The scene is in arguably the best place it’s ever been, things have transpired that we once thought impossible. Some of the greats in the scene have gone from firing lyrics back to back on radio sets, to rubbing shoulders in the charts with pop stars. Whether its Ghetts getting a number two album, or simply seeing Giggs shutting down shows, as opposed to them being shut down, the scene has come on leaps and bounds since days of old.
Giggs and Ghetts are two of the previous generations stars that have managed to find success within the scene they helped build, but it hasn’t been that way for many others that helped map out the terrain for the generations that would follow.
One of their classmates, K Koke, would have many firsts under his belt, but due to his run-ins with the law, he never really reached the heights he probably should have. Famously being signed by Jay-Z, and being the first artist to get one million views on his Fire In The Booth, K Koke is undeniably one of the greats, with or without the plaudits. Now after a ten year wait, he’s finally ready to release his debut album I Aint Perfect. But before that, we look back at some of the bonafide classics that K Koke has given us over the last twelve years. As always, let us know your favourites that we might have missed on the socials!
“Fire In The Booth Part 1“
Any conversations about the best Fire In The Booth, and this one rightfully always comes up. Charlie might be younger, but he’s no less zealous with his antics on the buttons, as he encourages Koke to spit throughout. Released in May 2010, neither K Koke nor Charlie knew the heights this legendary freestyle would reach. K Koke was hot property at the time, with his classic mixtape Pure Koke Vol 1 in heavy rotation. A glance at the comments section will reveal how many people have kept coming back to the freestyle over the years, further cementing its timeless status.
“Lord Knows” Feat Don Jaga
One of the standout tracks from his second tape Pure Koke Vol 2 which came out in 2011. Although probably not as well known as his debut, the tape still housed some classics. Koke was actually in prison when the tape dropped, hence why it was released with little to no promotion.
The work on the hook courtesy of Don Jaga, sees the West Londoner weave Portuguese in skilfully with his lyrics, which really makes the hook standout. The video has over three million views to date, which might seem pale in comparison to today’s figures, but this was in a time before the proliferation of Youtube Ads, it really shows the pulling power Koke wielded at the time.
“From a Place Where” Feat Joe Black
Two Road Rap behemoths together on the same track, could potentially lead to disappointment. But Joe Black and K Koke certainly delivered on all fronts. Both artists were leaders in their field at the time, and them coming together on a track was a collaboration for the annals. We just need a Koke and Giggs collaboration now!
“Turn Back” – Feat Maverick Sabre
Fast forward to 2015, Koke had been signed to Roc Nation, and was dropping more mainstream leaning singles. In a recent interview, Koke said this collaboration with Mav, is his personal favourite track that he’s released.
Filmed on location in the infamous Cambridge estate in Kingston (South West London), the track may not necessarily be a fan favourite, but it’s certainly proof that Koke could easily turn his hand to making a more palatable sound for the masses, while retaining enough of what drew fans to him in the first place.
“Are You Alone?”
Numbers do lie. Although the FITB has reached over 20 million views, this is undoubtedly the most definitive K Koke tune. Dropping way back in April 2009, the tune really put K Koke on the map as a force to be reckoned with.
The track, which is effectively a diss track, is aimed at ‘Spyda’, who had allegedly become a turncoat. Koke takes to the instrumental to vent and let out his frustrations, but rather than opt for simplistic mud slinging, Koke poses the haunting question ‘Are you Alone?’.
The no frills video, with simple transitions and shot in pretty much one location, is a far cry from what we’re used to today; but proves that as long as the song is good, everything else is secondary.
Determined to hit the ground running, K Koke made a triumphant return to music after serving seven months in prison. The timing of his custodial sentence came at an incredibly unfortunate time, he’d just been signed to Roc Nation, so it had slowed down his momentum considerably. But once more, Koke proved that he had undeniable pulling power with “I’m Back” effortlessly racking up millions of views once more.
K Koke comes through once more with another heartfelt banger. Featuring on one of the earlier pioneering Youtube channels UKOVERSTOOD, Koke once again racked up the millions of views on this tune. Dropping back in November 2010, with the numbers Koke was pulling in at the time, it was clear that he was destined for big things.
“My Deepest Thoughts”
Another undeniable classic Koke offering from his debut Pure Koke Vol 1. “My Deepest Thoughts” sees Koke ruminating about all the trials and tribulations he’s been through in the only way Koke knows how. The lyrical strength of Koke’s bars is buttressed by his exceptional, distinctive delivery.
K Koke once again painting a vivid picture of his time locked up, despite not having any accompanying visuals, the tune still managed to rack up well over two million views. One of the things that set Koke apart from many of his peers, is that he tapped into his international appeal, whether it’s touring in Canada, or collaborating with European artists to strengthen his European fan base even further. One thing is clear, if Koke can stay consistent and focused on music, he might finally be able to achieve his full potential.
Keep it locked on GRM Daily for any further developments, and stream and buy Koke’s long awaited debut album I Aint Perfect.