Release Date: Jul 27, 2018
Record label: Warp
To date, his career has seen him eschew rigid record label infrastructures to self-release and produce a slew of critically acclaimed mixtapes. An earlier track, "Murkage", was even banned from Radio 1 for its purported violence. It's a sad reflection on them - and of mass media - that they failed to recognise it was a rallying cry to incite community support.
In a time where Caribbean styles are so frequently used in pop music to create a breezy summer vibe, Gaika's debut album is a novelty. Basic Volume takes dancehall, ragga and trap influences and gives them a cold, icy sheen with help from Dre Skull, Jam City and SOPHIE, the sound similar to some of The Bug's production. Gaika's vocals are slathered in auto-tune and patois, a bleak tone to his voice as he delivers lyrics about street life and race.
Displacement. It's an uneasy word that carries a lot of meanings: scientific, geographic, political, personal. And while the far-right rises, while Brexit judders out amidst our strange crisis of post-colonial British identity, while places like Yarl's Wood exist and the hangovers from the Windrush scandal and Grenfell inconveniently linger, it's so easy to look around at the changing furniture and wonder: is this still my home? Was it ever? That insidious moving of our societal and political staples is only part of displacement, of course: for those who are marginalized or minorities; for immigrants or those who are somehow "othered", things have always felt displaced.