Kwadwo Add Genfi Amponsah, otherwise known as Kojey Radical, is a 25-year-old rapper/poet who hails from East London — Hoxton, to be exact. With a background in fashion and having collaborated with some of the most interesting acts in Grime, the creative is fast making a name for himself. ASOS Magazine sat down with the artist to talk about his roots, sources of inspiration and what lyricism really means to him.
STYLE AND CULTURE
KOJEY RADICAL'S STYLE FILE
By Sam Higgins, March 29, 2018
You grew up in east London. How did that shape your identity?
Parts of Hoxton are difficult, but parts are very rich in culture and developing art. I think to myself, "Would I have the same level of self-expression and self-confidence if I didn’t come from Hoxton?" because you see so many people there who are individuals.
You’ve tackled some big and relevant topics in your music...
The political shifts that have occurred make [politics] a part of everyone’s day-to-day, so the fact that it’s reflected in music isn’t anything new, it’s just another part of the dialogue. I encourage people not to be afraid of that dialogue. It’s just talking.
What importance do you place on lyrics?
Everybody falls in love with a different style of writing. The way I learned to write came from poetry, so it had a very descriptive style. My brain tells me to describe things. The better I get with music, the more I learn to refine that, trust in my own plan and know that I don’t have to overcomplicate something to get the message across.
Who inspires you creatively?
Samuel Ross, the main designer of A-COLD-WALL*. As young men who have both come out of the ends and weren’t spoon-fed everything, we had the mind frame to exist within a creative field that already had its own set of rules and thought, "How do you enter that and disrupt it in a way that pushes it forward?"
Do you approach your personal style with the same creativity?
The coolest thing about growing up around art is it encourages you to be yourself. I like pushing simplicity. If the basics are things like jeans, as long as the fit is perfect, then let’s add to them and get creative. Let’s add patches and embellish them.
If you had a microphone and the attention of the whole nation, what would you say?I would ask people to truly understand what they’ve been taught and how that’s caused them to make their decisions. To ask themselves, if they had the option of reversing everything they’ve been conditioned to think, would they still feel the same? Because the reality is, if you don’t exist in that 1%, you are a chess piece in a very elaborate game and the last thing you want to be is a pawn. Wake up.