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"I'm an Englishman amongst Arabs and an Arab amongst Englishmen. But I have to look at things my own way. I can't stand fully on either side."
Lowkey (born Kareem Dennis) is a rapper/hip hop artist who was born in London to an Iraqi mother and English father in 1986. As well as being a musician and poet, he is also a playwright and political activist. He is a music artist who may not be that well known in the mainstream but has gained popularity through other avenues. Instead of mainstream radio and television, he has taken to the internet and social media and his popularity seems to be growing. Dear Listener was his debut album and was released back in 2009. The best way to get his music seems to be through downloading from Amazon and this album is currently available from Amazon as a digital download. Lowkey's music is more about meaningful lyrics which get across various political messages and tackles various political and social issues. He initially imitated American rappers but now uses his own accent in his music. Dear Listener consists of 12 tracks and I will try to give a rundown on each.
1. Dear Listener (prod by Sivey)
2. Tell Me Why (prod by Q-Tones)
3. Rise And Fall (prod by DockMini)
4. I'm Back (prod by Scram Jones)
5. Alphabet Assassin (prod by Nutty P)
6. Special (prod by Sivey)
7. Revolution feat Faith SFX, Jon McClure (Reverend and the Makers) and Mic Righteous
8. Everything Must Change (prod by Sivey)
9. The Essence (prod by Styalz Fuego)
10. Relatives feat Logic (prod by Sivey)
11. In My Lifetime feat Wretch 32 (prod by Q-Tones)
12. I Believe feat Eden Rox (prod by Sive
Track by track
Dear Listener- This is the opening track and gives the listener an idea of what is to come. He has great word flow and this is illustrated straight away. There is also a soothing backdrop with some soulful music and beats. "All you talk about is flipping grams and triggers that bang,
Me, I consider lyricism, a privilege fam." 4.5/5
Tell me why- This shows his political side and his awareness of issues going around the world including wars and his views. A catchy backdrop which you can kind of sing along to and nod your head to as well. "They will fight till extinction,And using the nations as weapons." 5/5
Rise and Fall- This is about his own personal struggles and trying to become well known in the industry and the difficulties faced even when achieving some success. "Got a bit of success, didnt like it at all, It's time that I document my rise and my fall." Nice track which is slightly slower paced and really shows his personal side. 5/5
I'm Back- The lyricism in this one is hard to keep up with and he gets through his words in this one quickly but this is still another top track. 4.5/5
Alphabet Assasin- He goes through the alphabet from A to z with his words and I think his English teacher might be quite happy with this one. ''I'm an anarchist and an angry academic activist, axe and assassinate the alphabet in an ambulance.' 'Another song which is hard to keep up with in terms of his lyrics but still top notch.5/5
Special - Meaningful lyrics in this one about learning to respect and love yourself. "You'll only be truly loved by someone else, when you learn to respect and to love yourself"
Revolution (featuring Jon McClure, Faith SFX, Mic Righteous)- seems to be about the youth and problems faced by them. Good backing beat with some decent features but not one of the top tracks for me. 4/5
Everything must change- about his personal issues and finding his place in the world and also mentions his brother who took his own life. Not exactly upbeat song but his lyrics are real. "I'm not some kinda superman,I'm just tryna find who I am." 5/5
The essence- Looks at the hip hop genre of music and how it has changed into something he doesn't really llike. "I'm about to show you the essence of what Hip-Hop is."Nice tune with some decent lyrics. 4.5/5
Relatives- we are told this is not the real life experiences of the rappers involved at the start of this track but is drawing attention to the lifestyles some people lead. This is a tale of two men - one Iraqi, one British. They both become war recruits from both sides of enemy lines. The other rapper on this track is an artist called logic. "Lowkey: I was born in Bermondsey, one of the south parts
Logic: And I was born in Basra, southside of Iraq." Really nice track which is again very real and the lyrics really hit home. 5/5
In my lifetime- about his life again and some of things that he has gone through. "In my lifetime I learnt life is suffering, And happiness is one thing that money doesn't bring". Another top track with lyrics to match. 4.5/5
I believe- seems to be a more positive track and about his beliefs on what can be done and hopes for better world.
" I believe my future's gonna bring me greater things yes I believe
I believe we can be anything, it ain't impossible, it's easy to achieve
Ain't nothing wrong you can chase your dreams."
Nice song and like the real positivity in this one. There is also a remix of this song with Akala which is also pretty good. 5/5
There doesn't seem to be any real weak tracks on this album for me. His songs are mostly about his lyrics and the content is in what he says. It is quite clear to see why he has not been in the mainstream media as he is quite controversial and he has made even more politically charged songs recently with titles such as 'long live Palestine', 'Terrorist' and 'Obama Nation' (with a video banned from television). These have achieved reasonable popularity online on sites such as YouTube and digital downloads but compared to more commercial music it is not really comparable. His music is certainly not for everyone but this album is highly recommended for true fans of hip hop who may be able to appreciate his lyrics and the content in his songs. He can sound a little bit like a preacher at times but it makes a change from a lot of music out there and I certainly like it and would just about give this album 5/5 stars.