23 year-old Melbourne, Australia-based emcee Remi along with producer and collaborator Sensible J quickly rose to national and international prominence with the release of their critically and commercially successful effort Raw X Infinity as the effort was named Triple J‘s Album of the Week, and Independent Hip Hop Album of the Year by the Australian Independent Record Association while receiving praise from OkayAfrica, JUICE, laut.de, NPR‘s All Things Considered, and others. And adding to a growing list of accolades and growing profile, the Melbourne, Australia-based artist has had an increasingly busy touring schedule, making several national tours as well as tours across the UK and European Union with Danny Brown, Vic Mensa, De La Soul, Joey Bada$$ and Damon Albarn — and he was named Australian Breakthrough Artist of the Year in 2014.
The Australian duo’s full-length debut Divas and Demons was released earlier this year and if you had been frequenting this site a few months ago, you may recall that I wrote about the album’s The Roots and Erykah Badu‘s “You Got Me,” channeling first single “For Good,” a collaboration featuring Sydney, Australia-based poet, visual artist and singer/songwriter Sampa The Great. The album’s second single “Substance Therapy” was deeply inspired by Remi’s own experiences with depression and alcohol and drug abuse, and as a result, the song focus on the fractured and messy psyche of a narrator, who excessively drinks, drugs and womanizes to escape the miserable circumstances of his life. However, throughout the song, the narrator recognizes that only makes his life worse — he’s constantly fucked up, broke, alone, frustrated and finds himself becoming increasingly depressed. And with both of those singles, Remi revealed himself to be an incredibly adept and conscious lyricist and storyteller — and it should serve as a reminder that real emcees, who can actually say something and be relatable still exist.
“Lose Sleep,” Demons and Divas latest single is a collaboration with London-based singer/songwriter Jordan Rakei, and the single draws from Remi’s own experiences as a mixed race Australian man and artist. As he explains in press notes “Since our last record, a lot of young mixed race Aussie kids have come to me talking about how much they can relate to the racial struggle in our music. I don’t think that’s a good thing, but I’m proud that these kids feel a little less alone, because of some songs we didn’t think anyone would hear. It also became inspiration for me to continue opening up about my experience. Often you can feel like one crazy beige kid in a sea of ignorance shouting about equality. These kids helped change that for me.” Sonically, the single features Remi rhyming with an unvarnished honesty about not fitting in anywhere and of being reminded that your life doesn’t matter as much as others can drive some to hate themselves and feel as though they’re going crazy — while recognizing that as an adult, he has a responsibility to show the world that people like him do matter, and contribute so much to a larger story. Jordan Rakei contributes a silky and soulful hook about history’s ugly weight and how we need to stop our destructive ways to make it a better world. Both artists do their thing over an equally soulful and sinuous production featuring twinkling keys, stuttering percussion and funky guitar and bass. And much like the preceding two singles, the single will further cement the young artist’s reputation for relatable yet profoundly conscientious and thoughtful hip-hop.
The recently released video consists of sequences filmed in London and Melbourne features the song’s two artists transversing the night — whether by cab or walking with a brooding loneliness while singing the song. And while possessing a relatively simple concept, the video manages to convey the uncertain and fucked up times many of us find ourselves in now.
Filmed across two cities on opposite sides of the Earth, Melbourne and London, the clip features both Remi and Jordan walking darkly lit streets singing the highly personal lyrics with a reflective sensibility. The soul-infused, percussion based track speaks an important message. Read Remi & Sensible J’s words on “Lose Sleep” below:
Since our last record, a lot of young mixed race Aussie kids have come to me talking about how much they can relate to the racial struggle in our music. I don’t think that’s a good thing, but I’m proud that these kids feel a little less alone, because of some songs we didn’t think anyone would hear. It also became inspiration for me to continue opening up about my experience. Often you can feel like one crazy beige kid in a sea of ignorance shouting about equality. These kids helped change that for me. The most beautiful thing about a lot of musicians I know is how much the social climate effects them. Jordan Rakei is one of those musicians. Even though we were literally continents apart when he worked on this joint, with very little background on the song, Jordan was able too match the tone and message immediately. Partially because his voice sounds like liquid gold, but mostly because I know he gets it. It’s very apparent across his discography (if you haven’t heard it, get it) that he cares for our planet and the people in it. Thanks for being one of the good guys my brother. – Remi
I know Rem already mentioned Jordan Rakei, but damn, I’m mentioning him again! When I downloaded the vocals he sent, popped em in the track (already lined-up – thank you bro), then hit play……………. Absolutely killed it, perfect EVERYTHING. – Sensible J