West Coast artist Akajou has dropped the single, "Air" to promote his album, also titled Air. T-Rod dives into why "Air" is an essential piece of 2020's L.A hip-hop scene.

By: Tommy “T-Rod” Rodriguez

Akajou sounds like he’s soaring in a time when people can barely get their feet off the ground.

Akajou is a Los Angeles-based hip-hop artist who seems ready to take on the world with his brand of smooth, cinematic West Coast hip-hop. In order to promote his latest album, he has seen fit to give fans a taste of what is to come with the title track, “Air.” If this song is any indication of what will appear on the album of the same name, underground hip-hop fans and West Coast music lovers alike are going to be in for a treat.

Starting on the instrumental end of “Air,” I have to say that it stands out from the crowd. With a psychedelic mix of chipmunk soul samples, quiet horns, and a constantly shifting synth line, the beat embodies the feeling of wind hitting your face in a top down convertible. It’s airy, but still manages to hit hard with some prominent percussion and subtle bass. It provides the perfect background for what Akajou does on the mic, matching his vocal energy and storytelling with a suaveness that can only be found on the best West Coast anthems.

Lyrically, Akajou shines. “Air” is an ode to hard work, to pushing past the obstacles of life through sheer force of will. Akajou’s delivery is simultaneously laid back and passionate, an interesting mixture that helps emphasis his vivid rhymes and buttery flow. While Akajou flaunts his hunger for success, there’s a notable sense of darkness in the lyrics that act as the fuel for his drive, with the first verse introducing this underlying tension in a powerful way:

“Went on a ride wit my Dad, we in his pickup truck

2 weeks after that , he passed, and then I went amok

Hit like a bus, now I’m out here like WHO CAN I TRUST?

I’m feelin rushed, like life might take me in a month”

Amidst bouts with depression, Akajou finds the strength to move forward and find his purpose. It’s quite powerful, especially in times like these when mental health is more important than ever. The song’s introductory moodiness and familial backstory soon transitions to modern times, wherein Akajou seems to be finding his road to success. This second verse is equally excellent, utilizing clever rhymes schemes in order to paint logical similes on the struggles of being an underground artist and Akajou’s passion for music.

“I’m tryna make it just like you, I’m tryna be elite

I really hope you feel the passion when you hear me speak

I’m everlasting, got compassion, if that’s what you seek

They tell you lies, open your eyes, they tryin to make you weak

They tell you shit to fuck you up, and then call it critique”

Akajou’s inspirational songwriting makes the song worth returning to, getting better and better with every listen. Couple these strong verses with a solid hook that encompasses the drive within Akajou’s music and an excellent beat, and you get a rap single that will definitely stay in rotation. It hits hard in the whip and in the soul.

Stream “Air” below and follow Akajou’s Bandcamp for more info on when his album Air releases!

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