Make way for an honest alternative in Chicago’s Kweku Collins.
Image from Pigeons & Planes
There’s no shortage of Chicago-bred musical talent emerging in recent years. After 4 years of streaming his self-produced albums, Chance the Rapper changed the music industry and received several Grammy nominations. Twin Peaks toured the US this year, making it their most profitable and creative year to date. A new Chicago-born star is receiving notice with a new single, Jump.i, a full-length album, ‘Nat Love’ and a slot at South By Southwest this year. Kweku Collins is on the rise.
An Evanston-born resident, Collins graduated in 2015. Watching his classmates prepare for their next journey to college and careers, Kweku headed to the studio and released his first EP, Say It Here, While It’s Safe on Closed Sessions Records. He’s since released a couple singles before his latest release, Nat Love.
His time in Louder Than A Bomb exposed him to raw performance. Collins’ style is tasteful – on both his EP and his latest release, Collins starts each album with just his voice and the piano. While his beats are standard in modern rap, he writes about Chicago streets, his personal struggles with violence, love, and acceptance of the unknowns in life.
Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of this newcomer’s sound is his use of more obscure rock melodic lines and acoustic licks in tracks like The Outsiders (Nat Love) and Colors (Say It Here…) where he samples England’s indy-rock darling, Daughter’s guitar line from their biggest hit, Youth.
In a recent interview with Pitchfork, he stated being mixed ethnicity keeps him outside of the circles of race where he can’t fully fit in. “I found that not belonging in one place helped me feel like I could belong in any place.” That vulnerability is what makes Kweku Collins one to watch this year. Tired of overproduced, Top 40 radio? Then, share our excitement for honest and real-life stories.
Give Kweku Collins a listen on Spotify.