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Live Review: Music To Isolate To: Kwame

20 April 2020 | 5:25 pm | Emma Jones

There's a reason hip hop phenomenon KWAME is heralded as the future of Australian rap music, so it's a thrill to have him curate our isolation playlist.

With the ongoing and ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a crazy world out there right now, so it’s never been more important to band together. Self-isolation and social distancing are two of the most effective tools we have as a society to help fight COVID-19, but they’re also very difficult to undertake and they have very real, long-lasting consequences on the music and arts industries — some of which we aren’t even aware of yet. Our artists and our industry are already feeling the ripple effect, and things are only going to get worse before they get better.

Because of this, it’s up to us to use what we’ve got at our disposal to best represent and amplify our community and continue to tell artists’ stories. Purple Sneakers has always fiercely represented Australian music and our team are some of the best writers in the country, so we’re going to use our platform to continue doing what we do best: connect our community with the artists we love, and support artists by promoting their incredible music.

Music To Isolate To is an ongoing artist-curated playlist series by Purple Sneakers. We’ve asked some of our favourite artists ever to provide us with the ten songs they’re listening to while in isolation, and provide some commentary for their selections. We’ll be running these for the foreseeable future every Monday and Thursday, and you can follow the Spotify playlist which will be updated on these days right HERE. The idea is to not only promote artists who are curating the playlists, but to also promote those songs that mean a lot to them whether they be longtime classics or fresh new releases.

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The next artist in our Music To Isolate To series is KWAME. There's a reason why this Sydney hip hop phenomenon is being heralded as the future of Australian hip hop. KWAME made a name for himself by delivering brilliant, future-facing music that melds so many influences. At once paying tribute to the greats before him while still making sure his own style remains in tact, the 22-year-old rising star is a force too big to be reckoned with now, and with each and every release he simply does not miss. His latest release, a surprise flex track called 'schleep', put everyone on notice once again to remind us all just who he is and what he's really about. We've backed him since the release of his breakout track 'WOW.', and now as we looks to another year filled with anxiety and uncertainty, there is one thing we know for sure: whatever KWAME does next will once again be a home run. Dive into his isolation selections below!

James Blake - Take A Fall For Me (feat. RZA)

James Blake has always been a huge inspiration to me as a musician (and after meeting him at SITG 2019 I realised he is VERY tall, but also a lovely human being) his soothing yet over so delicate voice is probably the only voice I want to be hearing whilst we are in insolation. His production is so forward thinking and RZA’s presence throughout the song is beautifully curated.

Ezra Collective - You Can’t Steal My Joy

I had the chance to see Ezra Collective to a packed room over in Austin Texas at SXSW in 2019 and that had to have been one of the most amazing experiences with my time there.

Ezra Collective is a band who infuse elements of Jazz, Afro, House & Neo-soul and through this create such a unique and fulfilling moment through their rhythm, harmony and most importantly they’re energy, If you aren’t across them I suggest you listen to their album with all the time we have now!

ABRA - Tonight!

ABRA is a an amazing vocalist and producer, her sound derives from synth-pop and alternative R&B. I’ve always been a huge fan of 80s synthesised music and ABRA curates that perfectly through her production by choice of drum samples reminiscent of the TR-808 and synths that she implements for her melodies. What I love about her sound is that it’s so lo-fi and is made with her laptop and USB mic, located in the bedroom of her own apartment.

Ant Clemons - 4 Letter Word

If you’re not aware of who Ant Clemons is then I’m not too sure what you’re doing with that spare time in which you SHOULD be spending wisely!

Ant Clemons voice is heaven sent! He was also pivotal to the writing sessions in Wyoming on Kanye’s album ‘ye’ His note choice, rhythmic phrasing and animation of character in his ever so soulful vocals catches your attention quickly and it’s amazing to see Ant pursue a solo career.

BANKS - You Should Know Where I’m Coming From

I remember being in year 11 and this project was actually released the day before my birthday, was this serendipity? It had to have been because ever since this I have been so obsessed with BANKS! The way she is able to control her vocals are so impressive and her voice just stands out in such a unique way! Maybe I was going through an emotional time through high school like every teenager did however this album and particular song was there to save me in those moments and has been In rotation since that day.

FKA twigs - Video Girl

I shouldn’t have to speak on this like c’mon. If you know you know.

Madvillian - Raid (feat. M.E.D)

If MF DOOM and Madlib aren’t considered to be one of the best duo’s in Hip Hop then basically you have no say in Hip Hop at all, MF Doom has been the king and pioneer of the underground for time now and has a flow like no other, the way he is able to throw such intricate bars alongside rhythmic phrasing around the pocket is impeccable! You throw Madlib in there, Madlib?! Wow you people are really playing with me.

Tyler, The Creator - Find Your Wings (feat. Roy Ayers, Sydney Bennett & Kali Uchis)

This is easily the best Tyler composition. Don’t believe me? Go listen to the instrumentals.

New Edition - Cool It Now

This song has been with me my whole childhood and I will continue to share this to my children and share all the memories of the parties my parents use to go to when I was a kid. The 80s was literally a movement in itself, I would do anything to go back in time to witness it all.

Teyana Taylor - Gonna Love Me

Teyana really dropped one of the best R&B project of 2018, arguably in general if I may. Songwriting at it’s finest, choice of notes sung throughout this song are perfectly executed, her ability to play off the sample and hold her own is beautifully portrayed. A timeless song as well as project from Teyana.

Introduction by Emma Jones

Image by Zain Ayub