”Written bySaien Benjamin
Kweku Collins continues his dazzling rise with the six track release of Side A of his latest project “Then Spring”.
Since I heard his distinctive flow, over a beat (that he also produced) on “Loud Moon” which is refreshingly different from almost any other offerings in modern Hip-Hop, I have been over the moon excited to listen to the rest Kweku Collins’ latest offering.
Rapper, producer and songwriter Kweku has a truly unique sound, largely rapping over what he dubs “Afro-Cuban beats”, whilst he also has tracks that veer into a variety of genres including Alternative Hip-Hop, Indie Rock, and even Stoner Metal. His love of music began at an early age, playing African drums on stage with his father Stephan, an Afro-Latin percussionist, and being influenced growing up in a family filled with talented musicians. “Growing up there were drums and xylophones and instruments from all over the world in the house. While my father played drums I studied him, and that’s how I picked up percussion”.
“We are not numbers, We are souls” – “Original Internet”
You can hear his father’s influence in his music as well as artists as varied as rappers like Kid Cudi, Mac Miller, and Kanye West, Indie Rockers like Yeah, Yeah Yeahs and The Killers, Lil Wayne during his Rockstar era, and hints of more reggaeton Sean Paul. He has cultivated his eclectic style since he released his debut EP, “Say It Here While It’s Safe” whilst he was still in his final year of high school, in 2015. In 2016 he released his debut album “Nat Love” which received rave reviews from fans and critics alike, and “Stupid Rose’ was chosen as one of Pitchfork’s Best New Tracks. The album was praised for its accurate portrayal of the emotional highs and lows that encompass the experience of being a teenager. His next release “Grey” was an introspective exploration of the trials and tribulations that have come with his burgeoning success at such an early age.
Kweku Collins’ promise has been recognised from an early age, and soon after the release of his debut EP, he was featured on Pigeons and Planes “20 Rappers Under 20” list.
Since then he has toured the States and Europe, as well as played many high-profile festivals such as Pitchfork Fest and Lollapalooza. It is easy to see Kweku’s upward trajectory continuing if he maintains the consistently excellent standards he has shown in his releases so far.
Whilst side A of “Then Spring” arrives almost five years after his last album release, it is definitely worth the wait, as it is clear that in the time between, Kweku has continued his intriguing musical evolution and further perfected his craft.
My excitement for the release of “Then Spring” was immediately satiated by the opening track “Dig (Don’t Let Go)” an Indie Rock tune that conjures mid-2000’s nostalgia with soaring guitar riffs and rhythmic drums that are complemented by Kweku’s melodic vocals and incisive, poetic lyrics about keeping faith in yourself even when things get tough. “An Original Internet” finds Kweku talking to a “paramore and friend” about the interconnectedness of all humans, in spite of the systems that attempt to divide us, as he puts it, “We are not numbers, We are souls”. On this track, he alternates between Rap and Spoken Word, over striking African drums and a catchy acoustic guitar, as well as an array of other fascinating instrumentation which creates a feeling of intimacy.
“Storms” laments a break-up with an ex-girlfriend, and the longing for the love and intimacy they once shared in spite of their turbulent relationship. Tatiana Hazel’s beautiful vocals capture the emotion of the track and perfectly complement Kweku’s autotuned crooning and poetic lyricism. My favourite track on the EP “Loud Moon” stands out due to the use of Afro-Latin claps and U.K Drill rhythms along with an infectiously catchy guitar riff which was written by Kweku’s friend Jamo Brenner back when he was in middle school. “Loud Moon” is a track about memories and the role they have played in Kweku’s life and the created sense of nostalgia is inherent in the subtle tones of the song.
Kweku is touting his next album, which is due to be released in 2023, as an episodic release. He says that his idea to release the album in episodes, rather than all at once, was inspired by the way in which streaming platforms operate.
Having seen the way in which what once would have been a two-hour-long documentary would now be released as an eight-part series, influenced Kweku to take this interesting approach to his next album. I am keenly awaiting the upcoming album and am sure that he will continue to thrill with his next offering.
“Then Spring” is a must-listen for anyone who enjoys hip-hop, in particular, if you enjoy meaningful lyrics and something different to what you would hear on the radio. Side A is available to listen to now on Spotify, Soundcloud and Apple Music and I suggest you give it a listen as soon you can, you definitely won’t regret it. I will be keeping a keen eye on Kweku’s music career and I am sure he will keep on shining.
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