The West Midlands is home to an exponentially growing rap scene. With the rise of artists such as M1llionz, Lotto Boyz and Pa Salieu, it is safe to say that London isn’t the only hub for upcoming musicians. The latest season of The Rap Game UK saw rappers travel to Birmingham and go head-to-head for a record deal. The decision to host the competition in Birmingham, indicates just how much creativity and talent resides beyond the capital. It is about time that the Midlands and its artists are afforded the same level of opportunity and recognition as their London counterparts. Having birthed a number of successful acts, it is clear that the region is holding its own weight in the music industry, and deserves to be celebrated.
Dudley born Rapper, KayFarway, is working hard to place his hometown on the map. Raised in a Jamaican household, he transformed a childhood love of poetry into the start of a promising music career. Inspired by the likes of Drake, A2 and Elhae, the rapper tapped into a number of sounds in RnB and Rap to develop his own style. Set It Off is his most recent release and debut album. Amazed by the talent around him, KayFaraway sought to keep the production of his album local, and enlisted the help of Birmingham Producer ROMderful. From working on his own project Press L to Continue to working with the likes of Jean Deuax, Kehlani and Duckwrth, it is clear that ROMderful is a force to be reckoned with Set It Off is the result of a great collaboration between KayFaraway and ROMderful. It is a testament to the importance of emerging artists working with those around them, instead of seeking help from distant higher-ups.
With a mix of thoughtful verses, and softly sung hooks, KayFaraway explores the pursuit of fame, and its effect on his relationships and life outlook. From triumphantly flexing on P’s & Q’s to pouring out his heart on Checked Out, he is clearly unafraid to express his feelings and showcase the full spectrum of emotions that occur as an upcoming musician. The final track Western Heights brings the album to a close. The rapper takes us on a journey, reminiscing on days spent in the park to him standing firm in his identity as an artist. With confidence, he lets us know he’s ‘dreaming bigger these days’ and won’t stop until he sees the ‘heights’ for himself. As the song fades out, the rapper leaves us with no doubt that he will reach them.
Like many musicians, KayFaraway looks to the future and considers his legacy. The rapper hopes that through music, he can help shine the spotlight on other creatives in the West Midlands, and create a large,lively scene full of opportunity. At the moment, he feels that local talent isn't given enough recognition, despite there being plenty of ‘great artists, producers, photographers [and designers]’. When people talk about the best rappers in the game, KayFaraway wants his name to be mentioned and associated with great music.
Prior to rapping, the artist dabbled in poetry as a carefree way of expressing himself. At the same time, he began playing around with music, which he initially saw as ‘a little bit of fun’. By 2013, KayFaraway decided to take his new craft seriously and began writing songs. He explains that music is ‘therapy to him’ and offers him a ‘huge [sense of] release’. The musician views his work as ‘an open book’ about himself, and invites people to not only hear his story, but reflect on their own experiences. KayFaraway strongly believes in the importance of individuality and hopes that listeners come away feeling empowered. Through his music, he wants others to remember that ‘the biggest flex is being yourself’. To him, this is ultimately achieved by speaking honestly about your own thoughts, feelings and experiences, something which he does very well in his music.
Set It Off is an album which marries confident boasts, heartfelt promises and vivid dreams. It is a turning point in the artist’s journey, which will only propel him further. His development is something to look forward to and be inspired by, especially for those in the West Midlands. KayFaraway’s future in rap looks very bright.Set It Off is available on all streaming platforms.