PUT THIS IN YOUR DEN if you like your hip hop on the eclectic side. Think dope lyricism with jazzy beats from space. For fans of Antipop Consortium, Death Grips, Run The Jewels
Available on individually hand numbered, limited edition of 500, pressed on gold wax
‘Firmamentum’ is the debut album from Gawd Status aka King Kashmere and Joker Starr. Fronted by lead singles “Heavy Metal” and “The Alchemist ft. Fae Simon”, the LP showcases Gawd Status’ versatility and eclecticism as an unconventional producer/MC duo, delivering a killer and off-kilter record that lies in between the worlds of hip-hop, psychedelia and soul.
Confounding categories, Gawd Status originated from the UK hip-hop scene, with the duo initially meeting at a King Kashmere’s Raiders Of The Lost Archives launch party back in 2008, joining forces a couple of years after. Slough resident Kebbie Conteh aka Joker Starr solo career ranges from the AA single “Raw Spittage / The Anthem” (2001) to his most recent LP ‘G.A.W.D’ (2019) which demonstrates Joker’s flair for originality as an MC. While King Kashmere, as well as being a talented producer, is known for being a legendary UK MC in his own right, most notably for lending his vocal talents to producer Dr Zygote (aka The Maghreban). Together they form Strange U, releasing on the prolific Eglo Records and esteemed UK label High Focus (who have released music from Ocean Wisdom and Rag’n’Bone Man), plus picking up praise in The Ransom Note, The Quietus, The Wire and on NTS. Individually the duo have supported the likes of AZ, M.O.P, Kool Keith, Necro and Phife Dawg.
Featuring on the record, fellow UK MCs Micall Parksun and Big Cakes (who has collaborated with the Godfather of grime Wiley) team up on politically-charged, Thabo Mbeki-inspired “I Am An African”. While Anyway Tha God, one half of the Jones Brothers with Joker Starr, flows hard over “Amplified Science”. “Messiah Hybrids” showcases the duo delivering what they do best, a conscious straight-up hip-hop banger.
“Heavy Metal” is an experimental hip-hop meets psychedelic trip-hop listen that is boisterous, chaotic and marked by a profound sense of urgency. Exploring disparate but interwoven themes of Roman Catholic priests, Afrika Bambaataa, Braintax, the origins of humanity, Babylon and devilish behaviour – Joker Starr’s intention is to uplift and discomfit the listener; “heavy metal for the devil” he ominousness preaches in sinister and satanic voice. King Kashmere perfectly matrimonies the seriousness of Joker Starr’s flows with the textual palette of his production: “As the project was taking shape I knew it had to have a tribal sound to it almost like the ancestors were being invoked". "Heavy Metal" closes with a psychedelic outro, that pays a closer tribute to the experimental pop of early Animal Collective than their UK hip-hop counterparts. The single is paired with a Hitchcock-inspired black and white music video, which follows a possessed girl around a London estate before going deep into the woods to bury her secret. "The Alchemist ft. Fae Simon" pours hypnotic soul and genuine jazz vibes, reminiscent of the hey-day of trip-hop kings Massive Attack. Featuring as a guest vocalist, Fae Simon adds her darkly sensual melodies to track. Introduced initially to King Kashmere through fellow UK rapper Jehst (who Fae Simon collaborated with on "Timeless"), Fae's smooth, effortless and instantly recognisable voice allures vocal valour. While DJ Jazz T guests showing off him turntablism skills, scratching sparsely with choice vocal clips below hip-hop rhythms.
‘Firmamentum’ covers topics of madness, slavery, the rise of A.I., false Gods, the transmutation of matter, Joker Starr elaborates, “I will always talk about different modes of creation, God, Spiritual beliefs and theories. Firmamentum touches on a bunch of theories ranging from flat earth to aliens”. King Kashmere adds, “production-wise, the sort of psychedelic vibe is something it just grew into… it’s pretty interesting how art can grow and shape context over time”.