Prepare yourself for some fiery, brand spanking new beatz. It’s not often we get the opportunity to write about artists in the dawn of their careers. But today we can present you with some of the freshest stuff out there. We’re talking so new we haven’t even got it out of the packet yet. I’d like to think we’re gonna blow this story worldwide. However, our loyal Cowbellites will suffice. As long as they promise that after reading this article they will paste this shit all over the interweb.
We bring you, KarimThaPeasant, London’s sickest new genre-defying talent. What harpooned my ears about his debut album, Mad, is the incredible use of sampling. The record starts with a sound recording taken from Breaking Bad. “I am the one who knocks.” It’s a fittingly dramatic start to an album that doesn’t fuck about. There are also some absolutely delightful recorded conversations between who I can only assume are Karim and his mates. This gives the album that cheeky vibe that makes you wanna chill with whoever made it. I’m talking a Big Narstie kind of witty personality.
It’s a bit grime without the slightly uncomfortable low grumbles and distortions I sometimes find difficult. It’s a bit Frank Ocean-esque: chilled out hip-hop/soul fusion. Hell it’s a bit trap at times and I’m not even totally sure what trap is (if anyone can shed light on this one, that would be much appreciated). There’s even a bit of Tom Misch-y jazzy undertones. The point is this album isn’t a generic chart topper, it’s a grass roots offering that reflects the varied influences of the artist. Karim, who is 18 (which is strangely depressing cause I’m 19 and WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME I RELEASED AN AWESOME CROSS-GENRE ALBUM?!), says himself that his music is hard to define.
“Growing up I listened to chart music and rap and hip-hop from America, but I also listened to and was aware of grime since I was very young. We grew up in Barking so grime was a big thing where we were from. Giggs, Kano, Skepta and Chipmunk were all super prominent. But my influences range from Kanye, Kendrick, Andre 3000, A Tribe Called Quest and Pharrell to Migos, Future, Young Thug and Rae Sremmurd.”
Side note: At this point I should mention, THIS IS AN EXCLUSIVE PEOPLE. Yes, that’s right, We Need More Cowbell has the divine honour of being able to break this story, in what I believe is one of Karim’s first ever interviews.
A word should be said about the quality of the lyrics, which follow in the grime tradition of big, big words. I can’t help thinking of Ezekiel in The Get Down, scribbling notes on napkins about the smokey South Bronx. Place is very important, as with a lot of new music in London at the moment. Where you come from has become a way to provide context to an entire narrative that explores who we are and who we want to become. Karim’s lyrics amount to what I would call Spoken Word. Beautiful, intelligent and ultimately a deeply touching portrayal of life as a teenager in London.