Spoken word and performance poetry has always had the power to inspire, influence and galvanise, perhaps more so than straight-up rap. Artists like Scroobius Pip, Saul Williams and George the Poet have tackled social and political issues head-on using the aesthetics of word play and storytelling.
Kojey Radical is part of this new wave of performance poets who speak vividly on today’s social and political climate in a similar way to Gil Scott Heron’s prevalent call to arms The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. His voice is strong, relevant and contemporary over stark rising 808’s. Basslines hum and buzz as sounds wash in and out, encircling his bold and confrontational lyrics.
London’s New Machine has crafted the Delphian trap infused production following his celebrated collaboration with Wretch 32, Kano and Chip.
“Open Hand” tackles ideas of separation through class and race. Kojey offers a perspective inspired by unity and togetherness, opposing the closed fist approach of aggression acting as a direct juxtaposition to his tone and presence in the instrumentation.
“Heard notions of positivity discarded like pieces
of puzzles. Muzzled echoes of greatness in fear
society may not feel the same elations.
We no longer need to close our fists for the revolution”
Having recently supported Mercury prize winning Young Fathers on a nationwide tour, Kojey is showing his rising importance as an artist and voice for a new generation. This has been further exemplified by garnering the attention of Paloma Faith, Maverick Sabre, GoldLink, Tinie Tempah and actress Zawe Ashton.
“I’ve been getting this king status attached to my name a lot recently, It’s something I’ve struggled to accept because I feel as if I’m on the ground with the people. Quite frankly, people are afraid. Speaking your mind instantly attaches a stigma to your intent, because of that the initial point gets lost while you battle to be perceived in a certain way.” Opines Kojey.
“I do not care how people perceive me, not even a little bit. I will always speak my truth when I feel it needs to be heard.” He continues. “We’re in a very delicate time where even the word black is treated with a level of sensitivity because of how we’ve been conditioned to think. The revolution is not in the closed fist it’s in the open hand because an open hand represents acceptance. Something we all need to learn to embrace.”
Open Hand is available now.