Gaika (musician)

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Gaika at Somerset House, August 2018
Background information
Birth nameGaika Tavares
BornBrixton, London, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • rapper

Gaika Tavares, better known simply as Gaika, is a British singer, songwriter and rapper from South London. His debut album, Basic Volume, was released in July 2018 by Warp Records, who describe the sound as "gothic dancehall and industrial electronics".[3]

Early life[edit]

Gaika's parents came from Grenada and Jamaica, moving to the UK in the 1960s.[4] He was previously a part of Manchester rap crew Murkage.[5]

Music career[edit]

Following the mixtapes Machine and Security, Gaika released the EP Spaghetto in 2016.[6][7] The Guardian described his music as blending "Caribbean dancehall tradition and London grime but also nod to R&B, trip-hop, grunge and Prince."[5] Dazed have described him as "electronic music's answer to Basquiat",[8] while US magazine Interview described the sound as "experimental R&B".[9] Gaika has described his sound using the word "Ghettofuturism".[10]

Gaika's debut album Basic Volume was released in July 2018. The Guardian praised the album as "a terrifically impressive and populist debut".[11] The album also received positive reviews from the Financial Times,[12] The Independent,[13] Noisey[14] and Music OMH.[15]

In August 2018, Gaika exhibited System, a collaboration with Boiler Room and Somerset House Studios, "a sculpture which fills the middle portion of the Lancaster Room at Somerset House."[16][17] He told the Evening Standard that "Carnival and sound system culture is about space, and holding space. It’s about literally drawing a line in the sand and saying: ‘This is who we are and we’re here to stay. You can’t turn us off’."[16]

On May 2019, Gaika released a mixtape named Heaters 4 the 2 Seaters[18] by Warp Records, and on July 2020 he released the Seguridad EP on Mexican record label N.A.A.F.I.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Writing for Dazed magazine in June 2018, Gaika criticised the Metropolitan Police's decision to crack down on drill music, saying: "Drill is the product of a looted world that wasn’t designed with us in mind, the result of much more than just a few angry kids on estates, it’s the result of centuries of reality."[20] Gaika has also discussed the ways in which the Notting Hill Carnival is presented by the press, while its cultural significance is overlooked.[21]

Gaika has also written fiction for Dazed.[22]


Studio albums[edit]


  • Spaghetto (2016)
  • Spectacular Empire I (2016)
  • Spectacular Empire II (2017)
  • Seguridad (2020)


  • Machine (2015)
  • Security (2016)
  • Heaters 4 the 2 Seaters (2019)


  • "The Deal" (2016)
  • "Smoke Break" (2017)
  • "Crown & Key" (2017)
  • "Immigrant Sons" (2018)
  • "Seven Churches for St Jude" (2019)[24]


  1. ^ "Gaika: Basic Volume review – downbeat articulacy". The Guardian. 29 July 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  2. ^ Vinti, Mike (29 January 2016). "Beyond Grime: Why You Need to be Paying Attention to Britain's Other Rap Scenes". Vice. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Gaika announces debut album, Basic Volume, for Warp". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  4. ^ Moore, Hannah (22 June 2019). "Gaika: What Windrush means to me". BBC News.
  5. ^ a b Considine, Clare (11 March 2016). "Gaika: 'If you're a black guy you're supposed to make grime, reggae or coffee-table music'". the Guardian. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Gaika surprise-releases Spaghetto EP on Warp". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Warp turns the gothic dancehall knob to 11, announces debut album by Gaika, Basic Volume". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  8. ^ Dazed (16 November 2015). "Meet Gaika, electronic music's answer to Basquiat". Dazed. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Gaika's U.S. Debut - Interview Magazine". Interview Magazine. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  10. ^ "Gaika announces debut album, shares "Crown & Key" video". The FADER. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  11. ^ Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (27 July 2018). "Gaika: Basic Volume review – gripping new voice of British rap". the Guardian. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  12. ^ Hunter-Tinley, Ludovic (27 July 2018). "GAIKA: Basic Volume — an apocalyptic strain of imagination". Financial Times. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Album reviews this week: Gaika, Daughtry, Israel Nash and more". The Independent. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  14. ^ "Gaola's Revolutionary Music Could Change Everything". Noisey. 16 August 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Gaika - Basic Volume | Albums | musicOMH". musicOMH. 25 July 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  16. ^ a b "Gaika says Met Commissioner Cressida Dick 'can do one'". Evening Standard. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  17. ^ "These Artists Are Battling the Dilution of Caribbean Sound System Culture". Noisey. 21 August 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  18. ^ Dummy. "Gaika drops surprise 'Heaters 4 the 2 Seaters' mixtape with Dean Blunt and Rome Fortune". DummyMag. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  19. ^ "Gaika - 'Seguridad' EP review: Brixton star creates a sultry soundtrack to Black British life". NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM. 7 July 2020. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  20. ^ Dazed (18 June 2018). "It's no surprise that drill reflects young black men's reality". Dazed. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  21. ^ "The political significance of Carnival, according to GAIKA". The FADER. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  22. ^ Dazed (28 September 2017). "The Spectacular Empire – a future imagined by Gaika". Dazed. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  23. ^ Pritchard, Will (14 September 2023). "Gaika: Drift Album Review". Albums. Pitchfork. Retrieved 14 September 2023.
  24. ^ "Gaika - Seven Churches for St. Jude". PopMatters. 26 February 2019. Retrieved 2 September 2020.