"My guilty pleasure is watching sad anime so I can cry. Is that a bit too deep? Too weird? Nevermind"
Kwoli Black. Blue. Durag Papi. Axel Basquiat. Sir Li. Going by many names, Kwoli is able to fit into numerous personas, and thus, numerous sounds. An alternative hip-hop artist from London. Inspired by the story building and artistic genius of Tyler the Creator, Childish Gambino and J. Cole; as well as the mercurial nature of Drake, Westside Boogie and Kendrick Lamar, Kwoli, despite his clear influences, exists as a self-proclaimed singularity.
There is only one.Raised in Hackney and Grays, Kwoli describes himself as "The Rapper You Listen to When You Have Loved and When You Have Lost". His forthcoming EP exists as a testament to this.
He mixes thought provoking and vulnerable lyricism with astoundingly potent instrumentation with the help of best friend and producer, JSTRNGS, which makes for a deeply connective listening experience. Kwoli Black. Here to stay. Sitting down with Kwoli Black we found ut a bit more about his life outside music and what the inspiration behind his recent project was
NEO: What’s life like for you outside of music?
KWOLI BLACK: Life for me outside of music? Hmm I guess it's working to fund the dream, a lot of sleep, a lot of gaming, annoying Strngs, kicking it with my friends and spending time with my mother. Oh and reading a buttload of manga and watching anime. I'm a simple guy really.
NEO: What was the inspiration and process behind your recent project you released?
KWOLI BLACK: Ah so, Call me When It's Over was inspired by my first love and first heartbreak. I wrote the project about the first woman I truly, deeply loved and the, I guess, rather heartbreaking ending of that love but also my thoughts, feelings and process towards healing and letting go. It was an incredibly cathartic process. We did like 3 days in a studio back to back once. Barely any sleep but it was worth it. A few moments of crying while recording. But yeah. The process began a year and a half ago, JSTRNGS, my producer and best friend, asked me how I feel and from there I just let it all out. i wanted to be honest and i guess take some power from the vulnerability. I wasn't really sure I would ever get through it. Partly where the title comes from.
NEO: Who are your top 3 present artists and why?
KWOLI BLACK: Top 3 present artists? Damn. I'd say Drake, he's the biggest hip hop artist in the world and honestly he inspires a lot of my writing. Tyler the Creator. I love him. Dude is insanely talented, creative, real. He's so dope. A lot of my humour comes from growing up watching Loiter Squad and listening to Odd Future. Lastly, I'd say Kendrick Lamar. He's the goat. Come on.
NEO: What is your guilty pleasure?
KWOLI BLACK: My guilty pleasure is watching sad anime so I can cry. Is that a bit too deep? Too weird? Nevermind.
NEO: If you could pick any three artists to collaborate with who would it be?
KWOLI BLACK: 3 artists I would collaborate with is easy. Drake, Kendrick, Tyler. I wish I had space for more cos Andre 3000, Kanye, Snoh Aalegra and Giveon are up there for me too. I would have loved to collab with Mac Miller. I miss him.
NEO: What is your biggest motivation?
KWOLI BLACK: My biggest motivation is my desire to connect. I want to be the person I needed as a kid. For others. Music genuinely gave me a sense of belonging and I feel like this is my path. I want to be and do everything I desire and everything possible within this path. I want the accolades of course, but also I want that connection with fans, friends, everybody.
NEO: If you were a snack what would you be and why?
KWOLI BLACK: I wouldn't. I am a 3 course meal. Grab a plate!
NEO: What is your favourite series of all time?
KWOLI BLACK: Favourite series of all time has to be A Different World. You have to see it if you haven't. Trust me.
NEO: What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
KWOLI BLACK: Most daring thing I've ever done? I can't say cos it's not PG but the PG thing is maybe skinny dipping in the ocean.
NEO: Let us know where we can find you on social media
KWOLI BLACK: @kwoliblack