteng-Owusu 19
  • Folajimi Michael Orebiyi 17
  • Matthew Kutandure 18
  • Myron Issac Yarde 17
  • Munashi Charles Kutyaurippo 16

Youth violence is an issue that plagues many families and communities. I have been devastated by the death toll of young people. Each death is a tragedy, which with the right understanding can be avoided.

Root causes include traumas in childhood, the lack of support for parenting, the influence of peer groups and social and cultural norms. As do poverty, deprivation and mental health. The existing interventions and previous tactics used to address youth violence have been inconsistent. It is necessary to use expertise provided by those who tirelessly work to address these issues.

There needs to be improved access to mental health care particularly CAMHS (Child and adolescent mental health services). We know that early intervention can prevent later violent behaviour. Employment workshops, apprenticeships, life skills programmes in schools and communities are all possible solutions. Schools are an opportunity to identify early pressures on young people particularly for gang involvement.

To provide these vital local solutions, funding and cuts need to be addressed. The Commission will take recommendations to Westminster to secure the funding to maintain and improve these services.

In practice the Commission should be a hub of ideas collated from as many people as possible. The experiences of victims and their families should be heard and considered. As well as from gang members, the public and a range of experts.

There is a lot of trauma within our communities and it is only by working together that we can begin to heal and stop the needless violence.

Together we can break the cycle.

If you would like to be involved or have your say please register your interest via www.youthviolencecommission.org  or you can tweet me/fill in the contact form on my site.

More Life Selecta

Reviews from the 6, Selecta

Drake dropped More Life and it is giving me More Life.

I appreciate it as a solid album that flows seamlessly from track to track.

Also, massive respect to Drake for the recognition. His album is a salute to the UK music scene. It’s only good for our music to get the publicity and attention it is long overdue.

BUT, idk idk I just cba with at least half of the tracks on there. Every tune is decent but I can only listen to Drake whining for so many tracks in succession.

Do not get it twisted. I love Drake. From Time G. This is just my opinion on the album. I would have preferred an actual collab with Dave but maybe we aren’t ready for that level of greatness yet.

Here is my spotify playlist version of the album. Half the tracks but double the skengness.

#1 I hate the way he says Free Shmoke in Free Smoke and again he seems to be moaning about something but I’m not really sure what? Your life seems nice b, relax.

#2 Giggs is MY GUY. But No Long Talk is too beggy for life. Drake is trying to hard to fall in with the crew and it’s not Giggs best verse. BUN ALL THESE AMERICANS that are cussing Giggs though. BUN YOUR ENTIRE EXISTENCE. The only reason No Long Talk is a track is because of hollowman.

#3 Passionfruit. Now THIS. THIS is something I can get with. This would be my first track on the album. Vibey as fuck and I love the Moodyman skit (37:39 in). This song is perfect. Well done drizzy.

#4 BIG UP WEST MIDS ALL DAY ALL DAY. Yes Jorja Smith. Jorja Interlude is sick because Jorja Smith’s voice is that good good honey and syrup and she’s from Walsall – love that. It ends with that Marvin’s room nostalgia from Take Care. Sick.

#5 Get It Together ❤ The interlude flows into this tune, Jorja’s vocals over a Katy B-esque beat. It’s funky, it’s R&B and will be played at many a UK BBQ this year. Gwarn Drake.

#6 Madiba Riddim + Drake crooning “I can’t tell who is my friend” it’s more of a miss than a hit for me. The instrumental would have been preferred to this version.

#7 BLEM …. UNRULY. Initially I was like but, “Blem means cigarette wtf m8?” NOW I am ouchea like “I’m blem for real I might just say how I feel”. Whatever you say blem means Aubrey then that’s gravy I’ll just be here doing the most. Also “I need you to stop running back to your ex, he’s a wasteman” is 100% every girl’s Instagram caption here on out.

#8 4422. Amazing. Sampha’s voice is sensational. His voice does make me feel quite melancholy though. Don’t know if banging this straight after Blem is such a good shout.

#9 Gyalchester. The beat drop that everyone wanted from the album. We had to wait until track 9 to get it but it was worth it. The classic Drake flow is gully as hell here. And he don’t take naps! This is all I wanted from him. Also, as an ex Manchester resident I am gassed for everyone who lives there now who can rightfully bang this hard.

#10 Skepta Interlude. Skeppy is a madness. Block that account it’s a catfish. I wanted to hear Drake’s take on grime. He made a smart move by just letting the best bless his album and bring grime the only way Skepta can. This goes hard and is a nice relief from the whining on the album.

#11 Portland. The rising popularity in flutes and trap is sick. I am with it. Quavo and Travis Scott come through with the jiggiest of tunes.

#12 Sacrifices ft 2 Chainz and Young Thug. Everyone is too gassed by Youth Thug’s voice on this. I really do not care the tune is kinda dead and feels like a filler. Young Thug’s voice does sound amazing in isolation so yes to more of this but bun this tune.

#13 Nothings Into Somethings. This is good if you’re looking for a sad-gang instagram caption. Otherwise again, boring.

#14 Teenage Fever. Mmmhmm honey. Yes. Sprung like spring. Grab your babes and tell em you love them. The new Marvin’s Room? (Nothing will beat Stevie Wonder pon the track but this is live). Love that Dave is on the outro. Big up Santan. Reminds me of I get lonely too. The J-Lo sample in this is perfection. If you like this tune you’ll love this old Cyril Hahn mix. Enjoy

#15 KMT. This. THIS. Giggs goes all the way IN. Bringing that dirty dirty, bringing that certy. This showcases Giggs flow, lyrical humour and all around gulliness. Thanks Drake for letting Giggs just kinda take this one. It works in your favour. AGAIN. Any Americans who don’t get Giggs, don’t understand grime and never will. So stay where you’re at beggy longstockings and listen to some EDM or some shit.

#16 Lose You. Yo Drake here, more whining fi ya head top. Leave this for your mixtape b.

#17 Can’t Have Everything. This makes me nostalgic for Take Care Underground Kings flow. It’s cool but he is just moaning again, I can’t relate homie. Your life is so bless. But your flow is still tight here so whatever.

#18 Glow. I love you Kanye. This is nice. It’s like the old Kanye, chop up the soul Kanye. This is peng. Makes me feel all glowed up. Well done to both.

#19 Since Way Back. I love PARTYNEXTDOOR. This is good, nothing amazing. Very average. Nice beat.

#20 Fake Love. This is a tune. Even though we have been playing this what feels like forever now I still love it. All round banger.

#21 Ice Melts. I way prefer Young Thug on this. Playful tune. A bit repetitive though. Quite like Drake’s mid-song intervention for the breakdown. Doesn’t make my version of More Life though.

#22 Do Not Disturb. NICE sampling. Drake does have sick taste. “I was an angry yout when I was writing Views” This is a nice end to the album and gives us more of an idea of where Drake is at emotionally with a life in the limelight. Check out the sample below it is beautiful. Here is an interview with Sona about her song being sampled on More Life.

17th March 2017 – Weekly Selecta

Selecta

Afrobashment special.

There are so many big afrobeats and bashment tunes that are making me long for summer. Here are the tunes I have been playing this week. Top 11 not 10 because I am extra like that.

You are welcome.

#1

My actual favourite rn. Problem Reekado Banks. It’s a problem. Sounds straight from Lagos.

#2

She needs more wood for the fire.

#3

“Jinja: 1. To give excessive energy to a person or situation, epecially through dance.
2. To make someone or something more lively. ”

She listen to lemonade, now she inna hella rage she don’t wanna talk to wastemen. Preach Fuse abeg.

#4

Ice Prince is that afrobeats veteran. I am still waiting for another Oleku. This is a tune but I don’t think it needs Krept & Co.

#5

I dare anyone to listen to this tune and stay still.

#6

EUGY OFFI-CI-AL he can do no wrong.

#7

An Alkaline & Konshens collab is always going to pop.

#8

His voice never gets old. Gyptian coming through as usual.

#9

Everything you want from a dancehall tune and video.

#10

Ryan De La Cruz – Know About Me

This is LITTY. Catch me jacking this tune and loading the gun fingers when power walking through hundreds of people in the underground. Motivation for the nation.

#11

Zee Trigger – Hush Up the Silence

The video says it’s Wiz Kid and Drake – ignore this. They have released their version of this tune because obviously Drake is begging to jump on an afrobeat tune as soon as possible. I haven’t heard the full version with Drake yet but whoever Zee Trigger is I am feeling his voice.