Apart from what seemed like a groovy summer loosie titled ‘Textures’, British rapper and songwriter AYAR has been laying low all year, on the back of his critically acclaimed 2018 mixtape Rhythms, but before 2019 closes out, the East London native of Nigerian heritage is excited to release his resounding brand new project titled KEEPING UP WITH THE NEIGHBOURS, as premiered by Earmilk, serving as his fifth project in three years.
With a penchant for vivid lyricism, storytelling, smooth jazz instrumentation, deep cut samples, and rap sensibilities, Ayar comes championed by tastemakers such as Complex, MTV, The 405, Earmilk, London In Stereo, GRM Daily, Reprezent Radio, SBTV, and the MOBO Awards, among others, and is revered for his hard hitting rap records about growing up and trying to survive in London and tackling difficult themes of love, hate, family, growth, and the black British male experience, however fractured.
Built around the seemingly loose summer track ‘Textures’, which sees Ayar in existential mode as he explores the circumstances he was born into, the Keeping Up With The Neighbours EP stems “from me dwelling on situations being dictated to me, because I was trying to keep up with my surroundings”, according to Ayar. The 6-track project opens up with the almost autobiographical ‘Puddles’ about Ayar’s growing pains in East London, and closes with ‘Sovereign’, which sees Ayar coming to terms with his current lot in life.
Backed by the most fitting smooth jazz leaning rap musical backdrops, provided by some of the UK’s most exciting new producers, such as NK Music, D’Artist, GMP, Novmber, ZENOBLVCK, Dreamlife and Yondo, the rest of Ayar’s Keeping Up With The Neighbours EP sees the exciting rap talent learning how to look up instead of staying down, and pondering how lonely it can be to follow the best path, while trying to get to grips with some of life’s most daunting questions for a young black British man trying to cut through the noise in London.
Speaking about the inspiration for his Keeping Up With The Neighbours EP, Ayar says, “The inspiration for this project came from me really pondering on how, because I’m trying to keep up with my surroundings, I’m ultimately being dictated to by whatever situation is in front of me. In the 1936 book, ‘The Next 100 Years’, Clifford C. Furnas writes that the phenomenon of ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ is descended from the spreading of the peacock’s tail. Perception rules a lot of people’s lives in a negative and positive way, something I thought perfectly summed up where my thought process is, at the moment”.
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