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.

 

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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.

Merky Selecta

Reviews from the 6, Selecta

24/02/17

The date that has been heavily promoted for the past few weeks has finally come to be.

Stormzy’s album Gang Signs and Prayer was released today.

As a body of work it is solid and seamless, from interludes, content and features.

His album covers many themes, his depression, trauma, youth violence, living in the ends, doing road, drugs, sex, his friends, girlfriend Maya Jama, family and his faith.

His first official release was “Big for your boots” a raw banger that suggested the rest of his album was going to contain screw face content about bussin up a man. This definitely plays a prominent role as Big Mike reflects on his upbringing and the environment he now finds himself out of. Below is a quick review, favourite bars and themes. Thealbum is BIG go cop that.

  1. First things first:  “you was fighting wit your girl when I was fighting my depression” Stormz also calls out LBC on the track, “LBC’s tryna’ black ball me, and tryna’ blame your boy for knife crime (like what?)”
  2. Cold: “Know a couple OGs that are living off crime (Cold)
    But a young black boy made a milli’ off grime (Wow)
    So tell Boris Johnson “suck your mum, we don’t care” (we don’t care, bruv)
    And tell them riot feds “oi, buss your gun? You won’t dare (you won’t dare bruv)
  3. Bad Boys: “Bad boy life ain’t all that you hoped for, should’ve done book but you wanna do gun” Ghetts and J Hus make for a fire collab, a classic hard verse from Ghetts dominates this tune which is nicely tied together with J Hus’ vocals.
  4. Blinded by your grace pt 1
    In an interview with The FADER, Stormzy said about Blinded By Your Grace Pt 1;

    I wanted to make a beautiful gospel song. But there’s a psychological thing that happens when I go into the booth [to sing]: when I’m listening back, I’m judging the song based on my vocal range. I said, “I’m not a fucking singer, I’m not Frank Ocean.” So I told [producer Fraser T. Smith], I want to record this in the studio, just on the sofa, live on the mic. I was able to do it without judging myself. “Blinded” reminds me of that Kanye West song, “Only One,” which is one of my favorites. The world loves that song, and we’re not judging Kanye for not sounding like fucking Usher. You can hear the sincerity of it, and it works. I needed to do that on my album. I was hellbent on getting all my emotions out in whatever way they needed to.

  5. SOUNDS OF THE BLUDCLART SIR. Sir Spyro coming through as ALWAYS. The video for this is sick and bigs up some fierce, independent ladies in the grime industry who are absolutely killing it. Love that.
  6. Velvet is my favourite tune of the album. The Jenny Francis outro/feature is absolutely genius. I am liking Stormzy coming through with the vocals, his voice is nice and compliments the smooth sounds of Nao. It’s a feel good love song to your babes and I dig it.
  7. MR SKENG. Stormzy firing shots at anyone who doubts his ability to MC. Another Sir Spyro production this song is sufficiently hype as an ode to the “dickhead yout and a dickhead crew, getting gassed up by your dickhead friends”.
  8. Cigarettes and Cush. Kehlani’s gorgeous vocals make for a peng sweetboy tune, Lily Allen sings the hook too, it’s a chilled out vibey track.
  9. 21 Gun Salute. Wretch 32’s voice and the overall tone of the track reminds you of church service. “Yeah, okay, our father who are in Heaven, know that I pray that I still stay repping”
  10. Blinded by your grace pt 2 feat MNEK. MNEK absolutely smashes the vocals on this. I am not sure whether I prefer part 1 or part 2 but I love the Chance the Rapper/Kanye the Life of Pablo vibes. “Lord I’ve been broken, although I’m not worthy, you fixed me, now I’m blinded, by your grace, you came and saved me”.
  11. Return of the Rucksack. “I don’t wanna be on Lord of the Mics with shit MC’s, nah bro, I’m above that” LOOL
  12. 100 bags. The track starts with a message from Big Mike’s mumsy. Speaking about the importance of faith and giving her son advice. This is an emotional track that made me choke up the first time I heard it. It’s truly beautiful. I love it.
  13. Don’t cry for me featuring Raleigh Ritchie. The content of this song is incredible. Stormzy so articulates the issues that faced him growing up and the younger generations today too. “Tryna tell my young Gs to relax and invest in life, they invest in knives, man I was in my history class when my bredrin died, so vexed that I cried, but I come from a place where the mandem can’t let shit slide, so we rest in pride, and it kills us slow”
  14. Crazy Titch – Interlude. SNM. Just listen.
  15. Shut Up. The studio mastered version takes away the energy of the original Shut Up recording. But the XTC instrumental lives on forever and I will forever love Stormzy for spitting over it.
  16. Lay me bare. The title says it all. Stormzy lays his soul bare on this track. It’s incredible, raw, open and so necessary. I will be writing on Stormzy speaking about experiencing depression in more detail later on. I rate him very highly for this.

    Lord help me please I’m breaking down
    Tryna’ call my name and take my crown
    Little bit of pain I’ll paint the town
    When they put me in my grave don’t make a sound
    Cos’ there’s still some days I find it hard
    Smoke my spliff and write my bars
    I know they see me climbing charts
    But plaques won’t help me find my heart
    Yo God, what’s good? I need you bad
    Devil’s in my ear I need you back
    Got scars in my soul I’ve been attacked
    Even when I’m low I seem relaxed
    But then year’s been mad I lost my way
    They think I went ghost to drop my tape
    Not knowing that I fell and lost my faith
    Like Satan please no, not today
    So fuck this shit this ain’t a joke
    Just to get away I take a toke
    I took this pain and made a boat
    Lord knows how the fuck it’s staying afloat
    Last year I cried too many times
    Weren’t for Flipz and weren’t for rhymes
    Weren’t for Rachel, weren’t for Kelly
    Man them people saved my life
    Like man’a get low sometimes, so low sometimes
    Airplane mode on my phone sometimes
    Sitting in my house with tears in my face
    Can’t answer the door to my bro sometimes
    Roaming around all alone sometimes
    Don’t know sometimes
    I was a young Ned Stark
    But this shit’s like Game of Thrones sometimes

 

 

 

 

Godfather Selecta

Reviews from the 6, Selecta

One thing that is apparent with this album is the quality of the lyrical content. Wiley is not playing games. A pioneer of grime he sets the bar for his bars – literally.

For a sick review of Godfather by Jesse Bernard  for Complex click here it’s pretty accurate.

And here is my homie Ian McQuaid in an exclusive interview with Wiley talking about the future of Grime, his legacy and being blocked on twitter by the legend himself.

In November I saw Wiley perform in Manchester at the Warehouse Project and I’ve copped tickets to see him at the Roundhouse on February 9th for the Godfather Show. If you haven’t done so already get on it. Go on then go on then. It will be blessings on blessings.

Here are some of my favourite bars from each track. Lyrics for lyrics calm.

Birds n Bars

“Most of my gyal dem are cool but some of them are divas”

Man get weak off a gyal like Julius Caesar”

“I’m like Nike, I do it, I come through with a swoosh

“You’re plain and I’m the loaded nachos              
I played the game for long on my cash flows”

Bring Them All

“I’m nang and I know it
Pass me the mic, I’ll show it”

“If I wanna bring 25 MCs out
I’ll bring them all”

“Wanna talk grime? Then I’m still the one
All of the doubt, that’s gone
Why? Because I’m the lyrical don”

Bring Them All/Holy Grime feat Devlin

I posted about his track in October Ngl one of the hardest opening lines to a track

“Drink ‘nough beers before the game, what d’ya call that? Georgie Best MC,
Listen, I don’t rest MC,
You man sleep, that’s why you’re not the best MC,
You man are part time, never had beef,
Now you’re on the mic like a bulletproof vest MC,
I’m a double, precious Tek MC”

“Come sailin’ along like a boss
With the flow I’m like rah, what the ras?”

Name Brand feat JME, Frisco & J2K

The features on this are mad. The instrumental is grimey af reminiscient of nokia days.

“That’s the gameplan
The thug dem rate man
The gyal dem rate man
Frisco’s a name brand
And where I come from, the police all hate man
Haters hate cuh they ain’t man”

“Is that cool? Well, that’s swell
Do you feel me? Well, that’s braille
I’m like a high street store to the gyal dem
Who can’t keep their hands off the name brand sales”

Speakerbox

Yo, hear me on the sets ’cause I grace ’em
Me and Dizzee made it an occupation
Came from a council estate, I know ’em all, you can name ’em
I was outside in the cold it was rainin’
Standin’ on stairs chattin’ shit about the pagans
Nuttin’ don’t phase us, nuttin’ don’t phase ’em
You got a top boy on your side? Nobody rates him

Skepta comes in on the outro:“There’s no point in sayin’ these numbers to us anymore because we’ve seen them, yeah. So now everyone’s head’s on puttin’ this thing on the map in a way that all the kids of today never have to go through what we went through”

Back With A Banger

“Backstage chillin’ in the dance with my dargs dem

None of them are fake, you can ask them

People who are lookin’ a hype, I walk past ’em

Dons could be richer or poor, I won’t class ’em

Dons could be ready for war, my bars spark ’em

My sound travels the seas, that’s why I part ’em”

 

 Joe Bloggs feat Newham Generals & President T

“Oi, remember when Sharon Stone opened a leg,
Man are old school like Bill and Ted” – D Double

“Man ah man are old school, two strap FILA” – Footsie

“When I was a kid, I went so many house raves
Somebody always came through with the leng”

Pattern Up Properly feat Flowdan & Jamakabi

“My darg, remember your manners
Cuh mi nuh tek tough talk, rise every cannon
Slap one out of the rooftop
We mek dem scatter when they say they wanna group up
Bumbahole dead, tell a man move up
Alright then, shut down, shop and then roll out” –
Flowdan

“I’m a lyrical phenomenon

When I’m on the riddim, ain’t nobody badder than this

I’m honey, lemon and overproof rum

You’re just a likkle Lemsip”– Jamakabi


Can’t Go Wrong

“I used to go and get what I’m given,
Now I go and get what I’m worth”

“What’s gwaning? What’s the motion?
Fresh out the oven like a Sunday roast”

 Bang feat Ghetts

“Culture vultures, they owe us,
Oh, now they know us?” – Ghetts

“If I send for an MC,
Then man better reply tonight, not a week late,
If a man can’t move on from the war,
Right after it, bro, that’s a weak trait”

U Were Always Pt 2 feat Skepta & Belly

“Told me that you were at home sleepin (liar!)” – Skepta LOL

“All the fights and the hype got a G stressed out but I can’t lose sleep,
But this time I know that’s it’s over, bare more tings in the sea” – Belly

On this

I’ve shown you already what a string of luck brings
Don’t matter about your upbringin’”

“Top grime dons are the livest
All the fans come through and decide this
History’s written, I ain’t gotta rewrite it
Man are the elite, bro, we ain’t gotta hide it”

“Got a way with the words, haters wanna rain on my turf
‘Til I take ’em away in a hearse” –
Ice Kid

Bait Face feat Scratchy

“I walk in the place like, “Everybody’s better than me
Hmm, sike”, yeah, that’s hype”

My Direction feat Lethal Bizzle

“Yo, my name’s Wiley, I’m grimy
I’m too shiesty, you won’t get beside me”

Like It Or Not feat Breeze

“Like it or not, I was at the start
You was sayin’, “Stop dat”, we was in the dance”

“Man are on the street with MACs, knives and Glocks
And dons gettin’ ran down, chased round blocks
Dons gettin’ skied by multiple shots
Dons gettin’ kidnapped, dons gettin’ robbed
That’s why I tell a don, “Just go get a job”

Lucid

“All these days in a month
Tryna get everythin’ done
When I try do too much
I don’t get anythin’ done”

“I wanna see my genre where it belongs
It’s gettin’ bigger, are you hearin’ the songs”

Laptop

“Let me tell you how man got here,
Started off with the cracked software,
All them plugins made man”

P Money feat P Money

“I tell a don it ain’t funny
That’s why I practice, so I stay on point like P Money”

“First ten years, G, I was on a block hype
Some MCs are alike but I’m not like”
“None of them, and I’ve had wars with a ton of ’em
Nobody’s ever gonna do what we done again”

Monday 24th October – Daily Selecta

Reviews from the 6, Selecta

Went to see Geko yesterday at Electric Ballroom.

Eugy Official was there, along with Ard Adz and a surprise guest appearance from SNEAK to the BO. JET SKI WAN DAGGA DAGGA DAT.

Bare teenage girls screaming, bare aggy girls beefing with each other – was not prepared.

Geko was waved and his boy had to help him sing everything but w/e. I still love him and he still makes bangers.

Eugy was sick though. I’ve been listening to this song all summer and it still makes me wanna buss a skank.

Sunday 23rd October – Dizzee Rascal

Reviews from the 6, Selecta

Yesterday I got to see Dizzee Rascal perform his album Boy in Da Corner live at the Copper Box Arena at the Olympic Park in Stratford.

Venue was wicked. Crowd was live. Dizzee was amazing.

Would have liked it if he interacted with the crowd a bit but it was still sick.

All my videos are too bassy to upload but here is a link to how live it was.

SCREW FACE MEANS GET OUT THE WAY 

We are all human

Reviews from the 6

“We are all human” curated by Benjamin Zephaniah

15 September – 13 November 2016 Spirit Level at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall

At the beginning of this month I was just passing through Southbank when I happened across an exhibition that was curated by internationally acclaimed writer, dub poet and musician Benjamin Zephaniah.

My dad was born and bred in Handsworth, which is where I was also born. Zephaniah has always been a hero of his and as I’ve got older he has become one of mine. Handsworth back when my Dad grew up had a predominant and strong Jamaican influence and this music and poetry has heavily influenced my life. In fact Zephaniah called it the Jamaican capital of Europe. Love that. I’m about that.

This personal connection I have with Zephaniah’s work and influences is not necessary to be touched by the “We are all human” exhibition. It is however, a testament to his pioneering ways to bring music, poetry and art to everyone influenced by people and culture from the most unlikely of places.

The exhibition is the Koestler Trusts annual UK showcase of arts created by prisoners, offenders on community sentences, secure psychiatric patients and immigration detainees.

It is in its ninth year and I’ll be honest I’d never heard of it before. The Koestler Trust, the UK’s best­ known prison arts charity and is part of an ongoing partnership between the Koestler Trust and Southbank Centre.

“I was in prison myself in the 1970’s and back then there was no way you could express yourself. I felt like a creative being but there was nothing there to do. I express myself through words, and here I am surrounded by people who express themselves in different ways – matchsticks, paper mache, painting. Every bit of artwork in the exhibition has meaning; everything is relevant to the person who’s created it. We are all human, it’s a really simple truth, even if people are going through difficult times we are all trying to survive. We are all here because of circumstance. In my younger years everyone told me I would spend my life in prison, but there was a little spark inside of me that thought – ‘no, I’m a poet.’ I want the artists to know that their work is valuable, in terms of expression and adding to the whole conversation about life.” – Benjamin Zephaniah

Zephaniah has selected a diverse range of artworks from nearly 7,000 pieces submitted to the 2016 Koestler Awards from across the UK.

As soon as you walk in you see the impressive matchstick modelling, a traditional prison craft.

As you make your way around the gallery there are a couple of benches with headphones where you can sit and listen to music created by prisoners and offenders. Some of the songs were actually so good the gun fingers came out.

Surrounding these benches is an array of paintings and sculptures, so varied, reflecting different themes such as comfort and time. The detail and skill is phenomenal and you can actually purchase the artworks. When I went at the beginning of the month there were a considerable number of pieces that have already been sold.

Zephaniah selected works that explore themes of time and the natural environment, with a particular focus on creative writing and poetry within this year’s display. The entire exhibition is thought provoking and at times intense and hard-hitting. Each piece has a story that reveals something of the artist; a lot of the pieces do not have an explanation with them, which leaves you to concoct an image or story behind the piece.

Here are some photos of my favourite pieces. I even took the time to fill in the feedback forms with my favourite piece (I filled in like 5 it was so difficult to choose). The Trust sends the comments from the feedback forms back to the artists so if you go definitely take a minute to do this!

I highly recommend you go and see this while it’s still on. It’s free, the talent is madting and the pieces are sick. You’ve got until 13th November!

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