DLTM passed through Cargo in Shoreditch earlier this week to catch a young British lyricist who is coming through strong at the moment. Kojey Radical is his name and he powered through his appearance at the east London venue, captivating the audience with his energetic presence and lyrical prowess.
Kojey Radical was a name unfamiliar to us until very recently, but we’re very glad he’s popped up on our radar. He recently supported last year’s Mercury Prize Winners Young Fathers on tour, he’s got an infectious energy and lyrics for days… his delivery too exudes an air of authority though it’s not preachy. He’s like that friend who speaks his mind, no fluff, no bullshit, and means every word he says.
At Cargo he was on the bill alongside Vince Staples, the US rapper who’s recently been touring with A$AP Rocky and Tyler The Creator, and he commanded the stage from the off. Accompanied by a very stylish backing band comprised a guitarist, drummer and keyboard player, Kojey kicked off his show with a friend of DLTM, a performer named Zulu. Zulu is also a member of The Ancient Moons with Damian Lazarus, who was featured on the site recently. Performing ‘Preacher, Preacher’ the two artists were a joy to watch and listen to, setting things off with a vibrant atmosphere.
From then on in it was all about Kojey and his band, his powerful voice dominated the room as he worked his way through a series of insightful, well constructed vocal performances, singing and rapping, dancing with joy and holding his space on stage like a true pro. Our personal favourites included ‘Can I Speak To Em?’, a rousing set of verses with a call and response chrous – all done acapella style to really engage everyone. ‘Open Hand’ also caught our attention, as Kojey told Fader “The revolution is not in the closed fist, it’s in the open hand, because an open hand represents acceptance.”. Truth. The closing composition, a brand new joint called’Kwame Nkrumah’, was also flawless – and really brought home the strength of spoken-word poetry.
With all the fluff and posturing often associated with hip-hop these days it can sometimes be easy to forget just how powerful an artform it really is. Despite the commercialisation of the culture, there is still a potency in raw, inspirational lyrics, delivered in such a manner as Kojey’s. Much respect to the man, we hope he reaches bigger and bigger audiences with his insights and observations.
Vince Staples was up next, packing out the room with heads eager to catch him rocking the gritty, exposed brick arches inside Cargo. His performance was enjoyable, quite different to Kojey Radical – maybe more straight-forward, certainly with instrumentals that were more bass-orientated. The crowd lapped up, bouncing up and down, throwing their hands up in the air and generally having a bloody great time throughout.
A double thumbs-up from us, and keep your eyes and ears open for Kojey Radical’s next steps…