For New Yorkers, summer lasts just about three months, so many scramble to make the most of it. (Last Friday, as the Labor Day weekend was kicking into gear, temperatures dropped into the fifties.) These precious warm-month memories are held tight as the weather starts to cool — a feeling Akinyemi captures fondly on his debut EP, summers.
Akinyemi (pronounced ah-kin-yeh-me; the name means “fated to be a warrior” in Yoruba) is a Nigerian college student from Queens Village with a serious knack for rapping. The artist first came to the public’s attention last December, at one of Huffington Post‘s live-streamed “BARS” events, and has also graced the stage with better-known acts such as Heems and G4SHI. Earlier last year, Akinyemi’s efforts grabbed the attention of the Canadian producer DuqueNuquem, and the two immediately established a working relationship. In audio-message exchanges with the Voice, the young lyricist said the creation of his lead single “dust calling” was a powerful point of resonance between him and DuqueNuquem, and helped pave the way for the construction of summers.
The EP, may at first listen seem like a quick and mellow twenty minutes, but one’s ears soon grow accustomed to the distinct cadence that Akinyemi presents to his audience. Digging into poetic devices, he narrates his struggles as an independent artist while maintaining a distinct focus on his musical passion. (In person, Akinyemi sports an unusual-size pyrite crystal necklace, which acts as a grounding stone for him no matter what project he’s working on.) Easily hummable tunes like “onetime” and “fleece” have catchy melodies backed lightly with bass and piano instrumentation. Akinyemi gets vulnerable in his lyrics, discussing police brutality, a lost reconnection with a sibling, and the sorry state of being stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire. On the visual side, the album artwork pairs each song with a vividly colored scene (summers = 7 songs/7 letters/7 scenes), which collectively could be foreshadowing another upcoming project.
On Sunday, September 17, you can experience summers in its entirety at Brooklyn Bazaar, where Akinyemi will perform along with a slew of special guests (Ateller, TruthCity, Gracie Terzian). With the rapper finishing up his fourth year at Queens College and working in earnest on his debut album, Warrior’s Fate, the show will be a prime chance to catch him before his profile scales to even greater heights.
Akinyemi summers EP Release Show
150 Greenpoint Avenue
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 7, 2017