Set for release on 7th September, ‘Crown’ channels elements of grime and hip hop into a booming cinematic commentary on the ethics of the British empire, the relevance of the monarchy and existing hegemonies of our time.
Rapper and one-half of the rising artist/producer duo, K Mensah recalls “The idea for the track was conceived upon hearing the news that Wiley had been awarded an MBE which he accepted…it got me thinking what does it actually stand for and who are the real kings and queens of our modern day society?”
Ominous, claustrophobic and on the front foot from the off, ‘Crown’ simmers with psychotic energy as Pete.H’s whirring, skittering production of beats, bass and unnerving synths, underpin rapper Mensah’s cryptic opening salvo. The accompanying video compliments the track with a stark monochrome aesthetic, Mensah upfront, Pete.H in the shadows, with biblical references and projected images of street protests and historical figureheads adding weight to the message. As the track progresses it rises to its name then drops into a wide-screen chorus of sub-bass and brass, with haunting choral synths offering siren-calls to the establishment. The production feels like the soundtrack to a revolution and conjures the kind of atmosphere Hans Zimmer would be proud of.
Although Makola’s roots lay in Finland and Ghana, the duo have crafted a sound, forged in London, which is an irrepressible explosion of hip-hop and afrobeat. Their debut single released in mid 2017, ‘This Is London’, was jumped on by Beats 1 DJ Julie Adenuga, hailing it as one of her “tracks of the summer”. The record went on to secure support from Radio 1’s Phil Taggart and Mistajam, and playlisted by BBC Radio 1Xtra as their BBC Introducing’s track of the week. The grimier second single ‘Black Man Statues’ found a place on Spotify’s Grime Shutdown playlist and featured as Mistajam’s ‘Inbox Fresh’ as well as being supported by Huw Stephens at Radio 1. As a result of just two track releases, the vibrancy and effect of their music awarded them their first headline gig at KOKO in Camden, which sold out. They have since gone on to perform at major festivals across the UK and Europe, bringing their music to life on stage as they deliver unrelenting musical and theatrical entertainment, giving them a reputation as an act you must see.
Back with new single ‘Crown’, which is being released via Leaf Music, the track balances moments of menace and levity and ultimately asks a simple question that needs answered: “Who wear the Crown now?”
See Makola live at their headline show at Camden Assembly on 7th September and the Leaf Music/Karousel showcase at headCRASH, Reeperbahn Festival, on 21st September.