REVIEW album Israel Nke Thoughts (EP)

Genre-Blending Nigerian Soul-Hop Artist, Israel Nkeki, Gains Redemption Through Music

Thoughts (EP)

Israel Nke

Spanning a rich-cultural heritage, from his hometown of Benin City, Nigeria, to the streets of London, and now based in Croydon, Israel Nke has amalgamated enough stories to write a hundred films; but music much better conveys them.

Beginning his musical endeavours as a child, often finding himself as the lead in his gospel choir at a young age, Israel has found redemption once again in music.

Growing up in a house of conflict and arguments, Israel emigrated to London at the age of 12, leaving behind his polyamorous father, his mother and his home, arriving to a bitter-sweet life in Newcross to live with a family friend.

Israel's music regularly uses narrative-style lyricism, addressing his own experiences, many of which still affect children and teens growing up in multiple cities worldwide.

At the age of 15 and feeling so far-removed from home, he had come to feel lost and adrift. This in turn resulted in Israel feeling angry, irresponsible and heartless, as his life descended to a life led on the streets, and ultimately resulted in a prison sentence. Prison proved to be Israel’s turning point – teaching him to be disciplined and to have confidence in himself, expressing how he really felt.

'Thoughts' is Israel's debut EP, which comprises soulfully ambient track 'Moonlight' and the piano accompanied 'Loved You', conducted by his narrating, almost poetic, rapped lyricism.

'Moonlight' begins with a shimmering resonance, before Israel begins "many mother cries, when a young brother dies", with a direct reference to the trouble and gang-cultures many youngsters fall into. The track gently layers bassy sound with backing vocals, rising to a crescendo, before returning to focus on Israel's solo vocals rapping hard-hitting lyrics.

Israel was inspired to write the track after losing a friend and being hit with the idea of writing from the point of view of two mothers: one who has lost their son and another whose son is responsible for the other's death, musing how a split-second decision can have an everlasting effect so many people's lives.

Israel’s second single, ‘Loved You’, describes how he finally met a woman he could trust a woman who regularly visited him. It conjures romantic poeticism with ambient keys, to create a gloriously blissed out vibe, while the chorus and drum-machines keep the track on the border of modern hip-hop and neo-soul.

Both tracks combine diverse influences, including the works of Fela Kuti and 6lack, to create hip-hop soundscapes, expertly mastered at London's Abbey Road to capture the depth and texture. Israel's has a real flair for emotive imagery in his soulful, yet atmospheric chill-hop, telling personal stories with raw passion, to try to shed some light on the darkness that exists in the world.