Following on from last week’s insightful look at the impending massive years for Kojey Radical and Skepta, we give you the final installment in our predictions: one of the emerging stars of UK Hip Hop who has a story to tell to say the least; the hallucinatory inspired virtuosity that is Kutmah.
Born in Brighton to a Scottish father and an Egyptian mother, Joseph Mcnulty stood out from a young age as someone who liked to do things differently and really test the boundaries of sound. Having moved to LA when he was just 12 years of age, Mcnulty sharpened his craft as an underground DJ during the early to mid-2000s and became synonymous with the LA beats scene that encapsulated the West Coast, in conjunction with the likes of Gaslamp Killer, Gonjasufi and of course the monumental Flying Lotus.
He became an invaluable member of the LA-based music collective ‘Dublab’ which helped to unearth the famous club night ‘Sketchbook’ (which naturally evolved into ‘Low End Theory’) where experimental, alternative-thinking musicians and DJ’s come to celebrate through mind-enhancing sounds.
In 2010 however, without any warning, armed US Federal Agents forcefully entered Kutmah’s home and incarcerated him for two months at a New Mexico detention center for immigration charges. During his atrocious imprisonment, Kutmah turned to art to help keep him sane and also a platform to voice his unrest.
It saw the creation of ‘Two Soups and a Honeybun,’ a collection of 39 drawings which were conceived using only a short, worn-down pencil and rather ironically, an ID card. The drawings became the subject of an exhibition and touring art show, which debuted at London’s Protein Gallery back in 2011 and went on show through LA to Tokyo before finishing rather fittingly in Alexandria, Egypt.
Since then a steady stream of exploratory albums and EPs have graced our spectrum from his debut release Warm Like The Sunshine (2006) featuring the trippy jazz infused ‘Desert Rain’ (below), to the Black Wave Tapes series released a couple of years back.
Kutmah seems to make it his objective to dazzle the listener with the unknown and unexpected yet with a sense of tranquillity, as if subliminally hitting you with a beat so hard yet subdued, it almost passes by your consciousness. He’s more about infiltrating your emotions and sense of reality rather than make that lung busting dancefloor hit that will roll in the royalties. This has to be respected thoroughly, compared to the amount of so called ‘Hip Hop based Producers/DJ’s’ that will do anything to make a name and a dollar for themselves.
As 2016 rolled in, Kutmah released, on his Soundcloud, two ingenious remixes of classic Madvillain joints with a whole new original twist that go above and beyond the originals.
The fact he hasn’t really given them both a name, simply labelling them both ‘KXXTZ VS VILLAIN’, just highlights the way this cat does business.
Fingers crossed this year is the year his work gets the recognition it deserves.