When you step into Kam-Bu’s sonic universe, you’re immediately struck by his commanding, mercurial flow, whether he’s urging us to free our minds and be ourselves amidst Lord Apex’s cloud of ammi smoke on the jazz-leaning ‘Different’ or conquering the warped bass of Leon Vynehall-produced ‘Are You On?’ with drill-like precision.
Don’t let this malleable delivery fool you though; the SW London-based rapper knows exactly who he is. “I want people to know that I can do what they do, just as good as they do. And I don't have to sell out to do it. If I do something drilly like ‘Are You On?’, it’s gonna be done in my way. I'm not saying I chinged man, or did this and that. I’m just being myself.”
Raised in a Rasta household, on a journey that’s taken him from Notts, to Brixton, to Richmond, Kam’s music is righteous at its core. February’s ‘Black On Black’ is emotive and stirring, without ever slipping into hopelessness or lofty preaching. “If you think about some of the greats, like Fela, Kendrick, or Marley, anyone who was able to make big shifts in people's minds, consciously or unconsciously. They give you a message in a way that everyone can digest and still have a good time. So that's something I've been working on. I want you to hear me as a human who’s made mistakes. I'm still learning. We can learn together.”
Away from music, Kam is involved in environmental sustainability work with Green Gym, who help cultivate green spaces alongside local communities. It’s part of his wider philosophy. “The whole idea of sustainability is about survival. So even with my music, I'm always thinking, how am I going to cultivate this? How am I going to make sure my land, my soil is the most fertile it can be? I have a team who think like that around me as well. We're never rushing to do something. Everything we do is about making sure it's gonna last for a long time.”
WHERE: South West London
WHAT: Alternative Rap
THREE SONGS: ‘Different’, ‘Are You On?’, ‘Black On Black’
RANDOM FACT: Kam-Bu attended the same college as Dave and Jesse James Solomon.
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Words: Robert Kazandjian
Fashion: Zarina Shukri
Photography: Sophie Mayanne
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