You know them albums that completely stun you on first listen and make you rewind again and again to try and grasp every single detail? One of London’s finest Kojey Radical did just this with his sublime 2014 project Dear Daisy: Opium, a powerful album I still remember listening to for the first time all those years ago. What was so captivating about it was the raw energy in Kojey Radical’s raw, spoken word delivery, one which was complimented by gorgeous compositions from the likes of Melo-Zed, Jay Prince, Mic Lo The Dreamer, KZ and RayDee amongst others. It is dreamy, melancholic yet optimistic in tone, encapsulating Kojey’s aura perfectly throughout.
“The Garden Party” is a stunning work of art. I write a whole analysis on that first verse and digest the imagery and metaphor presented in this intriguing conversation between Kojey and a women in this story.
“I’ve never found my self much of a party goer
She echoes compliments in my name
despite the fact I hardly know
core the colour yellow,
weather sunshine or stain who cares,
her petals shape a leo’s mane
or gust of cluttered leaves and such”
The way he is able to articulate words, with incredible alliteration that is conveyed in such precision is nothing short of amazing. The use of colours and flowers to describe mood and atmosphere is so poignantly poetic, as with this line “her petals shape a leo’s mane, or gust of cluttered leaves as such.” As he starts to describe his own perception of love, the infatuation he feels towards a woman who captivates him and draws him into a world where he becomes imprisoned in his own thoughts and feelings. This is described beautifully in one of my favourite lines on the whole project:
“She said do
you believe in love? I said does a requiem dream?
We crave for the chance to trance in love like hits of opium. see, It’s so addictive.”
Kojey’s perception of love based on this line is that of opium. It is a drug known to give an apparent sense of euphoric, orgasmic pleasure when directed into the bloodstream. This however, is juxtaposed with Kojey’s rhetorical question of if a requiem dreams. Requiem For A Dream is a psychedelic horror film directed by Darren Aronofsky and gives one of the most striking portrayals on the effect of drugs on the body, mind and spirit. It is a dark film that presents drug-use as genuinely horrifying, something Kojey clearly acknowledges throughout his poem. Love can blind people into feeling like they’re in a state of euphoria without understanding the blinding effects of the drug, something that can only become apparent later down the line.
There is also a clear juxtaposition in the title Dear Daisy: Opium. Daisy most likely refers to the women in the poem, giving her the name of a flower. The title is swiftly followed by opium, the drug that, as I mentioned, whilst provides a trance-like effect on the individual, in fact harms the body, mind and spirit. A while I have spoken extensively about “The Garden Party,” there are so many more things to discover and digest. “Preacher Preacher” breaks down Kojey’s life as a black man through his experience going to church. It is a powerful and candid poem that contains some striking lines.
“I once went to a black church
I shared pigment with my peers but felt more alien than ever
Prayer so intense they served more as a distraction than an inspiration.”
Back to the title of the project and the use of juxtaposition to highlight a conflict of interest, Kojey’s lack of identity amongst his peers in an environment that he should feel comfortable in shows the journey of a man breaking away from his own beliefs, away from the opium that is holding him back from attaining his truest form of love – love of self. There is so much more I can say about the different themes and tracks off this brilliant body of work – “Plucking Petals/Chase the Dragon” and “Zambezi II” are two other highlights on this album, sharing personal stories on family as well as his battling personal demons to achieve personal growth and spirituality.
So to conclude, Kojey Radical proves with this project that he is one of the most gifted poets of our generation. Not only through the beautiful imagery and metaphors used throughout this extended poem, but the intricacy and depth at which he takes his words and rhymes. Musically Dear Daisy: Opium is soulful, textured and detailed with dense production that at times sounds almost overwhelming, but to great effect. In 2014 the world was introduced to an man’s artistic growth. In 2019 we will see him metamorphose into a superstar. Thank you Kojey.
Listen to Kojey Radical’s Dear Daisy: Opium below via Bandcamp and make sure you support!