OUT TODAY: Listen To AKS’ single, ‘Up & Up (Heavens Above)’

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.

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.

AKS

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”.

‘Up & Up (Heavens Above)’ is 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.

Check out the lyric video for the single below…

New Track: City of Dreams – Tobi Sunmola

Having brought the heat with previous singles ‘Simba’ and ‘Wild Wild East’ Mancunian wordsmith TOBI SUNMOLA released the title track off his forthcoming EP ‘City Of Dreams’

Inspired by the film ‘Inception’, ‘City Of Dreams’ is a display of Tobi’s admiration and pride for his adopted city following the tragic events earlier in the year. Although the emotional track was written before the 02 bombing, Sunmola maintains that the meaning behind the lyrics only made sense after, as he yearns, “don’t believe what you read in the news baby, the city’s alive”.

Growing up in Nigeria, Tobi recalls saving up lunch money daily to skip school and head to the studio with his rap crew Dope Kommunity. Moving to Manchester aged 16 the young poet instantly immersed himself in the UK hip hop scene recording in local youth club studios. Showing signs of a promising career early on, the aspiring talent has been advocated by the likes of  and BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra.

Captivating, and honest, Sunmola is able to connect with his audience through an inspired sincerity rarely seen amongst rappers so young…here’s your chance to check out his work; listen to ‘City of Dreams.’

Song of the Day: Simba – Tobi Sunmola

Following the gripping visuals to ‘Never Forget We’re Here/Tales From The East IV’, TOBI SUNMOLA returns with ‘Simba’ – the debut release taken off his forthcoming EP.

‘Simba’ is a gritty and emotional testimony of both heartache and promise providing a compelling insight into the ethnological struggles of being an artist in today’s industry.

Tobi explains: “It talks about who I am as a person, the colour of my skin and how that may either hinder my growth to where I aspire to be.” Throughout the racial upheavals experienced, Nigerian-born Sunmola remains positive and resiliently confides in his unshakeable pursuit of greatness as he sings “through the pain, in the rain, in the night, any day…I’ll preach”. The instrumentation compliments this sentiment where melancholy chords are backboned by a bouncy hip hop beat that underlines his infectious flow and hook patterns. Authentic and unfiltered ‘Simba’ is an intriguing take on modern hip-hop that draws upon the influence of TOBI SUNMOLA’s rich African heritage.

The Manchester-based artist has achieved an admirable amount, since his humble beginnings in the studio of his local youth club. Co-producing ‘Simba’ with local rapper Two4Kay – who has previously featured on Link UP TV and The 405 – this new release is the product of a long-standing relationship that blossomed within the tight-knit Manchester music scene which forged early on in their careers. Named as Mobo’s ‘One to Watch’, this emerging talent has since been championed by Huw Stephens, DJ Booth and Mistajam whilst Complex, Afropunk and Flavour Magazine have been writing about his ‘stunning versatility’ online.

Combined with an array of adept live performances, including BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Exeter last year – the wondrously creative, ‘Simba’ is a perceptive and accomplished piece of work, that will cement Sunmola’s place as one of the UK’s most exciting, rising hip hop artists this year.