Kweku Collins is one of my favorite things about 2016 which, let’s face it, has been pretty fucking depressing otherwise.
The 19-year-old Evanston, Illinois native, who signed to Closed Sessions when he was still in high school, dropped his debut EP, Say It Here While It’s Safe, in 2015. But it was his Nat Love album—named after the former slave-turned-folk hero—that caught my ear back in April, and I’ve been hooked since.
The 11-track project showcases Kweku’s thoughtful disposition, youthful charm, and impressive vocal range, which encompasses flexible spoken word flows (“everever”) and heartbroken crooning (“Ghost”). The beats, largely self-produced with additional credits from labelmates oddCouple and Boathouse, are equally multifarious. It’s the only album I’ve heard that’s had the audacity to flip D’Angelo’s “One Mo’ Gin” and not ruin it (see: "Stupid Rose").
Today (November 22), Collins dropped a new song and video called “jump.i,” his first new release since Nat Love, and it picks up right where he left off.
The video, directed by Cody LaPlant, kicks off with “The Rain That Wouldn’t Save,” the closing track on Nat Love. A pensive-looking Kweku jumps in the back of a pick-up truck and reflects on his childhood, relationships and, well, life. “Cause I believe in the power of my n*ggas, but ultimately its gon’ be up to me to get with it,” he raps with a slight shrug that says, I’m not afraid of the challenge.
Before you get too deep in life-pondering questions, though, the video quickly snaps to last night’s house party, which is soundtracked by “jump.i.” The bouncy song sets the buoyant mood for a night that feels as blurry as Kweku’s memory the next morning. It’s kinda like the suburban version of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness” video: our affable protagonist soaking up the euphoria at a psychedelic party because moments like these don’t last. “This might go alone / This might go astray,” he says on the hazy hook.
The next morning, Kweku sits on the porch smoking a cigarette, never slow to switch his brain from party mode to poet: “Love without balance I’m on my knees at 6am / With a smile on my face and a minute ’til I’m out of time.” While Kid Cudi was—and still is—on a pursuit of happiness, it sounds like Kweku Collins has already found his.
I dare you to watch this video and not smile.
By Andy James. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo Credit: YouTube