Kwame’s got ‘NO TIME’ left for you in his breakout year

Sydney rapper and certified breakout star of Australian hip hop in 2018, KWAME has just dropped the visuals for ‘NO TIME’, the second single lifted from his stellar sophomore EP from earlier this year, Endless Conversations.

What struck me first upon hearing ‘NO TIME’ is that, in a lot of ways, it reminds me of a track that CHANCE THE RAPPER might’ve produced around the time of his 2013 mixtape, Acid Rap, or Surf, his 2015 album as THE SOCIAL EXPERIMENT. Like Chance’s work on those albums, the structure of ‘NO TIME’ feels loose but tightly constructed at the same time, as if improvisational in spirit only, from the jazzy flourishes of trumpet that wander through the free-wheeling instrumental and the ebullient choral outbursts that punctuate the hook to the raspy, modulated singing on the track’s chorus.

But the comparison runs deeper than surface-level similarities: ‘NO TIME’ also exudes the same sense of playful curiosity that defined Chance’s early career, a wide-eyed astonishment in its omnivorous appetite to take everything in and spit it back out with little regard to the idea of boundaries. Both also capture rappers who are practically overflowing with hooks, able to comfortably navigate cluttered, busy instrumentals with acrobatic flows and insightful lyricism, as Kwame wrests control of his life back by breaking a romantic cycle that’s taking up too much time and emotional real estate. It’s about knowing and affirming what’s best for you, a mature realisation that, despite your feelings, you simply don’t have the time to give to that relationship right now: “I ain’t gon’ waste my time, I think about you all the time / But you don’t hit my line, and cupid gave me a sign”, “I got thing of my own, but you’re not the one that I see / Ain’t got time cause girl it can never be we”.

The visuals, directed by ZAIN AYUB and shot in the same 4:3 aspect ratio as the ‘WOW’ clip, finds Kwame and his soon-to-be-ex-other-half locked in a restless, citywide game of cat-and-mouse, which turns out to be mostly pointless: when they finally meet each other, it’s evident/clear that they’re on different levels/don’t see eye to eye. But, where Kwame was at varying points exhausted, incredulous, frustrated and disinterested during his search, this moment finds him relishing his liberation – literally dancing in an open field.

Most of all, the choice of ‘NO TIME’ as a follow-up to the braggadocious hype of Kwame’s breakout single, ‘WOW’, proves to be a shrewd one, opening up a more sensitive, genuine, heartfelt side to the rapper that builds on the promise, the pure charisma and inherent likability of that earlier single.

WORDS BY KYLE FENSOM

IMAGE: Joseph Crackett for Purple Sneakers

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