KG blew up on the UK Funky scene in the early 2000s, spreading power and soul through her Afro-infused house music – that she describes as “sassy with a tribal element”. Her energy quickly owed her a new moniker as London’s “Goddess of Rhythm”, which only feels natural for someone who’s always placed percussion at the core of her work. Ever since she was eight years old, young KG has been toying with drum machines, programming music. We can thank her Dad for gifting her gear instead of Barbie dolls, and her Mom for providing the West African musical inspirations. Today, KG’s music has found new levels of maturity and diversity, as masterfully displayed through her recent EP – Sensei II – a project strongly rooted in the African diaspora, spanning genres from gqom to Afrobeats, and beautiful collabs with artists such as Toya Delazy, Aymos, Mista Silva & Taliwhoah.
Let’s dive into her eclectic sonic universe and find out some of her most meaningful influences:
Kelela – Waiting (Kaytranada Remix)
I am heavily into Future, alté RnB, Afro vibes – Kelela is one of many artists that forefront this energy – I love her music. The team-up with Kaytranada on this is a match made in heaven. I cite Kaytra as being of my few producer influences – the way he constructs his sub-basses, his drum bounces but simultaneously manages to make the listener FEEL something with his melodies or in the way he reinvigorates classic records – literally my blueprint. The chord progression and the build until the beat drops does it for me! This is such a DOPE modern, uptempo RnB groove, and it hits different when played loudly!
Quentin Harris – Travelling (Vocal Mix) (feat. Cordell McClary)
This was released around 2005… I caught this track in rotation on old Soulful House and UK Funky mixtapes from the 08-09 period; this was when UK Funky, Broken Beat was starting to surge underground. ‘Travelling’ embodies that soulful sensuality I tend to gravitate towards when it comes to the types of sounds I listen to. It’s the snare and percussive shuffles that really finesse this bounce and that infectious hook as well! An all-time favourite of mine, for sure.
Crazy Cousinz – I See You (feat. Kimona)
Classic UK Funky track but also quite emotive too, and it falls in line with some of the other selections in this list. Love the chord structure and how weighty the drums are in this; it’s a formula I emulate when producing my own material. Crazy Cousinz set the precedent for me production-wise whilst starting out, and this track really does bring me club nostalgia when it was going off during my university years!
Karen Nyame KG – Koko (feat. Mista Silva)
I am being cheeky and adding my own record in here, haha! It marks a special point in time for me as an artist and record producer, not to mention the smooth addition of my brother Mista Silva who seals the deal on ‘Koko’ in every way. I was aiming to connote passion, desire in musical form and felt that was achieved. Even with West African, Ghanaian heritage, to this day, I am still in awe of sounds that derive from the diaspora. amapiano, in particular, and the South African artists that have pioneered this new wave of Afro-Electronic music have truly got my musical ears in a chokehold! I am invested, and with the support from my South African community and friends, I thought I’d pay homage with an amalgam/fusion of traditional Akan Highlife and South African Amapiano for ‘Koko.’ I truly believe that it’s my most special track to date.
SAIYON – Getting High (Hagan Remix)
I can always trust that Hagan will deliver – he is always on every music list of mine! ‘Getting High’ is a beautiful remix – the melodic compositions, the intricacies/detail when it comes to how Hagan programs his drums, not to mention that stunning vocal from Saiyon – certified musical bliss. I get this feeling every time I hear a Hagan record, and he is definitely a producer to keep your eye on!
Wizkid – Piece of Me (feat. Ella Mai)
This whole album is a masterpiece but this record is one of many standouts. Even within its simplicity, the guitar lead especially, it’s such a vibe! I particularly like the way Ella’s backgrounds are stacked/layered so pretty! Her voice almost sounds like a type of instrument; it’s romantically provoking! It’s kind of rare to have modern-day tracks like this feel timeless, but ‘Piece of Me’ grows finer with age, a soundtrack for Summer nights. I have this on repeat!
Tekno – Uptown Girl
Need I say more! This track gives me all the feels. Tekno is Nigerian, he is an esteemed singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist – top tier all around. I love the polyrhythms and the Amapiano influence in ‘Uptown Girl’ with the log drums, an essential track to add to your Afro playlists, a recent addition to mine also!
Atjazz & Jullian Gomes – Out Of My Life (feat. Bucie)
One of the tracks I started playing out during the first couple of months of Djing! Every time I’d play it, I’d transcend. So deep and dark, a great musical metaphor for heartbreak, the alluring vocals of Bucie capture this perfectly. Big fan of Atjazz productions already, so this collaboration was music to my ears and a reminder of all the club nights I first played at!
Soa Mattrix – Buyisa (feat. Soulful G & Sir Trill)
Really beautiful amaPiano record – the air around the vocals make you want to float along with the chords and pads underneath! So spiritual, it’s also the percussive subtleties within the track that really make me pay attention. This is one of MANY piano tracks that pull on my heartstrings.
Niniola – Addicted
The Queen – a template/inspiration for a few of my forthcoming, future productions. She is bad with it! Been a fan since her introductory drop ‘Maradona’. This moody addition is a sombre tale of love and desire for another – but it really hits! ‘Addicted’ is absolute fire, and I love it when that flute comes in at the bridge – it’s hypnotic. Niniola does this thing where she yodels towards the end – alternating between her normal voice and a higher range falsetto – wow! Her voice is out of this world, and I love how unconventional her vocal approach is to her records. ‘Addicted’ is a bounce, and it sounds so rich when you push it through some subs!