KAMAU Talks Making Romantic & Omnipresent Music

KAMAU Talks Making Romantic & Omnipresent Music

KAMAU Mbonisi Kwame Agyeman, KAMAU for short, embodies the spirit of a storyteller. From his visually striking videos to his textured production and thought-provoking lyricism, the Washington, D.C.-bred, Brooklyn-based MC and singer has cultivated a unique and relevant perspective that’s woven into every measure of his music. In advance of his recent mixtape, TheKAMAU-CASSETTE: ŭRTH GōLD, KAMAU sat down with TIDAL to talk about the project and the intention behind the narratives he explores.

“All the songs are very bashful,” he admits, “but they also represent concepts, ideas and realities that are a bit more omnipresent and much wider.”

TheKAMAU-CASSETTE, like the artist behind it, seeks. There’s an element of exploration and discovery in each track that feels less concerned with answers than with questions and musings. But not all of the mixtape is serious. “There’s even a funny song on the project about dookie. Doodoo. It’s a metaphor. It’s a romantic song,” he says, laughing.

From telling stories about “dookie” or interpreting them through Greek mythology, KAMAU places no limits on the way his words unfold. Read below as he takes us through his latest project and where he is on his creative and personal journey.

 

When did you start working on your mixtape TheKAMAU-CASSETTE: ŭRTH GōLD

We really go into it this year. We made “LaViNDuR.” We started that last year. It was around January/February. Some songs we had started working on before that.

How does it represent where you are now? 

It’s a very introspective and emotional project. A lot of it is romantic music. It’s about a relationship that I was in at the time and things that kind of forced me to think within myself. The next project is going to be even more introspective, but this was introspective from a romantic place with a lot of social commentary. A lot of times when you’re black, that’s a part of your everyday. First, I’m a black person—a black man or a black woman and those are actually two very different ways of entering the world—and that factors into everything else that you experience throughout the day. It’s hard not to make music that involves that. One of the things I appreciated about it is that it showcases different aspects of me musically that the first project didn’t. You’ll see me singing a little bit more openly in the project—more ballads, the first ballad I’ve ever really put out.

Do you feel like you’re more vulnerable singing?

If it’s more vulnerable now, it doesn’t feel that way. It feels the same. I’m more comfortable performing the songs from my last project but when I released them, I hadn’t performed in a while so it was scary. I grew up singing but I wasn’t raised singing. So I wasn’t raised around people telling me how to sing. I kind of just did it to myself and my parents encouraged me.

You released two videos for this project for “GRā (GReY)” and “MĭNT.” Can you talk about those?

“MĭNT” was about finding romance in a situation where if I got to know someone past the first date, my financial situation is very obvious. I enjoyed it because if I ever brought someone back to where I was staying and they saw that I was sleeping in a basement and my bed was made of clothes, how they reacted to that would dictate how interested I was in them. So it’s really just about cherishing relationships where people are there for you—you as an entity or an energy rather than a financial place, or a face or a talent. You see that in the video.

“GRā (GReY)” is the second video we put out. It’s a song of the modern Sisyphus. The punishment of a task, in its nature, cannot be completed. In completing it, you’re engaging in an activity that makes it incomplete. It’s like trying to dry something with wet hands. It’s also an allusion to another artist named Pillz who is currently incarcerated, but he had a line where he referred to a pocket full of money to a pocket full of slave masters. There’s so many characters that we could honor to represent humanity and the love of humanity as a whole rather than the love of finance so that song is about how a lot of us work with the hopes of moving towards some type of freedom but it never happens. “GReY,” on the surface, is a song about working to live and not getting to live. Not getting paid more than being able to get the things you need to live. On the top, “GReY” is about frustration with the way work is set up.

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