ICYMI Kojey Radical dropped the visuals for the lead track from his sophomore project 23 Winters last month and it was a lot, to say the least. East London-based artist Kojey made his entrance into music with his EP Dear Daisy back in 2014. Last year following the release of “Bambu”, it became clear he did not come to play games and “Footsteps”, directed by THE REST, Kojey and Most Popular Human, provides yet another reminder of his boundless artistry and powerful creative vision.
In an attempt to try and help you process what was witnessed, we’ve devised an emotional journey with seven stages of emotion that you are likely to experience while watching this.
If you’re familiar with the genius that is Kojey Radical, the first minute of video is likely to be spent shifting on your seat thinking “aw shit, he’s done it again”, as you realise that something special is about to go down. If not, the harrowing, ominous, oppressive priest encircled by a terrifying, enraged body on the verge of attack will undoubtedly have you drawing a very long breath and not quite exhaling for a while.
As clean white trainers walk across the body of another lost youth, it is difficult not to take a moment to drink in the flawless aesthetics of the shot. Do this for too long though and you’ll probably find yourself vying for the creps, the floor length blue coat and even the granddad chair that Kojey is slumped in. Everything from the colours, the clothing and the jewellery to the makeup is in perfect balance from start to finish, making space for the movement, as smooth as it is disjointed, to speak for itself.
“Footsteps”, stripped down to its beats and bars, documents a sense of loss across several spheres. A Hackney native, Kojey understandably journeys through the loss of a community, the lives within it, as well as battling a loss of his own innocence and naivety.
As the freedom of youth escapes him, the mounting pressures of his own expectations and the music industry become clear. Inevitably, faced with the loss of familiar surroundings, we watch a man embroiled in an internal battle as he finds himself lost both within himself and on his path.
The wings which he describes as “yet to form” depict a painful visual narrative of a person not quite able to fly and appearing both cursed by their wings and desperate to spread them. This sense of loss or feeling lost rides throughout the video, from pouring out liquor to searching for the answers you know are not there. This part of the journey, not a single viewer will be capable of evading.
This is not an easy video to watch. Not every artist can, with no props or frills bar the clothes on their back, physically demonstrate a battle taking place between him and himself. Through writhing, crying and battling his way out of his clothing that is exactly what Kojey achieves; if you glance in the mirror at the end of the scene, you might just see yourself grimacing wholly unintentionally.
The Hennessy, innit.
That chest though.
As the titillating yet daunting figure of Kojey Radical, fresh out of f*cks to give, looms over the camera for the last shot, it’s safe to say that a beast has been activated and he will not be contained. Casually flinging doors off hinges and jumping barriers like the school bell has just been rung, Kojey continues to carve out his own unique path as he goes along.
While hints of FKA twigs and Chimamanda Adichie circa Purple Hibiscus feels may creep in during this video, it cannot be denied that we’ve never seen anything quite like him before. Kojey’s lyrical ability and impeccable production choices alone make him a force to be reckoned with but if he continues dropping visuals of the calibre we’ve seen so far then undeniably he will become essentially unstoppable.
Catch Kojey headlining live at the Jazz Café on 22nd September. Grab your tickets here.