Akala (rapper)

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Akala
Birth name Kingslee James Daley
Also known as The Rap Rock Electro Kid , Mr Fire In The Booth
Born (1983-12-01) 1 December 1983 (age 32)
Origin Kentish Town, London, England
Genres British hip hop, grime, alternative
Occupation(s) Rapper, MC, poet, songwriter and academic.
Years active 2004–present
Labels Illa State Records
Associated acts Lowkey
Mic Righteous
Black the Ripper
Ms. Dynamite
Sway
Durrty Goodz
English Frank
Website akalamusic.com

Kingslee James Daley (born 1 December 1983), better known by the stage name Akala, is an English rapper, and poet. Originally from Kentish Town, London, his older sister is rapper/vocalist Ms. Dynamite. In 2006, he was voted the Best Hip Hop Act at the MOBO Awards.[1]

Career[edit]

2003–07: Early career and breakthrough[edit]

Daley chose the stagename Akala because it is a Buddhist term for "Immovable",[2] and started releasing music in 2003 from his own independent music label Illa State Records. He released his first mixtape, entitled The War Mixtape, in 2004. In 2006 he released his first album – It's Not a Rumour. This proved to be his breakthrough album, containing the single "Shakespeare" – a reference to his self-proclaimed title "The Black Shakespeare" – which made the BBC Radio 1 playlist. His work was recognised with the MOBO Award for Best Hip Hop Act. Additionally in 2006, a mixtape entitled A Little Darker was released under the name "Illa State", featuring Akala and his sister Ms. Dynamite, as well as cameo appearances by many other artists. Akala appeared for a live session on BBC Radio 1Xtra where he was challenged to come up with a rap containing as many Shakespeare play titles as he could manage. Akala wrote and performed a minute-long rap containing 27 different Shakespeare play titles in under half an hour. He later recorded these lyrics in the studio and turned it into the single "Comedy Tragedy History". In 2007 Akala followed up his breakthrough album with his Freedom Lasso album, containing the "Comedy Tragedy History" track. 2008 saw The War Mixtape Vol. 2 released along with an EP of acoustic remixes.

2010–present: Doublethink, Knowledge Is Power, and beyond[edit]

Akala's third album Doublethink was released in 2010, and holds a strong theme of George Orwell's popular novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Doublethink contained tracks such as "Find No Enemy" and "Yours and My Children" detailing some of the sights he saw on his trip to Brazil. In November 2010, Akala headlined a live performance at the British Library, to launch the "Evolving English" exhibition and featured performances by the British poet Zena Edwards, comedian Doc Brown and British rapper/activist Lowkey. The live event also included Akala taking part in a hip-hop panel discussion alongside Saul Williams, U.S professor MK Asante and Lowkey. Akala appeared on Charlie Sloth's show on Radio 1Xtra on 18 July 2011, performing "Fire in the Booth", and after the great reception it received (over 2,000,000 hits on YouTube[3]), he returned again in May 2012 and provided "Part 2".[4] In May 2012, Akala released a two-part mixtape, Knowledge Is Power, containing "Fire in the Booth", and followed the release with a promotional tour in the autumn of 2012. In March 2013, Akala announced via his social media feeds that his fourth album, The Thieves Banquet, would released in May 2013, pushing back the future EP The Ruin of Empires to later in 2013.

Akala's fourth album, The Thieves Banquet, was released on 27 May 2013, including the songs "Malcolm Said It", "Maangamizi" and "Lose Myself" (feat. Josh Osho).

Live performances[edit]

In 2007, Akala was the first hip hop artist to perform his own headline concert in Vietnam.[5]

He has performed at various U.K festivals, including V Festival, Wireless, Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds Festivals, Parklife, Secret Garden Party and Isle of Wight, and has supported artists such as Christina Aguilera, MIA, Richard Ashcroft, Audiobullys, DJ Shadow, The Gotan Project and Scratch Perverts on their U.K/European tours.

In 2008, Akala featured at the South by Southwest music festival in Texas, as well as performing in New York, Los Angeles and in Brazil.

In 2010, Akala toured the U.K with Nas and Damian Marley on the "Distant Relatives" tour, which included the British rapper Ty. In November 2010, he embarked on his own headline tour of the U.K, with 20 dates overall.

He was present at the "One Love:No Borders Hip Hop" event held in Birmingham, England in April 2011, with Iron Braydz from London, Lowkey, Logic and other up-and-coming U.K artists.

In August 2012, Akala performed at Outlook Festival and in November 2012, he performed at the second edition of NH7 Weekender music festival in Pune, India.

Lectures and speeches[edit]

Akala has given guest lectures at Manchester Metropolitan University,[6] Sheffield Hallam University,[7] Cardiff University, and the International Slavery Museum,[8] as well as a workshop on songwriting at the School of Oriental and African Studies.[9] He has also spoken at the Oxford Union.[10]

Use in other media[edit]

  • The song "Roll Wid Us", was used in the British film Kidulthood.
  • The song "The Edge", from Its Not A Rumour, was used in the NBA 2K10' video game.
  • The song "Shakespeare", was used on a Channel 4 advert for their Street Summer.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Album Information
It's Not a Rumour
  • Released: 1 May 2006
  • Singles: "Roll Wid Us" "Bullshit" "The Edge" "Shakespeare"
Freedom Lasso
  • Released: 1 October 2007
  • Singles: "Bit By Bit" "Freedom Lasso" "Electro Livin" "Comedy Tragedy History"
DoubleThink
  • Released: 3 May 2010
  • Singles: "XXL" "Yours And My Children" "Find No Enemy"
The Thieves Banquet
  • Released: 27 May 2013
  • Singles: "Lose Myself" "Malcolm Said It"
Knowledge Is Power II[11]
  • Released: 30 March 2015
  • Singles: "Mr. Fire In The Booth" "Murder Runs The Globe"

Compilation[edit]

Album Information
10 Years of Akala
  • Released: 23 September 2016
  • Singles: "Giants"

EPs[edit]

EP Information
Acoustic Remixes - EP[12]
  • Released: 13 October 2008

Mixtapes[edit]

Mixtape Information
The War Mixtape
  • Released: 1 August 2004
  • Singles: "Welcome To England" "War"
A Little Darker (with Ms. Dynamite)
  • Released: 4 September 2006
The War Mixtape Vol. 2
  • Released: 22 September 2008
Knowledge Is Power Volume 1
  • Released: 28 May 2012

Singles[edit]

  • "Welcome to England" (2003)
  • "War" (2004)
  • "Roll Wid Us" (2005) – UK No. 72[13]
  • "Bullshit" (2005)
  • "The Edge" (featuring Niara) (2006)
  • "Dat Boy Akala" (featuring Low Deep) (2006)
  • "Shakespeare" (2006)
  • "Doin' Nuffin" / "Hold Your Head Up" (2006)
  • "Bit By Bit" (2007)
  • "Freedom Lasso" (2007)
  • "Where I'm From" (2007)
  • "Comedy Tragedy History" (2008)
  • "XXL" (2010)
  • "Yours and My Children" (2010)
  • "Find No Enemy" (2011)
  • "Lose Myself" (featuring Josh Osho) (2013)
  • "Mr. Fire in the Booth" (2015)
  • "Giants" (featuring Kabaka Pyramid & Marshall) (2016)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chris True. "Akala". AllMusic. 
  2. ^ "Akala interview on "The Situation" website". Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Akala – Fire in the Booth". YouTube. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "Akala – Fire in the Booth Part 2". YouTube. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "Akala". BBC. Retrieved 2015-02-22. 
  6. ^ "Bringing hip hop to the lecture theatre". Manchester Metropolitan University. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  7. ^ "From hip-hop theatre to lecture theatre". Sheffield Hallam University. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  8. ^ "Slavery Remembrance Day 2016 talk". National Museums Liverpool. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  9. ^ "SOAS Writing Week". School of Oriental and African Studies. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  10. ^ "Akala, Full Address and Q&A, Oxford Union". Oxford Union official YouTube channel. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  11. ^ "Knowledge Is Power, Vol. 2". iTunes. 
  12. ^ "Acoustic Remixes - EP". iTunes. 
  13. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 18. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]