– THE CHARM OFFENSIVE –
Kojey Radical’s first new solo music in around two years is a significant departure for the rapper, with the vibe taking a considerably more upbeat tone even if the lyrics could be addressing some of his darkest material yet.
That’s quite some statement for anyone who, like me, first heard Radical when he released Kwame Nkrumah, the darkly demonic incantation to the Ghanaian politician and revolutionary of the same name.
But, in 2019, the mind behind the albums 23Winters (2016) and In God’s Body (2017) appears to be reincarnated in a new, rejuvenated form. And with it is almost certainly coming the most exciting music we’ve heard from this endlessly fascinating artist.
On 16th May, Radical released Can’t Go Back and, on the same day, posted a video on his social media channels talking about how he hadn’t been “feeling right” in his own mind for around two years.
“I needed that room for clarity.” He later said of his absence. “If I’m gonna open up and talk about my darker moments I don’t want it to be sad. I wanna celebrate the fact I’m doing better. Can’t Go Back is the first siren in a symphony. The sound track to my emancipation.”
And while even a cursory glance at the lyrics will back up the sentiment, ‘emancipatory’ is certainly a good word for the musical make-up of Can’t Go Back.
Chock-full of blaring horns and electric guitar licks over hip-hop beats, the track ascends to new levels in the chorus with the addition of strings and choral back-ups.
It ends with what sounds like genuine celebration and laughter and, in these times when mental illness seems to be affecting more and more young men, it is a real pleasure to hear a man of such intensity learning to let go. Long may it continue.
There’s no official word on a new release as yet but it’s understood a new project will be in the offing from Kojey Radical later in the year.
MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S MIX
RAPHAEL SAADIQ: SOMETHING KEEPS CALLIN’
SEBA KAAPSTAD: AFRICA
TIZIANO BIANCHI: NIN-COM-POP
P.S. You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
– SV –