Strange Dreams is the debut release of Melbourne rapper and producer Kwasi. Recorded at Stronghorn Studios, the EP is slated as the first release under engineer and label owner JD’s Midnight Green.
Entirely produced by Kwasi, the EP is a soundscape meshing electronic club friendly flavours in a hip-hop recipe with smooth, rich lyrics, featuring guest spots from Gzutek, Young Lean And Bee.
Rappers who produce are a traditional oddity in hip-hop and Melbourne’s Kwasi is one of those rarities who maintains balance between beatmaking and flow blasting. Priding himself as an artist who bends the rules, Kwasi creates a sonic soundscape where he fuses electronic atmospheres with boom-bap textures, blended with a deep smooth cadence and charismatic delivery. Suffering from hallucinations in his sleep since childhood, Kwasi harvests his vivid subconscious to provide inspiration for his production and lyrics, providing the scenery for Strange Dreams, his first musical excursion into the sandman’s territory.
Neither straight hip-hop nor token experimentalism, Strange Dreams is a sublime fantasy disguised in a nightmarish maelstrom of various sounds and musical styles. Starting in his head as merely dreams, Kwasi’s songs detail a sinister but playful psyche. The journey begins with the lunar explosive induction of Open Up Your Thoughts, where Kwasi introduces himself by requesting the listener let him jump in their minds and play with their cerebral senses. This is followed by the animalistic chant that is Lion March a party-fuelled anthem which hypes up the listener before bringing them back down to contemplate the sonically conscious musings of No Hope as Kwasi considers death’s inevitability.
Playfully altering the mood even further, the soulful yet cynical On My Way, sees Kwasi narrating the daily struggle of work and hustling to fuel one’s dreams. The charismatic and thoughtful lyrics paired with unique and textured music cement his debut as a break from the norm, and even when he changes the topic of discussion, the EP maintains a conceptual aura whilst allowing for avenues into different tracks to please a variety of listeners. The dup-step esque Outta Control, is perfect for the Tron soundtrack and This Is How We Do is a banger exported direct from a computer mainframe. Play these energetic tunes beside the seductive ode of Running and the chilled groove of Summertime Dreaming, and you will find that, like a dream, Kwasi’s music flows in and out of different streams of thought, intoxicating the senses whilst bewildering them.
Influenced by a childhood of night terrors, Kwasi considers his music an excursion into the unknown, a first-hand tour of the land he populates when the day retires and his eyelids close. Strange Dreams is a thematic compilation where the lyricist and beatmaker uses words and music to narrate through a confused but beautiful dreamland. Strange dreams are made of these, what bumps in the night is the bass and the monster under the bed is a rapper with his MPC.