WHEN NAMANI'S SOMMER PACK EP hit our inbox, we had been feeling pretty low. The previous week saw our Gmail flooded with an unhealthy amount of talentless Young Adz wannabes rapping about cooking up crack and sexing their mate’s girlfriends - the artists probably averaged an age of 16.
As I’m writing this, recoiled in my bedroom attempting to survive the heat, Britain is expecting highs of 36 degrees. If I was across the atlantic, storing away rum and cokes on a bright white beach such temperatures would seem viable. Accept, I’m not. Instead of looking outside to a tropical blue ocean, I can see my neighbour sweating his moobs off, attempting to wash his Ford Fiesta in the back blistering sun.
Whether you are a British heat embracer or loather, Namani’s debut EP radiantly soundscapes a millennial outlook on our countries summer. Hailing from Lewisham, the rapper’s innate ability to compare popular culture to everyday life, makes the 7 tracks an infectious affair. Each bar feels intricately selected, referencing everything from Fanta to Ted Talks… and Zach and Cody of course.
As well as the lyricism, Namani’s beat selection illuminates his vision of creating “a summery vibe for everyones listening”. Nectar’s twinkly synths, g-funk melodies and punchy cowbells blend in such a contagious manor that, no matter the temperature, you’ll find your limbs bopping along to the beat.
Although the EP evokes good vibes, ‘Go Prosper! (Jig Speaks), helps to acknowledge the uncertain year everyone has experienced. Ayo Anibaba, who the South East Londoner sites as a personal inspiration, helps us take a step back and remember how important cultural revelations like Black Lives Matter have been at the turn of the decade. However, he also reminds us of the systematic racism that has always been in our country. Anibaba rightfully describes the horrific scenes of Grenfell as “a state sponsored murder for which the government is yet to be held accountable for”. The interlude’s 43 seconds are a very powerful and necessary break in-between the 7 songs.
Lead single, Sommer Rays, coincides with visuals from LAUZZA - one of the most innovative Director’s we’ve come across of recent times. Watch the video below, and read our full interview with Namani too.
Yo Namani, How’s it going? Introduce yourself and get the people knowing about you!
Yooo, well, my name’s Namani, I’m 18 and loool, like there’s really not much to know about me hahah, other than the fact that I make music n that but I like to keep that from my personal life. It’s like some split personality shit makes noooo sense 🤣🤣🤣.
What made you want to start rapping? We heard it was never the plan but you dropped some heat in a freestyle with your mates?
Ohh that’s a funny story. So like I’d been writing songs since I could remember (all trash btw even tho at the time I thought I was Mozart or sum shit) but like years ago I was just chilling with mates and someone started playing a beat on the table. Everyone started dropping a couple bars and like idk why I did cuz I’m shit at free-styling but it just happened to bang and everyone got lit running about and screaming yktv. So that kinda gave me confidence to explore music I guess, but in terms of why I actually started rapping I have no real concrete reason, like I guess it was a harmless idea me and a couple mates had at the time so here we are now. I guess after that first song I gained a bit of self satisfaction, and that just becomes a journey in itself cuz you wanna constantly better yourself, that’s how I see it.
At 18, all we were thinking about was playing fifa and bunning zoots with our mates, what sparked such a creative energy between you and yours?
Looool firstly I’m with you on that 🤣. But like in terms of sparking my creative energy I find that very flattering. Idk you know like I feel I’m just normal cuz like I’ve become so used to listening to beats and writing songs it’s just usual to me you know. I went to a boarding school in Kent and like in terms of creativity that did not help much at all cuz like majority of the time I felt like an outcast although I did have a group of ggs that were on the same shit as I. But I like feel meeting other people outside of that, who were similar to me, for example, the whole esc group and all of the other insane creatives I’ve ever met, kinda inspired me to keep doing what I was doing ygm?
Tell us about your debut EP - The Sommer Pack. Why have you decided to release it in such a turbulent time for the world?
Boyyyyy. So like basically I had the concept for this project back in late 2019. I’d released a few songs and i felt all the positivity from that and thought to myself what the best way to channel it would be. I decided on like a lil project with a summery theme because like summer’s lit innit...but then 2020 happened...then covid...then the murder of George floyd and just a whole lotta fuckeries really. But then I just thought if 2020’s gonna mess everyone’s life up I might as well try to be positive regardless ygm. So like got into contact with mango juice music and they helped make it happen. I just tried to be experimental and follow a set theme but still stay true to myself cuz like I’m still finding my sound ygm so yeah. But yeah 2020 is very very very long and I just pray for the betterment of the world you know cuz shits crazy.
Was there anything that particularly influenced the project: artists, albums, films, your favourite biscuit etc? Anything goes!
Favourite biscuit una 🤣🤣🤣. Tbf I feel everything about summer influenced the project in some way. Like from the beat selection to like the names of the tracks etc, I tried to be in the vibe of like summer as a season and what it meant to me if you know what I mean? But like I also wanted to be real with my experiences and tell mini stories of what I’ve been through and what goes on in my head as well so like it’s me attempting to do both at the same time. That’s why I feel it’s experimental because in one track I’m chill and in another I’m the exact opposite loool. But man I’m being deadass rn every single artist in the underground scene inspired this project. I feel like for people to give no focus and put what they’ve created out there is just mad and a lotta people don’t get the recognition they deserve, which is mad to me, but I guess that’s the beauty of the underground scene.
What do you bring to the game that will separate you from the noise?
Tbh this is a hard question for me. I wanna say maybe my approach and take on music is different from others but then everyone is different in their own way so that’s not really a point. I feel like with my music I don’t wanna be known as just a rapper or singer cuz at the end of the day to me it’s art because it’s being creative with your mind and I can’t say what my mind will think in the future ygm? So like in terms of being separated from the noise I feel like that would happen organically, if indeed it is meant to happen.
It’s evident you are a big Mario fan. If you were challenging us to a round of Mario Kart, who are you picking and why them?
Mario kart is sooo sickkk. Like I’m not even a big gamer typa guy but like Mario has a special place because it’s what I grew up on and it’s just so nostalgic. But damnn in a game of Mario kart I use anyone because I love all the characters but my fave characters to use are prolly toad, shy guy and bowser. I didn’t say Mario cuz that would be very basic lol. Tbh I’d chose them man because I like the sounds they make it’s soo funny to me, plus I feel like toad is so underrated loool.
What can we expect from Namani for the rest of 2020? What is next for yourself?
Tbh I couldn’t even tell you. With the way this year has been going and how everything has been unexpected I don’t even know what’s in store for me in terms of music. As a person it’s a big step up as I’m moving into uni soon hopefully and beginning that phase of a different life so that’s exciting. But in terms of what to expect just keep your eyes peeled. I’m still trying to develop as a person and as a “creative” so for whoever’s interested stay locked in and you’ll find out loooool.