Gaika – ‘Seguridad’ EP review: Brixton star creates a sultry soundtrack to Black British life

Industrial beats and experimental production create the sweeping backdrop of the rapper’s brooding new release

Since GAIKA arrived on the UK music scene, the Brixton-based MC made it his mission to continuously subvert preconceptions about what Black British music can be. His debut album ‘Basic Volume’ demonstrated this, featuring dancehall riddims distilled through gritty, industrial beats. His new EP ‘Seguridad’ continues down a similar path, playing with experimental noise and trap beats to match GAIKA’s brooding nature.

Recorded on tour in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, the nine-track EP is a showcase for the warped productions of an array of artists on the Mexican label NAAFI (who are also releasing the EP). Argentinian producer and DJ TAYHANA brings her explosive sound to ‘Of Saints’ while Mexican producer Lao adds his trippy take on UK dance culture to ‘Wolfish’ and ‘Kingdom of Slums’. Together with the GAIKA, and the rest of the motley crew of producers, they have conceived an unsettlingly dark, yet enticing futuristic club record.

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Opener ‘Of Saints’ has a seductively slow-paced beat with hypnotic pulsating electronics to draw listeners into another world. In this defiant beat, GAIKA emphasises a sense of regality in the beauty of the Black British community: “remember we, our nobility, there’s kings and queens on every street”. The refrain is repeated in various guises throughout and acts as an anthemic call to many overlooked communities.

Though the record has seven different producers, it is saved from appearing disjointed through GAIKA’s determined vision. A propensity towards wall shaking sound system bass culture and eerie, industrial noise all wrapped up in GAIKA’s heavily distorted, sluggish vocals, feature throughout the record. The EP features a number of club-centric tracks like ‘Maria’ or ‘Brutal’, which evoke the feeling of dancing wildly at an underground rave while looking over your shoulder every now and again for fear you’re being watched.

Elsewhere, GAIKA revels in the extraordinary on ‘Lord Zemel’, playing with the rustling sounds of nature to emphasise the off-kilter bass line and rumbling beat. GAIKA’s distorted vocals become more pronounced on the drum and bass influenced ‘Iron Cut’ as the MC stresses his South London accent to rep his city: “hard from we born it’s the London way”.

‘Seguridad’ is an impressive collection of futuristic British rap-infused tunes, which seems to follow the unconventional approach many British artists are taking. The cinematic quality of each song leaves the listener with the impression that the record is the soundtrack to a dystopian London-based thriller yet to be written.

Details

  • Release date: July 7
  • Record Label: NAAFI
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