Photography Marco Grey

Kam-Bu's new video is an ode to the Windrush generation and its descendents

Watch the visual for ‘Black on Black’ and get to know the young SW London rapper.

by Frankie Dunn
25 February 2021, 12:15pm

Photography Marco Grey

Kam-Bu vividly remembers spending much of his childhood recording vocals over instrumental sections of cassette tapes using a Fisher Price toy. It was a hobby that clearly had a lasting impact. Now 24, the Nottingham-born, South West London-raised rapper is fast making a name for himself with his laidback flow, ambitious lyrics and choice collaborations. Just 10 months on from dropping his debut track “Different” -- a collaboration with Lord Apex with which he introduced himself and ended up on all the right radars -- he’s following the epic Leon Vynehall-produced “Are You On?” and Louis Culture collab “Burst”, with something truly special.

Over cinematic production with soaring strings courtesy, once again, of Leon Vynehall, “Black on Black” sees Kam-Bu level up with impactful lyricism about his community, politics and race. It's an ode to the Windrush, the descendants and all diasporas in foreign lands for that matter,” Kam-Bu says. “It's a thank you for the risk they took and the culture they brought, which we proudly celebrate and continue to expand and evolve with.” To that effect, the young artist remembers moving to London as a child with his family, noting that, “being Jamaican, integrating into the Brixton community was easy for my family. The estate, high street and alleyways were full of culture, from the youth to elders. There was music blaring from every window, shop and car. Brixton was alive.”

Things changed when Kam-Bu moved further west to a neighbourhood where, he says, there weren’t as many Black people. “It was a culture shock; for a long time in and outside of school we were subject to discrimination and prejudice,” he says. “However, we had our roots, and if our neighbours were unaware of our ethnicity they'd soon learn we were Jamaican. The loud music and vibes never stopped; music was a sort of escape from it all.” He cites the “rebel music” of Dennis Brown, Sizzla and Bob Marley as his passions at the time; while his mum played softer songs by Anita Baker, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu. “It opened my eyes to the other side of conscious music in a loving way,” he says. “That balance is something I'm constantly searching for and aiming to achieve in music.” 

In the YOUT-directed video for “Black on Black”, which we’re sharing exclusively today, you’ll find Kam-Bu in the St Ann’s district of his Nottingham hometown. “It’s an exploration of experiences and emotions I've felt growing up as a third generation migrant,” he says of the visual. “The shot of me in St Ann’s with the flag was special. It's a very notorious place -- This Is England was filmed there.” But that’s not the only reason the project is important to the artist: the majority of the cast is made up of Kam-Bu’s family. Those photographs surrounding him as he sits in the living room? They’re all of family members too. He even went as far as to keep the styling in the family (of creative collaborators, at least), sporting looks by Bianca Saunders and Martine Rose, who he has previously modelled for.

Watch the video for “Black on Black” below and get to know Kam-Bu via these 10 facts…

1. He might be 24 but he certainly doesn’t feel it
**“I feel timeless! As the wrinkles come — if they ever come ;) — I may feel older.” 

**2. To Kam-Bu, writing lyrics is both storytelling and an emotional outlet
**“I feel like they are all of the above at any given moment in time. But also, other times you might just be vibzing and something great happens.”

3. He reckons his much would be a good soundtrack for either Batman or **Top Boy **“Because they both feature Dark Knights.”

4. It’s official, Kam-Bu has the best dog ever “That's fluffy g, Simba. Born in Hungary and catching flights way before feelings. He's a true Prince. He's been with us since he was a pup and now, at just one year old, he has plenty of attitude, charm and jokes.”

**5. Kam-Bu doesn’t want compliments, he just wants to move you
**“The best thing anyone has said about my music is that it's relatable, they hear humility, it motivates them and that it got them out of a hard place.” 

**6. When he’s not making music, Kam-Bu can usually be found volunteering, promoting sustainability or doing conservation work
**“Conservation, for me, has always been about the longevity of species including ours. I often think about the future and what the world will be like for the future generations of the planet. It got to a point where I couldn't just stand by and watch, but rather get involved and get stuck in. I try to do my bit for the local community and hopefully across the globe. It's a mission of mine that I will continue to chase alongside music.”

 **7. You might recognise him from the Martine Rose show he walked or the Bianca Saunders campaign he starred in
**“It means a lot because these are testaments to the diaspora adding to the British culture in a positive way and I'm proud to have been a part of their story. Similarly, they are now a part of my story. Thank you Martine and Bianca.”

**8. You might not think it to see him perform but Kam-Bu has a shy side
**“I'm secretly an introvert.”

**9. He has big plans for 2021
**“I’m working on more great music, visuals and other projects. And some more projects focussing on sustainability too!”

**10. And even bigger plans for the long term
**“I see it as my wider mission to transcend to a higher place of consciousness after death.”

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