It’s not an uncommon story. A rapper hits the studio all set to record, rifles through beats, and simply can’t find inspiration. That’s what happened to Kweku Collins when he joined DJ Booth at the Audiomack Studios to record a new song from scratch as part of their Tracked Out series. When the Evanston, Illinois native couldn’t find a pre-made beat which struck his fancy, he decided to construct a completely new instrumental in addition to laying down new vocals for the final product, “Life Part II.”
The video documenting the process gives insight into Kweku’s overall workflow and mindset when crafting new material. Recently he’s been relying more on samples, which has changed the way he works. “I’ve just been on the heavy sampling tip and starting with that has made the way I make my beats super different,” he said.
“It might be the melody, it might be the rhythm, it might be just to get the overall cadence of the song but it doesn’t start from any specific place anymore. Once I have the melody, once I have maybe a rough sketch with the drums that sets the tone, sets the soul of the song, then I kind of have to settle into that emotionally.”
And once the talented 19-year-old settles into the track, he literally needs to be in the dark to start really get it going. “My ideal vibe is pitch black,” Kweku said. “When I’m in the dark, is when I’m more comfortable because I don’t feel people looking at me. It’s easier to hide in the dark, which is a good thing, I guess, when you’re trying to tap into something.”
Learning about Kweku’s creative process frames the gloomy, yet expansive production and mournful, introspective vocals of “Life Part II” and puts it all in perspective. Every move he makes in the studio is thoughtful and deliberate, and it shows. This work ethic is a major reason why there’s been a growing buzz around him, enough to earn him an opening slot for Tory Lanez during Red Bull Sound Select’s 30 Days in LA festival.
Listen to the new track below.