There’s something completely surprising about this single and video that perhaps comes as a stark contrast with what the artwork for the release seems to imply. The artwork is striking, for sure, but it gives off something of a heavy or quirky aura – which turns out to be far from the reality of the music and the accompanying visuals. What you actually discover within, is a track showcasing a distinctly self-aware monologue – one that delves deep into the mind of the artist and indeed into the world around him. He speaks openly on behalf of those who’ve struggled with similar thoughts and perspectives, offering a sense of honesty and unedited inner struggle.
In today’s society there often seems to be an either-or shared attitude with regard to religion – you either believe or you don’t. In truth though, many people question it quite regularly, and this track encapsulates that confusion in a lot of ways. There’s an anger to it but there’s also a simultaneous air of self-empowerment, of overcoming and being capable purely as the self. The second verse deals with all of this quite intensely – you can hear the increasing passion in the leading voice as things progress. It draws you in, to the point that you’re hanging onto every word and every line to see where things go next. There is a partly quirky vibe to it by the end, but this is a small part of a much bigger experience.
Musically the track sounds great, it has this classic, UK hip hop vibe – chilled out but slightly dark on the outskirts. Think Verb T and similar artists of that time. KINGS CVSTLE offers the perfect level of energy and confidence within the flow to ride the beat effectively and in a captivating way. The accompanying video adds to the experience in a similar manner – it fits, it makes sense, it keeps you focused and keeps your eyes and your mind on the subject and the ideas at hand.
The visuals are stunning, Ryan Adagio has done a superb job in crafting a visual arena that walks hand-in-hand with the track and its underlying concept. The artist’s performance throughout also holds tight to that compelling element of intrigue and deep thought, whilst adding just enough of the unsettling, disjointed darkness to really make sure you’re paying attention. This is one of the year’s most conscious or interesting rap releases this side of the Atlantic. Well worth exploring.