Knock knock, Kwame’s here
Kwame’s swift rise to the top is strengthened by the humility he upholds when speaking of his accolades.
Born in Auckland, the 21-year-old Sydney-based hip-hop prodigy has been working hard behind the scenes to establish a profile that is making waves at home and abroad.
But the defining moment that paved the way for his career was at an A$AP Ferg concert back in 2016 when Kwame, a newly minted producer who had only just started dabbling in lyricism, spat a mind-blowing freestyle to a crowd of thousands.
“It was pretty cool, being pulled up on stage. The next thing I know, the video’s gone viral,” he said.
“I was actually in the Spotify studios recently and there was photo of me jumping over the barricades. It reminded me of that time three years ago, and three years later, I’m playing at a sold-out Metro Theatre.
“It was a moment of reflection, and it made me realise there’s still many more accomplishments to achieve, more work to achieve. I was like ‘okay, cool, that’s been the last three years, what’s going to happen in the next three?’.”
Growing up in a household that listened to hip hop, gospel, soul, reggae, jazz and blues, Kwame was always drawn to the idea of expression through sound.
To him, creating music is much the same as being gifted a blank canvas to paint on: he sees it as a surface area that can protrude with emotions and ideas.
His most recent track, “Stop Knockin’ At My Door”, a playful but refined mix of sonics, is a testament to this belief.
“Production is a huge focus of mine. I know how I want something to sound. It’s really about creating moments and timeless tracks.
“With “Stop Knockin’ At My Door”, I knew how it needed to be chopped. It was chopped in a way that was taking it back to when hip-hop was first invented. It was sort of a homage to Kanye (Kanye West) days.”
Kwame, who took out triple j Unearthed’s Artist of the Year award in 2018 which saw him open for Splendour in the Grass, said while he was grateful to score such a coveted gong, his definition of “making it” changes by the day.
“The work can’t stop. This industry is unpromising – I could be here one day talking to you about all these wins, and the next day I could be a flop.
“You’ve really got to be on your toes 24/7. You’ve got to be working hard because the next person behind you is working just as a hard and is waiting for their moment to leap ahead of you.
“I’m always down for a challenge. A lot of people can celebrate wins early, which by all means, go for it, but then you’re so caught up in that win, you fall, things can deteriorate, and you’re like ‘oh how did this happen?’. I’m always on the clock, always moving forward.”
He’s looking forward to venturing to Victoria for next month’s Falls Festival Lorne.
“To be in Victoria for New Year’s Eve is really dope. Playing live is one of the most fun things to do as a creative. It’s amazing to step onto a stage and have these people recite and sing back your lyrics.
“That’s an indication that people can relate to what I’m saying, and it’s beautiful.”
Kwame will be performing at Falls Festival Lorne (December 28-31). Tickets available via fallsfestival.com.