Kwame reached new heights during his sold-out exhibition at Oxford Art Factory
Witness to Sydney-based rapper and producer KWAME to Oxford Art Factory Last Saturday it was like watching a young artist explode in real time. Right in front of your eyes, song after song, Kwame had the entirety of a sold-out LOURDAUD uprising. The energy was built steadily all night long towards, with the support of triple j unearthed Dear Arno Faraji and DJ in the making Latifa T-shirt -the two delivered fun and interactive sets with lots of submarines.
Faraji in support service, the room filled up two hours before Kwame‘s set, and with its approachable joke vibe and hopping production, it warmed the audience for things to come. At one point, the crowd was so receptive that Faraji called to Kwame behind the scenes and teased, “Kwame Hope you can hear that… We’re stealing your fans here!
FarajiThe repartee of with his DJ has been a constant highlight throughout his niche. Between the two jokes and backspining, the supporting act was starting to look a lot like a headliner, especially when it came time for a closer track, “Bless (What It’s Like). ‘
Latifa T-shirt dived right into the firecrackers to keep people going between sets. Tee was charming when she took the mic multiple times to accomplish hype tasks, and her varied selections, ranging from recent chart highs to 2000s hip-hop, have shown her potential as a promising hip-hop DJ. Wrap things up with a mind-boggling overhaul of Soulja Boy‘s’ Crank Dat’, Tee had the audience tightly wrapped up and waiting for the promised headliner.
From the first bars of “NO TIME” it was clear that Kwame has spent the past few years building the most dedicated and passionate fan base. Even what can be described as a more low-key number in his collection got its place from the first shot of the submarine, and that level of engagement steadily increased as the set progressed.
KwameThe idiosyncratic flows of “WOW” as on the mind-blowing track were perfectly in focus, and the intricate beats that risk tripping on themselves were delivered with a confidence that went beyond the original recordings. Different vocal textures have been played, tastefully augmenting voice segments with autotune. Kwames relationship with her DJ was another example of great back-and-forth, and two songs delivered with Sydney’s own Phil Fresh proven the caliber of Kwamecollaborations of. The chemistry between them on stage and with the crowd was infectious, keeping morale up even as they made their way to slower numbers halfway through.
Throughout his set, Kwame spent a lot of time yelling at his friends, producers and other collaborators who were there, constantly reminding fans of others’ work around his music. At one point, he explained, “It’s about building a legacy. Find your family, people who feed on the same energy as you. Without my family, I wouldn’t be here. It was galvanizing to hear a young artist stay grounded in community and connections, especially in this time of authoritarian regulation and disrespect for artistic communities.
Closing the set with the recent single ‘CLOUDS.’ Kwame went stratospheric, whipping the whole room into a frenzy for one final thrash. With concerts like this one thinks about the resilience of young people and their culture in Sydney, and how even in the face of increasing prohibitive measures, artists like Kwame continue to aspire and reach great heights. Having seen such raw power from him, and with such a dedicated community around him to raise him up, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Kwame on international bills very soon – grab it while you can.
photo by Zain Ayub
Words by HUTCH MICHAEL STRATFORD
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