Kumar – Remember Me Review by Steve Topple for Pauzeradio.com.
It’s possibly an overused phrase: ‘good things come to those who wait’. But having been teasing us for well over a year, the incredible Kumar has finally dropped the first single from his forthcoming album, Kulture Walk. Was it worth the long moratorium? Of course.
Remember Me, released via Baco Records and written by Kumar, sees the former Raging Fyah star team up with Jahvanie ‘week.day’ Morrison on production (the man who co-created Usain Bolt’s Olympe Rosé riddim), via his Tru Ambassador label. There’s a gorgeous video to accompany it, available below. And the collab perfectly fits into Kumar’s ever-evolving style.
It opens with some heavily muffled and distorted keys, before the horns come in with an almost regal, quaver-led fanfare. The bass, driving on a double downbeat riff is full and rounded, going against the current obsession with grimy, distorted Trap 808s; leaning more towards an Afrobeats sound.
This drive on the first and third beats is then juxtaposed with the drums accenting the ups via the snare and snaps; more in keeping with a Roots one drop. But that snare on the second and fourth gives the feel of Hip Hop, not Roots – and the latter is all but absent from the track.
Those keys are cleaned up for delicate solos on the verses and concluding bridge, almost acting as a call and response to the vocal. The main melody is a masterclass by Kumar in creating a musical ‘earworm’: its melodic focus runs from the top of the root scale, down to the fifth then third before diving down to the root of the key. The simple yet effective rhythmic use of quavers, then a two-beat break, almost sets Remember Me up and ready for audience participation.
Kumar’s technical strengths are numerous; not least his ability to flex between a gravelly, rasping upper baritone, a clear, expressive tenor and a whispering falsetto. But he has a unique and instantly recognisable voice that can turn its hand to any style of music (check his 2018, Ed Sheeran-esque cut It’s Alright for starters). Remember Me is no exception. Kumar effortlessly glides across his range, bringing some smoky Soul into the picture, before turning into a crisp, clean half-singjay. His intricate vocal runs show the strength of his technical ability, and the whole performance, with a narrative of refusing to conform or bow down to the system, is first-class.
Kumar and Morrison have created the perfect teaser for the forthcoming album. Remember Me is a melting pot of Hip Hop beats, Afrobeats synths and Soul-led vocals. And with the bar now set so high for the rest of Kulture Walk, good things will absolutely be coming to those who wait.
Kumar Remember Me review by Steve Topple.