It’s easy to notice Washington D.C. native Kokayi‘s love of electro-pop, soul and psych-rock to convey his messages. But don’t sleep on the rhymes: The veteran MC blazed a trail in the city before rapping was fashionable, traveling the world with his Opus Akoben crew and teaching aspiring rappers how to freestyle. On this new track “Birdus Ghetti,” Kokayi bemoans the concept of police helicopters (or “ghetto birds,” as they’re often called). “I hate them joints,” he says. “Not that they aren’t doing their job, but the big light, it’s mad late and they’re hunting. It’s the antithesis of the early bird getting the worm proverb.” The song, with its bouncy synths and country rock flair, is the lively opener of Kokayi’s forthcoming album, Pro Deo et Patria (For God and Country).
Though the album carries broad themes — racial injustice and lovelorn angst, among other things — Kokayi wants people to have fun with the music. “My sincere hope is that folks party to it, find their favorite song and sing along, then have the lightbulb go off once they figure out what the song is speaking to.”
Pro Deo et Patria is out Sept. 21. Stream “Birdus Ghetti” below: