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Akala in 2009
|Birth name||Kingslee James Daley|
|Also known as||The Rap Rock Electro Kid; Mr Fire In The Booth|
|Born||1 December 1983|
|Origin||Kentish Town, London, England|
|Genres||British hip hop, grime, alternative|
|Occupation(s)||Rapper, poet, songwriter and academic.|
|Labels||Illa State Records|
Black the Ripper
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.
2003–08: Early years and breakthrough
Born in 1983 to a Scottish mother and Jamaican father, Daley grew up in Kentish Town, London. He chose the stagename Akala because it is a Buddhist term for "Immovable", 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
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), he returned again in May 2012 and provided "Part 2". 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).
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 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.
Lectures and speeches
Akala has given guest lectures at Manchester Metropolitan University, Sheffield Hallam University, Cardiff University, and the International Slavery Museum, as well as a workshop on songwriting at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He has also spoken at the Oxford Union.
Use in other media
- The song "Roll Wid Us", was used in the 2006 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.
|It's Not a Rumour
|Knowledge Is Power - Mixtape, Vol. 1
|The Thieves Banquet
|Knowledge Is Power II
|10 Years of Akala
|Acoustic Remixes - EP
|The War Mixtape
|A Little Darker (with Ms. Dynamite)
|The War Mixtape Vol. 2
|Knowledge Is Power Volume 1
- "Welcome to England" (2003)
- "War" (2004)
- "Roll Wid Us" (2005) – UK No. 72
- "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)
- Chris True. "Akala". AllMusic.
- Kate Mossman, "Akala: Dynamite by any other name…", The Observer, 2 June 2013.
- Brian Rose, "Fight the Power — Akala and the Power of the Word", London Real Academy, 20 October 2015.
- "Akala interview on "The Situation" website". Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- "Akala – Fire in the Booth". YouTube. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- "Akala – Fire in the Booth Part 2". YouTube. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- "Akala". BBC. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
- "Bringing hip hop to the lecture theatre". Manchester Metropolitan University. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
- "From hip-hop theatre to lecture theatre". Sheffield Hallam University. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
- "Slavery Remembrance Day 2016 talk". National Museums Liverpool. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
- "SOAS Writing Week". School of Oriental and African Studies. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
- "Akala, Full Address and Q&A, Oxford Union". Oxford Union official YouTube channel. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
- "Knowledge Is Power - Mixtape, Vol. 1". iTunes.
- "Knowledge Is Power, Vol. 2". iTunes.
- "10 Years of Akala". iTunes.
- "Acoustic Remixes - EP". iTunes.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 18. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.