New Artist Watch: KAMAU
KAMAU is new to the music industry, and he brings something fresh and unique to the table. Born Kamau Mbonisi Kwame Agyeman, he was raised in Maryland and later achieved a BA degree in film at Pratt Institute in New York. On July 1st of this year, KAMAU released his debut EP, A Gorgeous Fortune. In just six songs, KAMAU covers an incredible range of style, spanning from the fun and lighthearted “Gaims” to the heavy-hitting song “PohLease”, which deals with the issue of police brutality.
As of now, KAMAU has released striking music videos for the first five songs of his EP on his YouTube channel, demonstrating the cinematic affinity he pursued in college. However, his music is what really caught my attention. His lyrics are both funny and intelligent, and they offer a very unique voice to the genre. He uses many different sounds and techniques in his music, including spoken word, beatboxing, doo-wop, sounds from his environment, and just plain gibberish. He also maintains certain motifs throughout his music, including family, nature, and warrior cultures. It is clear that KAMAU is blending all of his influences to create a very individualized sound.
The tracks on A Gorgeous Fortune have a clear influence from both African and hip-hop culture. KAMAU’s upbringing consisted of an array of cultural influences, including Ujamaa Schule, his childhood school, which hosted local community celebrations and gave him the opportunity to experiment with African instruments. This influence is especially apparent when he shouts his signature saying: “yebo,” the Zulu word for “yes.” His family was also pivotal in his musical direction, as his cousin introduced him to rap while his parents played their favorite artists around the house, including Hugh Masakela, Vieux Diop, Tracy Chapman, Bob Marley, Des’ree, and many other well known artists.
KAMAU is bringing the soul back to music, preaching love and community through his songs and his industry presence. He openly seeks a connection with his audience, hoping to strike a chord with his fun, yet meaningful lyrics. KAMAU’s impact can already be witnessed through his interaction with fans on his YouTube videos, encouraging a sense of unity and cultural integrity. At the end of the day, KAMAU’s goal is to “consciously contribute something as great and beautiful as our existence to the world and “’o do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community [and world] more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.’” (www.brotherkamau.com)