Finding success in threes, rising South-East London artist Kai Kwasi shares his spellbinding new offering “Cracks” - the first single from his debut EP Jahlila.
Whether it be drawing on dreamy or underground soundscapes, Kai Kwasi radiates an energy unmatched. His creations are full of warmth, sentiment, and verve, but defy any conventional genre boundaries - as seen on this year's earlier releases "unt" and "sms". With a background in photography and film, Kai's production extends beyond audio as he conceptualises and contextualises his tracks with captivating visuals.
Born to a rapper Father and street dancer Mother, an early, formative introduction to creativity left an indelible mark on Kwasi. From a young age, he connected with the sounds of D’Angelo, Kano, and Jay Z, while also being exposed to the likes of Otis Redding and Drummers of Burundi. Now, while Kai often ties himself to elements of R&B and soul, definitions are somewhat reductive when his tracks seamlessly float through an endless melange of instrumentation and influences.
In “Cracks”, Kwasi slightly alters his formula. Opening with a gently strummed guitar, the track captures a drifting state of mind while his thoughts fester against the clatters of percussion. Known for putting passion behind his vocal delivery, he channels his introspections into a slow rap, spoken word portion in the final moments.
“I wrote ’Cracks’ following a conversation I had with Joy [Crookes] about the feeling of spiralling and how sometimes it can feel like comfort in familiarity,” he shares about the creative scene and group of friends that feels like a natural home.
“We played ‘Cut Me’ by Moses Sumney and talked about the lyrics in that “Might not be healthy for me but seemingly I need - what cuts me”. It was one of those moments where someone articulates a feeling you’ve been feeling perfectly. One of those moments where you realise we’re all living such a similar experience and that you’re very rarely alone in whatever strange emotion you might be thinkin’ or feeling.”
“Cracks” is the first single to be taken from Kwasi’s upcoming debut EP, Jahlila, named after his late Grandmother. “My Nana was and still is a huge part of my life. She taught me kindness and patience and always encouraged me to do what was best.”
“She passed away a while ago now but I still find myself reaping the benefits of the seeds she sowed in life. My love for art, my appreciation for the small things, my friends, my taste in music and tbh my general outlook on life. She takes every step I take with me, a model for how life should be lived. I guess I’m naming my first project after her as a further excuse to celebrate her.”