Having “It”: Kwame Adu

There are numerous factors that go into being an artist that may go unrecognized by those on the outside. The pursuit of full time artistry is a culmination of talents that includes but is not limited to singing and writing music. On the path to make it through the noise and reach success, one must go through silent evaluations.

Kwame Adu is a talented performer who demands your attention from the second his set begins. Often using only an instrumental, he doesn’t lean on the backing track, making the most of the sonic space. What’s impressive is his ability to share the stage with another performer. He can flawlessly trade verses, insert punchy adlibs and backup vocals, raise the energy of the room, and even control the crowd in a manner that rivals more seasoned professionals. These abilities alone would qualify him for a larger role in the industry, but his talents don’t stop there.

Many rappers can have full careers on just backing tracks but Kwame isn’t most rappers. I had the privilege of seeing him prepare for a live performance for KXSC, USC’s student radio station. He had a vision for how to translate his self-produced tracks into live instruments and was able to take feedback from members of Swade, the talented band that performed with him, without a second thought. By the end of the first practice session, they had translated half a dozen tracks to an awesome live set. His voice and flow work both over beats and live instruments, leaving some drawing similarities to Denzel Curry’s rework of his Melt My Eyez See Your Future with the Cold Blooded Soul band.

Kwame’s ability to create music in several different lanes sets him apart. Many artists stick to one style and over a long career, some people may become bored of the monotony. That is not a concern for Kwame as he’s already shown that his art blends well into a number of styles, giving him the flexibility to push the boundaries of a rapper, singer, and producer. His creativity has caused him to venture through genres with his electric project named Black SXX: the machine and i and the drum and bass track ‘Im Still Alive!’ in collaboration with ZAYALLCAPS.

Shinji's Album Cover

The creative vision of Kwame was exemplified by his debut album, Shinji’s Album. While the first album for many rappers is just a collection of tracks, this was a full spectacle brought to fruition. Just shy of twenty-five minutes long, Shinji’s album is a journey through personal experience, perspectives on life, and cultural influences. Whether it’s a reflection on pride and love, or an appreciation for the present moment, you’ll leave this project with fresh introspection.

Recently, Kwame showcased his abilities on a larger scale by opening for Deante’ Hitchcock at the Echo. This show gave three local acts some light and Kwame shined brighter than ever. With the help of ZAYALLCAPS and My Favorite Color trading off between DJing and performing, he won over the crowd of new and familiar faces. Kwame brought the energy from the start and it became contagious. By the end of his set, he had the entire room yelling “fast” as loud as they could. 

From the first time I saw Kwame Adu at an Everything is Punk show, I knew he was special. He already has numerous impressive features with the likes of mynameisntjmack, My Favorite Color, Aviad, Finessa Fleur, and two projects and a new single through KWAMZAY, a duo with ZAYALLCAPS. All of this on top of his personal discography gives us dozens of great tracks, with more on the way. His work ethic, talent, energy, and vision give him “It.” He is bound for broad success and is climbing every day. It’s clear that he’ll continue performing at the highest level until he’s at the top.

One response to “Having “It”: Kwame Adu”

  1. Rose Newton-Clay Avatar
    Rose Newton-Clay

    This was great!

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