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London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Alternative Hip Hop


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Akala performs on BBC2's Newsnight Review with Kirsty Wark to promote the launch of his youth music organisation Hip Hop Shakespeare. - BBC 2


DoubleThink is the incredible new album from Britain's acclaimed hip hop artist, Akala. Released nationwide on 3rd May 2010, DoubleThink is a rare event in its genre - an intelligently conceived concept album with the tunes to devour radio.

With lead single XXL, already being played by the eclectic pair of Radio 1's Zane Lowe and BBC 1Xtra's Mista Jam, DoubleThink looks like being the breakthrough album from an artist who refuses to compromise with the mainstream, while bringing classical, rock and rave firmly into his musical vocabulary.

Inspired by dystopian fiction novels: George Orwell's 1984, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and Yevgeny Zamyatin's We, the album is still very much hip hop, taking influence from stellar MCs from Wu Tang Clan and Public Enemy as well as the likes of Depeche Mode and Radiohead.

Akala teaches The Bard through rapping, via his Hip Hop Shakespeare company, has been chosen by London's 2012 Olympics to curate some of its key cultural events and still manages to channel his North London roots through blistering beats and lyrics.

Race, politics, self-deception and social conditioning are among the recurring themes on DoubleThink that presents its concerns as barbed comedic satire.

Akala finds himself confronting the issue that defined his MOBO Award-winning debut, It's Not a Rumour, and the acclaimed follow-up, Freedom Lasso: lamenting the decline of hip hop as a social and political force, angrily restating the genre's credentials as the best, most powerful means of delivering what KRS-ONE called Edutainment. The message and narrative he delivers is crucial for Akala, but he knows that it has to be delivered wittily and attractively, too: edutainment is mostly entertainment, after all.

DoubleThink documents harrowing moments of city life: in Yours and My Children, a track reflecting three months Akala spent in Brazil he talks about favela children being killed by police. But Akala's unquenchable appetite for intricate wordplay and his teacher's instinctive awareness that heavy topics need to be got across lightly mean that, despite the often serious points, the record is an affirmative and often explosively joyful experience.

There's XXL, which relentlessly chips away at the clichés but has some fun with them at the same time; Peace, a collaboration with the classical pianist Paul Gladstone Reid, MBE, which provides musical and atmospheric contrast to the juddering electro-rooted rap that sits either side of it; and, right at the end - the thought Akala wants you to take away from the album - there's Not That Serious, a jaunty slice of popped-up '80s-style buzz, poking fun at Akala's reputation without suggesting you shouldn't care about the issues he wants you to consider. At the risk of descending into cliché, there really is something here for everyone.

Double Think
1. Intro
2. Welcome to Dystopia
3. Faceless People
4. Marathon Man
5. Physcosis (interlude)
6. Psycho
7. XXL
8. I Don't Need
9. Thick Skin
10. Peace
11. Yours and My Children
12. Find No Enemy
13. Tree Without Root (interlude)
14. What Is Real (IllAudio)
15. Face Down
16. God?
17. It's Not That Serious

www.akalamusic.com - iLike Music


Brave. That’s the first thing I thought upon hearing Akala’s new album DoubleThink. The second was – brilliant.

Now on his third album, Akala really has nothing to prove, but the fact is – he’s proving a lot here. He’s proving that not only is he one of the most articulate, intelligent and talented emcee’s, but that he’s also one of the most experimental and forward thinking. The concept and lyricism on this album is something to behold and the musicology behind it, captivates.

Inspired by three classic novels of dystopian fiction: George Orwell’s “1984?, Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s “We”, DoubleThink is as sonically pleasing as it is mentally stimulating.

It’s rare for a British rapper to delve and experiment so deeply into other genre’s as Akala has on DoubleThink. Heavy influences from Rock and Punk can be heard throughout. You’d be forgiven for assuming that “Psycho” is off a Prodigy album or that “Thick Skin” comes from rock group Korn. Akala commits fully. The experiments don’t end there though – Classical, Dub-Step and 80's Hip Hop groove are also infused within this masterpiece.

But of course, it’s the words that can be found within Akala’s music that makes this album so significant and so important. From agitated, to angry; Hurt, to optimistic – Akala utilises every breathe by spitting insightful and meaningful vocable. On the spoken word track “I Don’t Need“, Akala explains to his girl that the way she is, is just fine – “I don’t need you to wear red lipstick, gloss or face dust, I like your face just fine as it is” / “I don’t need to see your cleavage or your thighs, I’m still getting over your eyes and smile”. On “Welcome To Dystopia” he confronts conformity – astutely dissecting the bondages of society and human nature. Questions about religion and faith are tackled on track 16 entitled “God“, where as “Find No Enemy” addresses the issue of self identity and race. Using words as though they are weapons Akala challenges a diverse array of topics and while many may presume an 18 track album to be too long (admittedly, I like 10 track albums), I found listening to DoubleThink remarkably engaging – he is brutally honest, abundantly clear and extremely passionate.

A brilliant concept, exploratory musical vision and eloquent lyricism makes DoubleThink one of the most engrossing long players of recent times. I truly believe this. Akala need be proud of what he has achieved here. Sidenote: I really hope a lot of young people get to hear and be inspired by this album.

DoubleThink is released May 3rd. The new single “XXL” featuring Bashy is out now via iTunes

Peace, Love & Akala

Speeakz - Pinboard Blog


Akala receives 5 star album review from BBC's popular TV presenter/Radio 1 DJ "Reggie Yates" famous blog.. - A Tribe Called Next (Blog)


From the classical music that hits your ears on the intro, to the sickeningly insightful and observant lyrics and the gentle piano that signs the album off; DoubleThink, the latest offering from UK Hip Hop artist Akala, is not what you’d expect.

This is Akala’s third album and he’s come a long way from where he started on the underground scene back in 2004. He’s always been a highly lyrical rapper, with complex rhymes about widespread issues that would label him as a ‘conscious’ artist. A label that, on some levels, has been both a blessing and a curse for him, as conscious Hip Hop is effectively an oxymoron within mainstream music.

This comes to light somewhat in Akala’s inspirations for Double Think. He quotes George Orwell’s ‘1984’, Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s ‘We’ as stimulus for their dystopian qualities. These are all things that will no doubt require a quick session of Googling for most people, whereas his musical influences for the musical and hip hop element of the album were from Wu Tang Clan, Public Enemy, Depeche Mode and Radiohead. Even his muses are juxtaposed, perhaps intentionally.

His intelligence is put on display for all to see in this highly evolved piece of work. For me, it became more about what he was saying rather than the music, however the musical element of the album is no less captivating than the words. There is an eclectic mix of genres throughout, with Rock and Metal guitar riffs played out on tracks like ‘Faceless People’ and ‘What Is Real’, Dubstep, Punk, Classical and of course some plain old Hip Hop. The beats are ones to bob your head to and the entire album is a very easy listen.

The subject matter on a lot of the tracks is painfully poignant, for example ‘Yours and My Children’ talks about the children being killed all over the world being just the same as children of our own. He also explores many of his own emotions that no doubt listeners can empathise with. ‘Psycho’ displays this perfectly, as he angrily rants that Sometimes I just wanna fight / and I don’t give a s*** what’s right but on the other hand, some days he just wants to love the world. A feeling that many of us can relate to I’m sure.

As a lover of Spoken Word, ‘I Don’t Need’ is a track that stood out to me. The interesting subject of what women think men want and what men really want is explored;

‘I don’t need for you to be an independent woman / and I don’t wanna be an independent man /
If we can get along and laugh, talk, have sex, dream / laugh, talk and still like each other /
Then maybe, just maybe, we can depend on each other.’

‘Find No Enemy’ focuses on race and identity and ‘God’ takes on queries about faith and higher power, backed by stimulating electro sounds.

So many topics are covered and questions are raised on this 18-track LP. At first thought it may seem long but once you start listening, it’s almost not enough time for Akala to explain himself. His lyrical prowess and honesty make this body of work enthralling. The album is an all rounder, and with it I think Akala has proven that ‘conscious’ artists’ works can have just as much musical clout, if not more, than the mainstream players. It’s just a shame that his efforts haven’t been as widely received in the past as perhaps they should have been.

It’s my hope that DoubleThink is a breakthrough for Akala as younger generations could learn a lot from listening to this kind of music – and his fanfare is long overdue.

–Amber Yeshpaul

DoubleThink and the single ‘XXL’ are both out now via Illastate. - Soul Culture (Blog)


The fearless Akala is back with Double Think his highly anticipated third album and what a shot in the head it is. Fierce, provocative, unrelenting and intense – this is Kingslee Daley at his rawest and I love it.

Filled with literary references, Akala addresses issues of race, politics and social conditioning over some ferocious beats. He rhymes passionately about his time spent in the Brazilian favelas, in fact as the music intensifies so does his flow.

He’s already proven himself to be a hip hop juggernaut in the UK music scene however Double Think will make it even harder to classify this talented young orator. Perfect timing Mr Daley, the industry was in dire need of an adrenaline rush. - Lime Magazine


Akala takes part in Radio 1's DJ Nihal to vote for new music. Akala's track "Yours And My Children" scores a tie with fellow Brit M.I.A.'s new single. - BBC RADIO 1 (Nihal's Review Show)


BRIT rapper AKALA wants to form the UK's answer to the WU-TANG CLAN. - The Sun (Tabloid)


Hip Hop artist Akala has pledged 10 per cent of the profits from his new album to The Reading Agency.

After mentoring a teenage writer for the charity, the star with a passion for literature decided it should be the beneficiary for funds from his latest CD — DoubleThink. - Evening Standard (Broadsheet)


The UK's hip-hop fraternity is finally embracing social commentary...Words by Kieran Yates

"I think hip-hop is fundamentally about educating people," says Akala,
another music-making political agitator. "Artists like Gil Scott-Heron were trying to transmit culture and knowledge through their rhyming, and that's what the UK movement is trying to do right now. We need to bring back a political consciousness." His new album Doublethink is released in May and features tracks such as Yours and My Children, a song reflecting time spent travelling in Brazil, where Akala refers to police killing favela children. - The Guardian (Broadsheet)


Amid accusations of sell-out and crossover, the UK's hip-hop artists want to win fans while staying true to their scene. By Matilda Egere-Cooper

The 26-year-old Akala's latest album, DoubleThink, is an intelligent and experimental outing created to prove that UK hip-hop can have many dimensions – as long as commercialism isn't the priority. "We have to be careful not to view all exposure necessarily as good for the culture. A diluted derivative of the culture can be paraded as the culture and then people lose the essence of what it really is and actually think hip-hop is about trying to sell people champagne and jewellery." - The Independent (Broadsheet)


BBC News Entertainment 24 visit Akala's launch party for his new album "Doublethink". - BBC NEWS 24 (E24)


Hip Hop artist Akala guests on primetime news programme "London Tonight" to discuss education statistics and his Autumn live tour ending in a performance at the British Library, London. (Aug 2010) - ITV London


: Akala as a guest on BBC2's hit youth programme "5:19" show promoting his single "XXL" (15 May 2010) - BBC Switch (BBC 2) & BBC Online


As a result of Akala's extensive work with young people, promoting positive youth activity via his "Hip Hop Shakespeare Company", MTV covers Akala's album launch party for new album "Doublethink" as part of their "Got Issues" programme. (May 2010) - MTV UK


Doublethink (album) - 2010
War Vol. 2 (mixtape) - 2008
Freedom Lasso (album) - 2007
Hold Ya Head Up (EP) - 2006
It’s Not A Rumour (album) - 2005
War Vol. 1 (mixtape) - 2004

Tracks with Radio airplay/streaming:
"Roll Wid Us"
"Electro Livin"
"Hold Ya Head Up"
"Yours And My Children"
"Comedy Tragedy History"



AKALA - A Biography

“smart, addictive and right on the mark.” The Independent
“Startlingly effective.” The Guardian
“...lets see Akala’s peers follow his lead.” NME
“a spirited corrective for mainstream hip-hop’s directionless excess.” Mojo
“Possessed of an intense lyrical flow” The Times
“..bold and brassy.” Metro
“...riot on wax.” Mixmag
“...one of the best British albums of the year. No genre category needed” Disorder

DoubleThink. It's a shock to the system - a sonic kick to the groin delivered with force and precision – like musical martial arts. It's not often that an album comes along that shares debts to Radiohead, Aphex Twin and Depeche Mode as strongly as to Public Enemy, the Wu-Tang Clan and The Fugees. This is the third album from Akala: an artist, label-owner and social-entrepreneur who made it his life's work to challenge preconceptions and buck prevailing trends; refusing to be squeezed into any kind of mould. Akala was the first rapper of this new generation of hip hoppers to seriously experiment with multiple genres. DoubleThink proves he has now fused them into his own inimitable cohesive sound – it’s as if the Wu-Tang Clan, The Prodigy and Rage Against The Machine all got together for a musical orgy and out screamed Akala. Breaking down the culture of cliché and stereotypes that smothers the genre is a major part of his mission, giving impetus to this collection of pointed, perceptive hip hop music from a convention-defying emcee.

Over the last few years Kingslee ‘Akala’ Daley, 26, has emerged from London’s hip hop underground and into the mainstream as one of the leaders of a new British artistic renaissance. Bursting into the underground scene in 2004, he made history by being the first unsigned artist to have a video appear on MTV UK’s ‘TRL’. 2006 saw his first album ‘It’s Not A Rumour’ drop with trance-sampling smash single ‘Shakespeare’ being play-listed and championed on BBC’s Radio 1 via the support of influential DJ, Zane Lowe. The album received critical acclaim and earned Akala the ‘Best Hip Hop Artist’ award at the 2006 MOBO awards, beating out Kanye West. Reflecting the disorder and flux of contemporary life, Akala’s second album ‘Freedom Lasso’ was an energetic visionary essay on modern life, drawing influences from the whole spectrum of music – rap, rock, electro, punk and folk. Summer 2010 see’s Akala return, poised to flip-turn the UK music scene once again with his third effort "DoubleThink".

Akala is a mutable, restless hip-hop polymath who rolled through school (straight As at GCSE), the sports scene (he played football for West Ham and Wimbledon) and the restaurant trade (he ran an Ayia Napa jerk joint), all before he turned 20. His step-father was a stage manager at Hackney Empire theatre, where Akala soaked up everything from Sarafina! to Shakespeare. Despite being put in a special-needs class aged 6 (he still doesn't know why) he fed a ferocious intellect with self-taught history and philosophy.

The name Akala is a Buddhist term for "immovable” - along with his fans he is at the centre of a burgeoning movement of a young, intelligent and socially-conscious generation. Akala's music has always reflected his personal struggles - against ignorance, racism and the dumbing-down of the art form that once empowered him with knowledge. “I remember when Wu-Tang Forever came out!" he says, casting his mind back to 1998. "I bought books I’d heard referenced in the lyrics - literally studied that album and learning because of it. Wu-Tang Clan weren't some obscure, underground group – they produced the first hip hop album to go number 1 in the UK. What made hip hop powerful was its education, culture, musicality and intelligence, it was never supposed to be (literally) about money, cash and ‘hoes’."

DoubleThink is partly a concept album inspired by the three classic novels of dystopian fiction: George Orwell's 1984, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and Yevgeny Zamyatin's We. The record takes its overall tone - the edgy paranoia, sizzling menace and spine-tingling tension - from these literary classics and transmutes it into musical form. From Welcome to Dystopia's static-laden distortion to Peace's simple, sparse piano accompaniment (a collaboration with the classical pianist Paul Gladstone Reid, MBE) provides musical and atmospheric contrast to the juddering electro-rooted rap that sits either side of it, via the electro-funk keyboards and metal guitar riffs of Faceless People, the breadth of musical ambition is matched by the rich variety of topics Akala addresses.

Edutainment is a familiar concept to Akala: releasing music on his own Illa State record label, he’s established a highly effective model - from producing music and videos in-house, to creating an impressive (BT Digital Music Award-nominated) online presence, touring and merchandise strategy. He also quenches his thirst for spreading knowledge by launching The Hip-hop Shakespeare