“This isn’t fast food music. This is a meal for the soul”.
Kojey Radical is a creator with visionary intent. Using a diverse portfolio of artistic mediums, the Hoxton-born artist’s latest project, Cashmere Tears, is a luxurious tapestry of emotive lyricism and stark, reflective episodes of depression. It's the “siren in a symphony. The sound track to [his] emancipation”.
His music nourishes you, smooth and silken in its texture and luxurious to the touch. Using his projects as a form of self-discovery, Cashmere Tears is highly introspective, picking its way through the uneven terrain of depression and anxiety. Despite these moments of darkness, the ten track project is a celebration of finding those moments of clarity and turning to those around you for continued support: “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”.
Turning his search light on themes of family, God, creativity and love, the LP is a polychromatic palette awash with vibrant jazz, gospel and hip hop hues. “Can't Go Back”, the project's debut track, is a humble moment of clarity. It's brutally honest in its depiction of mental ill-health ("I can't go back / To feeling like I wanna die / Feeling like I'll never fly"), pulling threads from the darkness to create a rich tapestry of hope as he slowly moves towards the light. The euphoric brass instrumentation concludes with applause and laughter, filled with the sounds of collaborative compassion and therapeutic harmony.
His holistic approach to the arts is most prominently felt in the visuals that accompany the artistic piece. “2020” thrusts the audience into Radical's surreal multiverse, translating his experience across space and time. "CONFORM" demands the flickering static of the television screen, eager to resist the limiting labels the industry has assigned him. It's a fast-paced and dazzling listen, exuding a restless energy which only comes up for air as the track crashes into a climatic flurry of string instrumentation at its close.
The title track is lavished with funk filled guitar melodies and Radical's guttural, arresting vocals - pooling into the wells of the single's smooth, buttery surface. Emotional repression has tragic, life altering consequences, and his ability to put these shared experiences at the centre of his art is a humbling endeavour.
“Hours” is a sensual, falsetto-rich number, one of the highlights from the project. It's deeply intimate and darkly lustful, articulated like a letter of seduction. Although this sexual pleasure brings light relief, the LP quickly manoeuvres into the gnarled bitterness of “Feel About It”.
Temptations arise like celestial spirits in the darkness, manifesting themselves in vices which threaten to pull the protagonist into sin. The song curtails into a vicious voicemail: “You fucking place the blame on everybody else / It's everybody else’s fault / You need to take some fucking accountability for your actions.” Listing flaws, setbacks and emotional deflections, anger rises in insurmountable waves before crashing to the shores, bringing Radical's guilty conscience with it.
Although brutal and heart-breaking, the direct honesty of a scorned lover is the power he needs for reflection, to turn towards divine intervention. The feminised paradise of In God's Body is resurrected as the LP draws to a close: “I spoke to God last night / She said Harry said he's proud of you”. The rich gospel inflections of “Last Night” turn to God as a spiritual healer, providing enlightenment and guidance through those moments of infinite grief and heartbreak. It's brilliantly cathartic, Radical's voice at its richest and most refined. “Some feelings are more expensive than others,” he declares, finding emotional nourishment in divinity. “May every tear feel like cashmere on your skin and let your ego fall like silk.”
So what do we do next?