Hailing from the south coast of England in Portsmouth, DARKSTARGRAVER is an exciting UK rap prospect for 2020, who comes highly recommended if you like the hard-hitting sounds of Octavian, Skepta, Denzel Curry, A$AP Rocky, or Kojey Radical. Led by introductory tracks ‘CodeRED’ and ‘Snakes & Ladders’, which were released earlier this year to rave reviews, Burning Bridges as premiered by Clash Magazine is the debut EP from the 22-year old British Zambian rapper, singer and songwriter DarkStarGraver.
While he cut his teeth and honed his skills in the south of England, and has established himself at the forefront of the emerging Hip Hop scene in Portsmouth, DarkStarGraver draws his influences from diverse cultures and backgrounds, having experienced life all over the UK in his very young 22 years, from Birmingham to Kensal Green to Richmond to Glasgow – travels and experiences which have shaped his perspective, musical tastes and styles, as is evident on his new Burning Bridges EP.
Sonically, Burning Bridges sees DarkStarGraver taking an international approach, working with producers from Russia, Germany and America to help map out the global rap sound of the record, including Minnesota producer P.SOUL, who has worked with YBN Cordae, Trippie Redd, XXXTENTACION, and Joey Bada$$, Russian beatsmith Roman RSK, whose credits include producing for Nasty C, The Underachievers, and ELLEVN, and NC-based producer Airavata, who has worked with German chart-topper Apache 207, French pop star Maxenss, and Venezuelan trap music frontrunner Big Soto.
As for the themes the Burning Bridges EP addresses, DarkStarGraver is vulnerable from the start as he discusses fake love and cutting off dead weight on the defensive ‘Without A Heart’ and the EP’s title track ‘Burning Bridges’, and on ‘Last One Standing’, ‘Snakes & Ladders’ and ‘CodeRED’, he is in defiant self-motivational mode, while ‘Seeing The Signs’ sees him learning a hard lesson on trust and loyalty, with the Portsmouth rap artist coming to terms with the conflict in his life and letting go on ‘Walk On By’, and finding the peace he needs to move forward on ‘Winning Lane’.
Speaking about the inspiration behind his Burning Bridges EP, DarkStarGraver says, “this project explores the mental & spiritual changes I went through, my personal chrysalis from light to dark, the road from chaotic rage into compassion & tranquillity. It’s all about the paths we can take, even the track titles make reference to this, as well as the artwork being a Japanese Torii Gate, which symbolises the transition from the mundane into the sacred. Around the time of writing this ‘Burning Bridges’ project, I came to realise that the people I had close to me weren’t on the same vibration as me, when I was striving for more in my life.
I’m not afraid of showing my deepest vulnerabilities or being open with my emotions, I feel it’s important to share my personal truths, and while this can be intense, I want to be real with my thoughts and experiences. Making this EP was a moment of self-discovery for me, as I had to let go of the people and things that were no longer doing any good for me, in order to serve my highest purpose. I had to burn a couple bridges along the way to find peace within myself, this feels like a real journey start to finish”.
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