Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Kojey Radical And Knucks Electrify On The Bravado-Filled ‘Payback’

It’s been a long road to Kojey Radical’s debut album. This is how he describes the upcoming ‘Reason To Smile’, but you’d be forgiven for thinking this was not his first album. #

2016, 2017 & 2019 saw new projects from the rapper - each boasting 10 or more songs - but 2022 is the year his debut full-length album finally arrives. 

If his newest single ‘Payback’ is indicative of what’s to come, then it’s certainly been worth the wait. 

It would appear that Kojey Radical has very little time for the middle ground between introspective social commentary (see ‘War Outside) and bombastic declarations of superiority like ‘Payback’. This is no bad thing – it's an enjoyably boisterous display from an artist who feels like he’s hitting a well-earned stride. Radical’s gravelly vocals have always been appealing, but his writing shines just as bright on this track. Highlights include a timely reference to toppling statues and the claim that he’s been “fucking up the narrative,” delivered with so much vim you can hear him spit the words out. 

While Kojey handles the second verse and chorus, the first verse is entrusted to North-West London star Knucks. Fresh off a sensational performance for COLORS Studios, Knucks packs his verse with references to Top Boy and So Solid Crew in the charming style that’s made him so popular over the last year. While not explicitly mentioned, Swindle’s presence on ‘Payback’ also deserves recognition. This is the latest instalment in a fruitful series of collaborations between Kojey Radical’s impactful delivery and Swindle's jazz infused production. Taking into account Kojey’s 2019 release ‘Cashmere Tears’ and Swindle's own ‘No More Normal’ and ‘The New World’, this is a partnership that has proved rewarding in the past. ‘Payback’ is no different – Swindle’s instrument-led sounds provide the perfect backdrop for Radical to saunter around as he pleases. 

At 2:43 it’s a relatively short song, but ‘Payback’ certainly packs a punch. If nothing else, listening to it will inflate your ego about your own achievements and success. The video is set to drop later this week and Kojey’s debut album is out March 4th.


James Ellis

Image: ‘Reason To Smile’ Official Album Cover (PRESS)

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