It’s been a long 4-year stint since South London Hip-Hop artist, AKS, released his sophomore EP Train of Thought, seeing the likes of BBC 1Xtra, Earmilk, HipHopDX, DJ Booth and the MOBO Awards among the tastemakers who added their plaudits for the seminal record. The offering went on to earn the rapper two nominations at the inaugural Unsigned Music Awards (Best Record, Best Urban Act) as well as giving him viral moments with his Chas Appeti directed visual efforts for singles ‘Stay with Me’ featuring Sincerely Wilson, and title track ‘Train of Thought’, both being picked up by UNILAD.
Now with the close of 2020 fast approaching and against the backdrop of the current world climate the “three-letter man” returns with his new soul infused single ‘UP & UP (HEAVENS ABOVE)’, an aspirational offering appealing to each of our underlying ambitions, as featured by ATWOOD MAGAZINE.
The first single taken from his forthcoming project As Plane As Day: Departures & Arrivals, which concludes the wordsmith’s three-part ‘Modes of Transport’ series, the record sees the rapper award himself production credits under the veiled moniker #3Letters, whilst enlisting the collaborative efforts of prominent musicians Adrian Remedy (Ed Sheeran) on guitars, Benjamin Muralt (Ledisi, Ill Camille, Pixie Lott) on bass, and AdeKeys (AfroB) on keyboards.
Merging unconventional organ phrases with lush and vibrant guitar licks throughout, the track plays as an ode to the jazz greats of yesteryear; fusing traditional musicianship with the off kilter syncopated bounce of contemporary hip-hop and neo-soul. Continuing his previous form as a genuine lyricist, AKS weaves together thought rich rhyme schemes whilst delivering a soulfully melodic vocal in a way that is easily becoming the calling card of the South London native.
Exploring themes of dogged determination and new found responsibility, the passion driven track displays AKS’ lyrical ability as he pens painfully frank verses professing his recent frustrations, the pressures of becoming a new father and questions surrounding legacy, underpinned by these lyrics that encapsulate what the song means to him, “I know they take stock if my return on investment’s weak – There’s breddas making cake… Should I have followed the recipe? Planted my seed, I hope he reaps off the legacy – There’s music in my blood and I heard it’s often hereditary!”
Speaking further about the inspiration behind ‘Up And Up (Heavens Above)’, AKS says, “Following the birth of my son, having taken some time away from music in the lead up to his arrival and in the time since, I found myself questioning my existence and contributions both from a parental and an artistic perspective. This song was born out of a desire to do better for my son's sake and ascend irrespective of the obstacles I may face or how low I’ve felt at times. It’s my reminder to myself of my hopes and dreams, that my contributions are long lasting and impactful, at the very least, on my son”.
With the promise of new singles spilling out over the next few months as AKS finalises the new project; it’s clear that this is one journey that isn’t set to end any time soon for the rap prodigy and the world is definitely within reach for this undeniable talent.
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