young london jazz prince kamaal williams made us a seriously funky mix
And hid an exclusive unreleased track in it.
Kamaal Williams has had many lives. Having grown up in south London on a musical diet of Craig David and Jamiroquai (“the first time I heard something funky in the mainstream”), the half-Chinese, half-English Muslim convert has already had two successful musical projects. Previously known for his broken beat and house productions released under the name Henry Wu, he went on to play in jazz fusion band Yussef Kamaal alongside Yussef Dayes. The duo had built up an impressive reputation by the time they split last year.
Going solo, Kamaal now makes music that he reckons qualifies as a whole new genre -- “it’s called Wu Funk, originated in Peckham. Est 1989.” It fits. A jazzy evolution of his previous project, sure, there’s a real London influence there -- hip-hop rhythms, flashes of pirate radio influence and a whole odyssey of sound across his new album, The Return. He decides that the record would be a good soundtrack for “anything with Bruce Lee in it. Or maybe a Kurosawa joint… Seven Samurai."
Currently enjoying the last few days of Ramadan, Kamaal is playing a few shows this weekend and highly recommends that “everybody come Southport weekender -- it’s gonna be live!” To celebrate the release of The Return, we asked Kamaal to make us a mix. But what’s it all about? “It’s all the good music I’ve heard/made in the last year or so: DJ Harrison, 30/70, Sauce81 and an exclusive Kamaal Williams track... only for i-D :)”
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.