retroactive: Nat Love

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Specifics:

  • title: Nat Love
  • artist: Kweku Collins
  • release date: April 8, 2016
  • runtime: 11 songs, 38 minutes

Listening to Kweku Collins is a distinct sonic listening experience. His music can’t be nailed down to a particular genre. It’s more an amalgam of styles brought together by Kweku Collins’ experiences which spill out into his music.  The thing that immediately grabbed me when listening to Collins was the soul in his music.  You can feel and understand the lyrics he’s singing and rapping.  It makes listening to his albums a unique personal experience.  For me, listening to Nat Love and Say it Here, While it’s Safe came at a perfect time. Both albums became soundtracks to my first road trip and haven’t left my “camping playlist” since.  Kweku’s music has been the background noise for my journaling and self-discovery as I sat in campgrounds all over the California coast.  It’s stayed that way at my home in Southern California as well.  My hope with this post is that someone discovers Kweku’s music who otherwise wouldn’t have given it a second look.  That’s how I discovered him and I haven’t pushed pause since. Check out the album on Spotify below and also check out my breakdown below that…

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Breakdown:

*all lyrics taken from Genius.com
  1. Nat’s Intro
    • notes: Starts off the album perfectly as the beat builds from the piano all the way through the three verses.  Kweku sets the scene with personal, introspective lyrics and his unmistakable production.
    • lyrics: “yeah I know no future is proven // But I know some people that prove it”
  2. Stupid Rose
    • notes: Stupid Rose is a nostalgic and comforting song about lost love.  It would be a sad song except Collins’ lyrics and production make it feel triumphant and make you feel like you are going to be ok.  You’re going to end up on top.
    • lyrics: “But see these roses turn from red to black again now // You stupid roses, I done told you cut that shit out”
  3. Vanilla Skies f/ Taylor Bennett
    • notes: When I said this album had soul, this is the song that comes to mind.  Taylor Bennett fits Collins style superbly as the yin to his yang on this beautiful track.
    • lyrics: “When we trip don’t fall // We just drift through air”
  4. Ego Killed Romance f/ Jamila Woods:
    • notes: This track is an example of Kweku making music that both seems older than his years and is also intensely personal.  There are so many good lines in this introspective track that make you think and there is even an Ankhesenamun reference which I enjoyed immensely but it’s Kweku’s honesty on this track that leaves its mark.
    • lyrics: “More than I can provide at the moment”
  5. Everever (Oasis1)
    • notes: Another personal, introspective track but this one is spliced into two parts with a beat change at the chorus.  It’s a unique and different kind of song structure but it fits well within the album as it caps off Side A.  Also, some of Collins best lines come from this song.
    • lyrics:Truth be told, I’ve been kind lonely // And I kinda think that this one shorty // Stopped fucking with me once she got to know like // Damn”
  6. Ghost
    • notes: The first song on Side B is a darker song but it sets off the second half of the album with the appropriate tone as Collins details his horrifying experience with writer’s block.
    • lyrics: “Look around // Tell me what do you see // A shadow sits in the corner // It don’t move, just let it be, just leave it there”
  7. Death of a Salesman
    • notes: Death of a Salesman’s beat comes in so triumphant and the chorus sounds so appealing until you realize how dark the catchy words actually are: “Murder, murder, the crows are calling”.  But the song is triumphant and also serves as a call to action… also, shouts outs to Edgar Allen Poe.
    • lyrics: “See I have this Uncle Sam // And I hate his ass so much // With a finger in my face // As if I should give a fuck”
  8. 1:30, Curbside
    • notes: Curbside comes in and slows the pace of the album way down after Ghost and Death of a Salesman had ratcheted it up.  Kweku’s vocals and beat evoke a Western gunslinger standoff and he also gives off Cudi vibes with all his melodic humming.
    • lyrics: “Barrel boy, point your nine, you so desperado”
  9. The Outsiders
    • notes: One of the more classically beautiful songs on this album that also serves as a love letter to the Outsiders (hence, the song title) with references throughout the song: “I’ll be Darry to your Ponyboy”, “And stay gold for me, yeah”, etc. 
    • lyrics: “Can we fall in love while ‘West Savannah’ banging out through the night, babe?”
  10. The Last
    • notes: Probably my second favorite song on the album next to Stupid Rose.  Kweku’s flow is “singsongy” but he’s spitting hot fire throughout.  His first verse alone is amazing and the beat behind it all is impeccable.
    • lyrics: “By design, I ain’t trippin’, I know shit come and go // My decline is my difference, I know she had to go // I define my intentions, I know, I know, I know // I deny my disinterest, this love not for the low?”
  1. The Rain Wouldn’t Save
    • notes: The capper to a fantastic album sees Kweku digging deep into his past and looking towards his future.  More powerful lines and introspective thoughts come out in this song giving the whole album Kweku’s personal touch.
    • lyrics: “And I put this on all of my vices // My high school diploma, my dearly departed // My double entendre, I wrote this // The mornin you went back to college // I know we both growing, that’s part of the problem…”

Bonus:

2 thoughts on “retroactive: Nat Love

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