From his impactful lyrics to his vivid sound and visuals, London’s fastest rising rapper KAM-BU is making music that honours his roots, community and growth.

An artist that is honest, is original. A rapper that can tap into varying themes and experiences, is different. A poet that can narrate pivotal social commentary, is vital. For those wanting to tap into rap from a leftfield perspective, with authenticity and, above all else, incredible artistry at the core, KAM-BU is your guy. Released in 2021, his debut EP Black on Black is a perfect depiction of the characteristics above, and why his music is not just lyrically and sonically sound, but politically too.

 

There’s a unique creativity possessed by KAM-BU that we don’t necessarily see very often. I’ll break it down, very simply: Music on point. Videos on point. Direction on point. This is somebody you can tell is meticulous with their output, with a sense of control and trust from his team to hit the objectives at hand, with some influential figures along the way. It’s October and we got to know just that bit more about the South London rapper.

  • BLACK SUIT PATTA
  • T-SHIRT + GLASSES VINTAGE
  • GLASSES VINTAGE GUCCI
  • POUCH CONSCIOUS LLTW

For listeners that haven’t yet had the chance to spin Black on Black, can you describe the sound and feel of the tape?

I wanted the production to feel British through and through. I wanted it to feel like the cold winter mornings and dark windy nights, clutching at your neck for your scarf and your jacket hood fully zipped. I needed it to feel metal, gritty and coarse, yet smooth and cohesive. More importantly, from the start to finish you can follow the journey of this young Black male amongst the diaspora in the UK.

Having listened to you for a while, I’ve always thought your sound is top tier — especially the way in which your lyrics and delivery seamlessly slot into place with your beat selection. Talk to me about how much time you spend curating this output, to ensure you stay true to your desired sound?

The time spent curating and achieving the sounds and flows I produce are subconscious frames of time. It’s always happening; I’m constantly thinking about it when listening to my peers or any music in general. Creating timeless music is at the forefront of my mind, but I appreciate the more stripped-back songs out there too. Striking a balance is often the focus when it comes to writing.

  • BALACLAVA HAT CUSTOM BY PYWOWAR
  • JEWELLERY FEATHER PENDANTS
  • JEANS VINTAGE LEVI’S
  • SHOES NIKE AIR MAX 95

If there was one message you would want listeners to take away from the tape, what would it be?

The one message I’d want listeners to take away is that all voices can be heard, and common goals aren’t always a bad thing. Community is key.

Is there anything in particular that drove the overall artistic direction with ‘Black on Black’?

I think the roots of my musical journey and life were the most important. Nodding to who I am, where I came from and where I’m heading. For example, the need for production to feel UK, with grimey, electronic and wonky samples. My earliest memories of hearing UK rap in person was at school, on the back of the bus or with my brother’s friends — they spat grime flows and that was always sick to see. The use of patois is a nod to my heritage, and then the jazz elements throughout are to acknowledge the expansion of my musical ear over the years — lacing the tracks with lyrics in tune with those time periods in my life and where I was at growing up in London.

  • SHOES CONVERSE X BRAIN DEAD CHUCK HI’S
  • TROUSERS VINTAGE VIA 194 LOCAL
  • SHIRT DEADSTOCK VIA CLOAKROOM ARCHIVE
  • JEWELLERY FEATHER PENDANTS

“Stuck” is one of those tracks that is perfect whilst looking out of the window in the backseat of a car on a rainy day. When scripting the lyrics for this track, what was the mindset?

“Stuck” was another example of me being completely honest with myself about a certain situation. I use my humility a lot in my songs and people do gravitate towards it. I’m sure there are many relatable lines in this song and that’s cool. I can definitely hear the ‘journey’ feel of this song. It’s easy on the ears and reflective.

When I have artists on a cycle, it’s usually because I know they are somebody I want to watch as well as listen to. Your videos are next level, and as a fan, I appreciate that cohesion between the sound and visuals. How important is the visual aspect to your work?

Visuals are especially important to me. The artists who inspire me the most are the ones who have great visuals and sonics to their sound and art.

Are you at that point in your career where you’ve identified key individuals who elevate you and empower you to create the best work possible?

I think so, yeah. This tape wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for bonds and relationships developed over time. The understanding or direction and the freedom of creating in a safe space. I’m still open to forming more bonds as time goes on, as there’s so much good music in the world. I don’t think I have enough time in this life to discover it all, so meeting and collaborating with other artists and producers is most definitely something I want to push the boundaries of.

  • SUNGLASSES HERON PRESTON X GENTLE MONSTER
  • SHOES NIKE AIR MAX 95
  • JEANS VINTAGE LEVI'S
  • BLACK SUIT PATTA

Related Articles

Notion 90: duendita

Anchored in reverence for her ancestors, our planet and the complexities of the human experience, duendita sees her art as an opportunity to not only express but to collect her own experiences.

Notion 90: Tkay Maidza

Merging a wide range of genres — from trap and hip-hop to more laid-back pop and alt-R&B — Tkay Maidza's world is ever-evolving and experimental, entertaining and surprising with every turn.

Notion 90: Jimothy Lacoste

From music to fashion, North London’s Jimothy Lacoste has always lived in his own lane ‒ and after speaking his dreams into existence, things really are getting quite exciting.