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ARTIST ON OUR RADAR: KWOLI BLACK

Meet Kwoli Black, a multi-disciplined artist who possesses the capability to shift and integrate between genres. Gifted with an impeccable ear and a stellar pen to match, this East London rapper will create severe waves in the coming new year. Not limiting himself to the "rapper box", Kwoli Black is innovative, mastering and moulding his image through creative direction, film, fashion and writing. In conversation, we discover how a love for poetry and spoken word transitioned him to centre stage, rubbing shoulders with fellow East London Legends of today.

“Vulnerability is my superpower”, when asked how he would describe his sound.

What followed were mentions of authenticity and recognising his alternative nature. The Kwoli Black sound is exploratory and cannot be concealed in one box. With his multidimensional instrumentals honouring R&B, alternative rap, and neo-jazz, and a proper fondness for the 90’s classic ‘Love Jones, ’ Kwoli Black wants no limitations in creating his sonic sound. His mixed discography merely mirrors his real-life experiences. ‘Disrupt’, ‘Got You’ and ‘Runnin Thru Paris’ are all anecdotal snapshots of the rapper’s inner world, his lyrics representing his true feelings during different life situations he’s been exposed to in real-time.

"Music is a medium, and I think there are so many ways to create music, to create Rap and to create Hip Hop," he told us.

Not wanting a 'Kwoli Black Type Beat' to be a YouTube suggestion in the search bar, it is no surprise why Kwoli Black has curated a seasoned artistry. "I want to be known more as a voice than just a sound," he explained when making such a declaration.

His recent single 'Wake Up' featuring the introspective rapper Lex Amor pulls listeners into an honest perspective centred around personal struggles of anxiety and depression. Produced by a long-term collaborator and friend, JSTRNGS (producer for artists like, Ojerime), 'Wake Up' has a chilled, rhythmic airy production to assist heartfelt lyrics from both parties. "I have been a fan of Lex for a while," Kwoli Black started reminiscing. "I went to Kojey Radical's album launch party, and she was there. I approached her and told her, 'I want to work with you one day. I have a song you could fit on. She was like, 'yeah, yeah, send me an email.'"

“I made the hook for the song one night when I was in the studio. My producer’s older brother turned around and said, ‘you need to be drunk to do this hook’. The alcohol must have gassed me. On my IG story, I was playing the song. I @’d Lex Amor and said, ‘we need you on this song Lex!’”

“She must have seen it and told me to DM it. I sent it, and she was going to Nigeria at the time. She gets it done a week later, and it’s perfection. The song comes together so beautifully. I can have it on a loop for an hour and not get bored.”

Kwoli's admiration for Jazz Rap comes as no surprise as he sees legible inspiration from artists such as Chance the Rapper, Tyler the Creator, Childish Gambino and Kendrick Lamar, all delivering pieces of work that push Rap's borders creatively. "They existed as incredibly unique personas in the Rap game. Where they go far against the norm regarding song subject and the actual sound itself," he told us. "They were talking about things that not many rappers talk about. They talked about love. They talked about loss. They talked about, you know, being an outsider."

"[Their music] made an outcast like myself feel less like an outcast."

As the sounds of Black America exuded through the walls of his home, Kwoli Black's blueprint lurks beneath these lines. "When I'm home, we're listening to American Soul, American Hip-Hop, American Funk and Jazz," he revealed. "It's why I love poetry as well because a lot of the time, spoken word sort of has jazz elements."

Outside of music, Kwoli Black expresses himself through fashion by putting together pieces that complement his style. Such imagery is demonstrated throughout his Instagram and his music videos. “Fashion is a way of wearing your soul on the outside,” he explained. “It’s also a way to carry a persona. It allows people to be who they want to be, or who they aren’t yet.” Within the fashion realm, Kwoli Black aspires to be an icon. “I’m gonna say it, as an affirmation [Kwoli Black] is an icon. He is the future in terms of how he looks in the music world, the fashion industry, and collaborations. He’s not the loudest spoken about in [a room] but the longest spoken about.”

Continuing our themes of manifestations, the conversation quickly pivoted to the future collaboration Kwoli Black wished to muster. “There are three,” he started off with. “On a personal level [I would collaborate with] Tyler the Creator, on a music level Kendrick Lamar.”

Earlier this year, Kwoli Black was the opening act for Kojey Radical’s recent tour. During their time on the road, the pair birthed a brotherhood. “He [Kojey Radical] knows I hold him in high regard.”

With 2023 looming around the corner, it's evident that exciting things are materialising for Kwoli Black. But, with reassurance that more music is coming, it's clear he's just getting started. Despite his wild claims of the last project being "an amateur attempt to making music" (his words, not ours), his humility reflects his boldness to elevate the Kwoli Black experience sonically and beyond. "2023 will be 2022 times ten," he assured when asked 'what's next?' "All the moments I had this year, all the accolades, all the milestones... times ten. Being on tour with Kojey Radical, performing at O2 Brixton, having a song with Lex Amor, consistent releases... doing more shows, working with brands, being in Converse All-Star... everything that's happened for me this year, times ten. That's 2023. It's the year I get my respects."

CREDITS:​

​Production Company - WEARESOUL
Interview by - Esi Mongo
Edited by - Itunu Para-Mallam
Photography by - Karis Beaumont

ARTIST ON OUR RADAR: KWOLI BLACK

Meet Kwoli Black, a multi-disciplined artist who possesses the capability to shift and integrate between genres. Gifted with an impeccable ear and a stellar pen to match, this East London rapper will create severe waves in the coming new year. Not limiting himself to the "rapper box", Kwoli Black is innovative, mastering and moulding his image through creative direction, film, fashion and writing. In conversation, we discover how a love for poetry and spoken word transitioned him to centre stage, rubbing shoulders with fellow East London Legends of today.

“Vulnerability is my superpower”, when asked how he would describe his sound.

What followed were mentions of authenticity and recognising his alternative nature. The Kwoli Black sound is exploratory and cannot be concealed in one box. With his multidimensional instrumentals honouring R&B, alternative rap, and neo-jazz, and a proper fondness for the 90’s classic ‘Love Jones, ’ Kwoli Black wants no limitations in creating his sonic sound. His mixed discography merely mirrors his real-life experiences. ‘Disrupt’, ‘Got You’ and ‘Runnin Thru Paris’ are all anecdotal snapshots of the rapper’s inner world, his lyrics representing his true feelings during different life situations he’s been exposed to in real-time.

"Music is a medium, and I think there are so many ways to create music, to create Rap and to create Hip Hop," he told us.

Not wanting a 'Kwoli Black Type Beat' to be a YouTube suggestion in the search bar, it is no surprise why Kwoli Black has curated a seasoned artistry. "I want to be known more as a voice than just a sound," he explained when making such a declaration.

His recent single 'Wake Up' featuring the introspective rapper Lex Amor pulls listeners into an honest perspective centred around personal struggles of anxiety and depression. Produced by a long-term collaborator and friend, JSTRNGS (producer for artists like, Ojerime), 'Wake Up' has a chilled, rhythmic airy production to assist heartfelt lyrics from both parties. "I have been a fan of Lex for a while," Kwoli Black started reminiscing. "I went to Kojey Radical's album launch party, and she was there. I approached her and told her, 'I want to work with you one day. I have a song you could fit on. She was like, 'yeah, yeah, send me an email.'"

“I made the hook for the song one night when I was in the studio. My producer’s older brother turned around and said, ‘you need to be drunk to do this hook’. The alcohol must have gassed me. On my IG story, I was playing the song. I @’d Lex Amor and said, ‘we need you on this song Lex!’”

“She must have seen it and told me to DM it. I sent it, and she was going to Nigeria at the time. She gets it done a week later, and it’s perfection. The song comes together so beautifully. I can have it on a loop for an hour and not get bored.”

Kwoli's admiration for Jazz Rap comes as no surprise as he sees legible inspiration from artists such as Chance the Rapper, Tyler the Creator, Childish Gambino and Kendrick Lamar, all delivering pieces of work that push Rap's borders creatively. "They existed as incredibly unique personas in the Rap game. Where they go far against the norm regarding song subject and the actual sound itself," he told us. "They were talking about things that not many rappers talk about. They talked about love. They talked about loss. They talked about, you know, being an outsider."

"[Their music] made an outcast like myself feel less like an outcast."

As the sounds of Black America exuded through the walls of his home, Kwoli Black's blueprint lurks beneath these lines. "When I'm home, we're listening to American Soul, American Hip-Hop, American Funk and Jazz," he revealed. "It's why I love poetry as well because a lot of the time, spoken word sort of has jazz elements."

Outside of music, Kwoli Black expresses himself through fashion by putting together pieces that complement his style. Such imagery is demonstrated throughout his Instagram and his music videos. “Fashion is a way of wearing your soul on the outside,” he explained. “It’s also a way to carry a persona. It allows people to be who they want to be, or who they aren’t yet.” Within the fashion realm, Kwoli Black aspires to be an icon. “I’m gonna say it, as an affirmation [Kwoli Black] is an icon. He is the future in terms of how he looks in the music world, the fashion industry, and collaborations. He’s not the loudest spoken about in [a room] but the longest spoken about.”

Continuing our themes of manifestations, the conversation quickly pivoted to the future collaboration Kwoli Black wished to muster. “There are three,” he started off with. “On a personal level [I would collaborate with] Tyler the Creator, on a music level Kendrick Lamar.”

Earlier this year, Kwoli Black was the opening act for Kojey Radical’s recent tour. During their time on the road, the pair birthed a brotherhood. “He [Kojey Radical] knows I hold him in high regard.”

With 2023 looming around the corner, it's evident that exciting things are materialising for Kwoli Black. But, with reassurance that more music is coming, it's clear he's just getting started. Despite his wild claims of the last project being "an amateur attempt to making music" (his words, not ours), his humility reflects his boldness to elevate the Kwoli Black experience sonically and beyond. "2023 will be 2022 times ten," he assured when asked 'what's next?' "All the moments I had this year, all the accolades, all the milestones... times ten. Being on tour with Kojey Radical, performing at O2 Brixton, having a song with Lex Amor, consistent releases... doing more shows, working with brands, being in Converse All-Star... everything that's happened for me this year, times ten. That's 2023. It's the year I get my respects."

CREDITS:​

​Production Company - WEARESOUL
Interview by - Esi Mongo
Edited by - Itunu Para-Mallam
Photography by - Karis Beaumont

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