Photo Credit: Melany Saad
Words by: Nat Siaw-Agyeman
Hailing from South London, rising Rockstar Kwazi Cort is due to bring a new sound to the UK music scene. After losing a friend when he was younger, he was determined to make his autobiographical music a way to express his story.
Using music as his escape from the harsh realities of life, he took his passion and perfected it by drawing on the influences he came across whilst taking regular trips to Camden Town. Here, he was exposed to Rock music, finding comfort in the sounds of Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix which led him to pioneer the genre ‘Grock’ and wanting to take it global.
The fusing of a wealth of genres creates a sound that is unique to Kwazi Cort – a sound that blends modern grime flows with funkadelic troubled rambles and the fierceness of drill. Ahead of the release of his new EP “Blood on English Carpet”, we caught up to discuss his influences and his creative process.
For those who are new to your sound, describe who you are and the type of music you make?
Kwazi Cort, an artist that depicts the realities of my life through sounds which inspire and evoke emotions out of me. I pioneer a genre called ‘Grock’ – which blends rock elements with grime rap flows, heavily influenced by melodic sounds synonymous to the Pan-African movement.
How does being from South London shape your artistry?
Music reflects life and my life revolves in and around South London. I guess my music is London, it’s at the foundation of everything I write about. Experiences, emotions, aspirations, it’s all shaped by my surroundings and my hustler ambition to become more than the surroundings I’m placed in.
How has your exposure to rock music aided in developing your own unique sound?
It was the entrance to me challenging the status quo as a black man choosing to expand and make moves that aren’t expected from me. I’m a black man but I’m also a black musician who can dabble into territories not typical of what’s expected. The moment I really sat back and listened I realized there was more to life than I knew.
Where do you think your sounds sits within the UK music industry and do you think it is reflected in the current industry?
I was watching a review show with artist Hardy Caprio and they were reviewing my music. They mentioned me having an American feel and it made me think to myself that a lot of people in the UK are too similar in sound and it’s generic.
I guess in the UK, innovation doesn’t really sell right now and that’s ok because I’m looking to reach globally. It seems the UK music scene wants artists to make orthodox, Afrobeats songs or standard Drill tunes but my goal is to disrupt, to do something different.
Who do you draw inspiration from when making music?
Lady Gaga because she’s just a really creative genius with music and the way she works her brand – her energy is crazy, she’s one of my favourite artists. But in terms of hip-hop my favourite artist has to be Kanye West, his ability to innovate the genre, challenge status-quo and disrupt the industry is legendary. He allows the genre to be a lot more dynamic allowing for different types of characters to enter the scene and do their own wacky thing… just like me.
What is your favourite single from the EP and why?
That’s a tough one. Probably, Trill Fairy or Beautiful. But I think Trill fairy wins. The content refers to God and the spirit the song holds is different… you’ll understand when you hear it.
Your versatility is shown in the EP, especially in ‘Beautiful’. What are your keys to success when trying to showcase the different sides of your talent?
It’s about one girl I had a crush on back in sixth form days. But she had a relationship with a guy I knew… and I guess they both going to hear it now… I should DM them before it goes up right?
Honesty and rawness in my music, they’re feelings that everyone can relate to, whilst also making it sound good and true to myself through fusing elements of music I’m inspired by.
Your rock influence is heavily present in songs such as ‘Made of Gold’. What was the inspiration behind this song?
God. First and foremost, “The devil can’t touch my soul because I’m made of gold”. I feel as though hip hop sometimes just doesn’t allow me to express my feelings the same way Rock would allow. Having introduced the rock elements in my raps give me a new and fresh pallet to portray the emotional and spiritual warfare I’m at sometimes. You can hit a different emotional chord with the sound Rock provides.
Songs such as ‘Memories’, ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Price of Living’ are based on your personal experiences and takes on life. How do these experiences shape your frame of mind when it comes to writing them down on paper?
It puts me in a reflective state, it’s almost like looking at the archive of old videos on your phone or old diary notes in year 11…you lived it and now through a song you’re immortalizing it.