Kojey Radical is one of the most innovative artists emerging in the UK with a sound and visual style distinctive from anything else happening in the rap scene there at the moment. For those interested in embracing Radical’s incredible modus operandi live, he will be appearing at Kantine Im Berghain next month and you can win tickets to be there by entering our raffle.
Even though he is from the same generation as many of the prominent rappers that have risen to success as part of the UK grime scene, to put Kojey Radical in the same box wouldn’t be an accurate statement. Sure, his music shares some of the musical characteristics and themes of his contemporaries, but in reality, you only have to scratch a tiny bit deeper to realise he has cultivated a genre that is idiosyncratic in its own way and Kojey Radical is independent in every sense of the word. There is no artist on the UK scene that Radical could be compared to and the musical package that the 27-year-old Londoner creates is one that is self-contained.
The reason the word “package” is chosen here is that Radical’s music encapsulates more than just his lyrical delivery, that often can be said to be defined closer to poetry or spoken word as opposed to a conventional rap style, but also the visual accompaniments that come with them. While of course, I’m referring to his videos which are often surrealist in nature I am also talking about Radical himself, as he is also a visual piece of art with both make-up and costumes playing a huge part of his artistic persona. Indeed, Kojey Radical is much as a visual artist as he is a musician and the two combined are what makes him such captivating figure on the UK music scene.
So much so that I distinctly remember the first time I ever came across Radical’s music some 5 years ago. Sitting back in the family home (presumably stoned) on some idle summer weekday around midnight, Channel 4 randomly showcased the music video to one of his earliest tracks, Bambu. Alongside a haunting beat and contemplative lyrics that critique the nuances of modern culture that build-up to a dramatic finish, the accompanying video is a beautifully shot visual masterpiece that complemented the essence of the track perfectly. Instantly, I was hooked and for the remainder of the summer, Bambu was my go-to track.
As it transpired, Bambu would go on to be the lead track of his 23Winters EP that dropped some 6 months later. This was in fact his second release having already released his Dear Daisy: Opium project two years prior – directly after he had graduated from the London College of Fashion with a Fashion Illustration degree, thus providing us with the first insight into his existing visual creative flair. These two albums are some of his darkest and experimental works with a mish-mash of different sounds and subjects permeating through the releases- although this is true for the latter to a lesser extent.
Since 23 Winters, he has since released two full albums. First, In Gods Body, in 2017 which provides a more consistent sound and theme throughout with the album being held together by an on-going poem written by Kojey. This is somewhat of a continuation of the themes found in 23 Winters but, as the name of the album suggests, this album was more spiritually heavy and dealt with existentialism to a greater extent. Black identity is also a part of the subject matter too, notably in the track, After Winter (unlikely a coincidental naming) which, alongside the video, deals with this specifically. The album was also very feature-rich, with the appearance of with 8 of the 13 tracks being contributed to from another artist. One of the most prominent, being UK grime legend, Ghetts.
Cashmere Tears is his most recent album, having been released in 2019. This is fair to say, the most mainstream of his releases so far and aptly is what has propelled him into a wider audience. It is the certainly the most optimistic and soulful album to date, notably the title track, Cashmere Tears. Although in terms of lyrical content and as a visual spectacle, the content of this album continues the Kojey Radical mantra of delivering the unexpected and avoiding stagnation.
This is the album that he is currently touring but will likely consist of a selection of his tracks from his four projects thus far. A view on his Instagram story will already tell you that it is looking like a very immense affair and that it will be an evening of energy and powerful content. If you want to be there send an email to win@ indieberlin to win yourself tickets.
Originally from the so-called, Garden of England, Kent, Will Macmaster is a passionate journalist who has covered music, alongside numerous other subjects, across Europe for nearly half a decade. Previously operating in The UK, Malta, The Netherlands and Turkey, he recently moved to Berlin to get involved in one of the most vibrant music scenes in the world. Fearless, innovative, and charismatic are just some of the words he knows.