Grab yourself a seat and a cup of earl grey, turn on Kelechi’s new album, Woke Up To Winter, and don’t stop listening until it has played its entirety and left you with a new-found love of hip-hop – and perhaps, even a new set of priorities.
It’s one of the most bold and complex yet simultaneously clean and faultless projects that we’ve heard in as long as we can remember. From top to bottom, Woke Up To Winter, boasts an intangible sense of cohesiveness that tows the listener through the album by a thread woven and needled of sharp, dynamic lyricism, mellow vocals, clean, unobtrusive production, and a certain breath of nostalgia that we just can’t quite pinpoint.
Kelechi is a young Atlanta artist whose wide range of creative influences reach from his Nigerian roots to the hip-hop mecca he calls home, and somewhere in the combination he has struck a balance that feels neither here nor there, but purely his own unique approach. That approach is more welcoming and warmer than most artists coming from Atlanta these days, yet still boasts the addicting energy we expect. But if the magic in the album and in Kelechi’s style owes itself to one trait, it’s the way with which he relentlessly pursues his lyricism.
Whether delivering meaningful and dedicated bars or exploring his underappreciated vocal talent, he does so with clear and present purpose, crafting track after track that achieve exactly his intent. When It’s Cold Outside – the album’s opener – is a violently explosive display of his profound rap ability; Tired of Y’all is a relatable, addicting jam dissecting Kelechi’s opinions on the hip-hop lifestyle; The Itis is a shining example of hip-hop’s ability to deliver romance and ooze sexuality.
The three songs only show a glimmer of his range which, although certainly vast, never deviates from its center of underlying vibes of positivity and intrigue throughout the album’s nine-track length.
Intriguing most of all may perhaps be Kelechi’s relatively quiet following, because with the release of Woke Up To Winter, it’s hard to name even a single artist more creatively navigating the bounds of the hip-hop realm and seamlessly arranging the artful expression and balance apparent through the album’s entirety.