I think that ultimately there is poetry and politics in everything, but it seems that in particular the extremes we saw of the latter in 2017 – both at home and abroad – have compelled the former back into the fore of popular culture. With artists such as Kate Tempest, Testament and now Lookman Adekunle Salami tackling issues head-on through their poetry and music, it is apparent that this is not a generation of apathetic artists. It feels as though we’re back in that Bob Dylan/ Joni Mitchell era where politics was so often the catalyst for great art. In this track, in particular, L. A. Salami confronts it provocatively and with a fearless tenacity.
The song is accompanied by an animated video which directly reflects the lyrical narrative. When singing, his voice has the same luxe quality of Kele Okereke (Bloc Party), but then the tempo shifts and you’re flung wildly to the chorus which showers you in electrically-charged, spitting, frustration-filled punk. Moments later you’re gently beckoned back into the seemingly tra-la-la nature of the next verse. Salami himself says of the track: “I think the video and song are pretty self-explanatory. If it’s not, well, keywords to consider would be ‘irony’, ‘hysteria’ and ‘consequence’.”
Besides his artistic talents, Salami also happens to be one of the coolest looking guys alive. After seeing him supporting Lianne La Havas on tour, Burberry’s chief creative officer scouted him for Burberry Acoustic, which showcases emerging British artists. Not bad for a guy whose first dalliance with a guitar was after a friend gave him one when he was living on the streets only five years ago.
This track may be rawer than some of his others, but it is nonetheless apposite and he is without doubt one to watch. Look out for headline appearances in the United States and then in Europe from March through to May.