With only 25 years of age, Keneth Cole (AKA K. Sankofa), has had a long-standing sense of importance when it comes to equality and community building. This lyrical prophet, hailing from the mid-west, is an enduring social activist. Music has been one of the main avenues for his artistic release when he is taking a break from supporting his community. This year, with a keen method and an impressionistic approach to song structures that have opposing sections fluently translating into one another, Sankofa releases "I AM /THE DARK FRUIT," his latest in hip-hop triumph.
Picture it, posting up in your best friends room in the late '90s feeding the boombox mixtapes of your favorite hip-hop heroes. You throw the next tape in, and suddenly you've been sucked into the future that is K. Sankofa's track, "I AM / THE DARK FRUIT," imbued with a flow reminiscent of the late Yasiin Bey with an upright bass line opening that proves to snatch your attention and run laps with it. This is what this number from our Ghanaian proverb inspired persona is evocative of. Here, K. Sankofa is overwhelmingly enlightening. His lyrics declare to empower, "I am shining bright, just like a diamond, and still a product of pride, like the lion," he proclaims, masterfully establishing the basis for his underlining theme. In terms of production, there is no question this track is evocative of earlier times, with long decaying reverbs, saturated horn samples, and an overall vintage feeling vibe. It all works synergetically with his timber and approach to lyrical fencing—by absolutely slaying it. If you haven't already, go ahead and listen.
You can find "I AM/THE DARK FRUIT" here.
Welcome to BussMusic K. Sankofa! We're really excited to have you here with us sharing your new single, "I AM/THE DARK FRUIT." This song has some reminiscent vibes to the earlier ventures of hip-hop music. Did you find yourself tapping into a specific inspiration for this song?
So this song actually started off as two poems that a wrote some time ago. They were separate, The Dark Fruit and then. When I wrote The Dark Fruit I was in high school and I had read some poetry by Langston Hughes that inspired me. For one of my classes, we were reading poetry and we happened to stumble Dream Deferred. And for anyone who has ever read it you would immediately recognize the iconic phrase "raisin in the sun". With this, he was using a metaphor to describe what happens when you don't follow your dreams. I knew I had heard the phrase raisin in the sun now not only as a line in a great poem but as the title of a great play as well as hearing as a line in many songs. So, I was inspired to write my own poem stemming from Hughes metaphor.
The poem "I AM" is a completely different story. During my freshman year of college, my scholarship program required us to keep a journal for our check-ins with our scholarship cohort and mentor. We were assigned to do reflection pieces to fulfill what was required of us for participation on behalf of the scholarship and we were told we could be creative. "I AM" was the first piece I wrote in my journal and it was originally read as a poem that started off with "I am 18 years old and I am a man". For me, it was an expression of me starting a new journey in college.
The wildest thing is that I really was not thinking about music when I wrote what would end up as the lyrics for the song that is my latest music video release.
When it comes to influences, do you believe your time in Watts was a significant source of growth for you in terms of your musical style? Or do you attribute much of that development to your time in Madison?
I would say growing up on the Watts and LA in general certainly inspired my music because it shaped me as a rapper and storyteller. There's a lot to glean from studying the folks who made it out of the city and those who inspired the sound of the city with rap music. I think Madison is in a place where it's finding its sound when it comes to rap.
What do you hope to accomplish by passing on the messages and themes found in your most recent work?
I always hope to inspire. I hope someone can listen to it and feel like they been fed in their soul. I also hope it will spark people to take action for the just causes they care about.
Thank you for being here with us! We're really excited to hear about your upcoming year. Do you have any new releases planned, and can we hope to see any collaborations for you in the future?
I will be releasing a few more music videos this year the next one is coming next month and it is previewed at the end of this video... I also have some music in the chamber so I'll have to see about a strategic release of more music sometime this year. And when things settle down a little bit from this pandemic I'll be excited to announce some big shows coming up.
Photo by: Miles Mullen