GAIKA is a Brixton-based artist who, according to an email from his manager, is most influenced by "Basquiat, Peter Tosh, Tricky, The Weeknd, Skepta, and Prince." (If that doesn't sound like an otherworldly dinner party I don't know what does.) To put it in simpler terms, he's a mask-wearing artist who flits between croaky MCing and distortion-heavy singing over bass-driven productions, drawing on influences from hip-hop, dancehall, and soul. You might have heard his rasping, deep vocal on the stand-out official remix of Kelela's "All The Way Down," but you've probably never seen his face until now. In the above video for his soulful solo single "BOHDY KNOWS AT 90," featuring London crooner Bipolar Sunshine, he's as stripped bare as his lyricism, scowling in extreme close-ups.
"This is a prayer for fallen angels," GAIKA explained to The FADER over email. "Watch Point Break (the original) and you'll get it. Sometimes it's like society and culture are just functions of hedonism, guilt, and the resulting tension. British people love to profusely apologise and then beat nine bells out of each other in an instant. I wanted to write a song that tackled that in a rap way. I wanted to make a highbrow hood anthem; I find things that are at polar opposites often complement each other. To me this song is the sound of wilding out when I was living in Amsterdam, its museums next to brothels."
Bipolar Sunshine added: "This song sums up what we all go through on a daily basis, fighting our so called sins in a society that is built on total fuckery. This is an anthem for those who don't give a fuck about what society says, they make their own rules and live and die by them."
Watch the video above, and get GAIKA's 2015 MACHINE mixtape here.