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PHANTOM OF THE AFTERS finds Kojaque keeping his ghosts away with fun, flings and friskiness


Release date: 27 October 2023
Kojaque Phantom of the Afters cover
27 October 2023, 09:00 Written by Sophia McDonald

Kojaque gives with both hands with his hefty sophomore album Phantom of the Afters.

15 tracks long, the record keeps your ears pricked up as a jigsaw of influences weave their way in. Melding UK and US sounds together, the question of Kojaque having an identity crisis comes to mind. That said, the Irish rapper’s journey to crafting his own sound is playful and ultimately captures his personality.

Never shying away from niche Irish references, opener "Jackie Dandelion" sees the rapper "take the soup" (one of the worst things you can do as an Irish person), board the plane and take the hour flight for the “easy way out”. Alas, it’s what many young Irish people end up doing and we hear the first English accent on clever "Larry Bird". Recording the “voices” of London, small skits of radio shows and street rants immerse you in a somewhat foreign environment.

Recent romance, past depression and loud London paired with sleek production stitch the record together. His signature saxophone and jazz twist pop up and add to the chill R&B tracks like "What If?". With the calm comes the storm and Kojaque finds his own flow despite the tones of Kendrick, Dave and Aitch that creep in. "Citizen Kane" combines tense piano with droning bass, cinematic meeting with dubby-trap with a hint of drill. The choir is reminiscent of Life of Pablo and elevates the track, making it a highlight of Phantom of the Afters.

Closer "Heaven Shouldn’t Have You" shines as Kojaque once again incorporates heartfelt emotion. There has always been a deep passion in his music as seen with early single "White Noise", a spoken word track about Dublin injustice. Tapping into the age-old story of Irish emigration, he pleads to be understood for taking the same journey so many have done before: “Hope you know I love you / Call you when I’ve landed.” Ending with a snippet of Sammy Copley’s song "Irish Goodbye", homesickness percolates past the bravado of a new London life.

Phantom of the Afters sees Kojaque find his feet, lifted by those who have come before him. Despite this strong infusion of others, Kojaque’s unique perspective and innate Irish humour keep the record flowing. This record won’t be haunting his dreams and is sure to be played at many afters in his native home.

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