The FADER’s “Songs You Need” are the tracks we can’t stop playing. Check back every day for new music and follow along on our Spotify playlist.
Over the last few years, AKAI SOLO has carved out a niche for his densely-packed raps that combine anime and video game references with observations about life and human behavior. The constantly shifting perspective and web of references embedded in the Brooklyn artist’s off-the-cuff raps can make it hard to catch everything on the first go-around, but he doesn’t forget to slip in the occasional joke to keep things light. He’ll follow up his own bars with the kinds of immersion-breaking reactions like on “360 Dragonfly” where he raps “Rest is priority, say less / I should prioritize better… bet.” He almost sounds surprised at his own wisdom.
On “Body Feeling,” the title track of his new EP, AKAI turns frustrations into fuel. “Put my all into this shit, where’s my fucking payment?” he determinedly raps. “Put my all into this world, yet it still fails me.” AKAI sounds ready to punch a hole through a training bag—he rarely sounds this exasperated. TwentyFifthNight’s off-kilter chops and AKAI’s steady flow wrestle for control on “Body Feeling. It makes the song feel like flying through turbulence or trying to sit still in a wave pool. The murky beats he chooses can sometimes overpower his voice, but here, he stands tall, his voice cleanly cutting through it all. You won't ever catch AKAI SOLO breaking a sweat.