If you ask me how to define consistency with an example in the world of music, the likelihood of me mentioning Goya Gumbani is fairly high. The London-based, New York rapper has released some incredible music over the last few years, but 2020 has been especially special for him. From the incredibly soulful and spiritual HGR Presents : A Thousand Months to eclectic and collaborative EP with Bori titled Steps Across The Pond, Goya has been able to carve his own lane, taking inspiration from his contemporaries within the genre, bringing unique cadence and delivery to his music. I’ve seen his growth for the past few years now, and I can confidently say that he has now released his best work to date. The Lesser-Known is a collaborative album with incredibly talented London-based Scottish producer Kiina. His beats are absolutely phenomenal, as he is able to create a soulful, textured and boom-bap inspired sound that gives Goya Gumbani an ethereal and dynamic soundscape to flow effortlessly and rap over.
The 9-track project opens with the lead single “What’s The Prize,” a stunning piano-heavy beat with a gentle, almost playful melody. Goya’s subdued and slightly monotonous vocal delivery provides for a reflective, almost meditative sound. He’s always introspective in his thoughts, talking about his personal experiences, pains he has felt in his life and growing from them. Tracks like “Erica” and “Things I’d Never” have a melancholic quality to them, partly due to Kiina’s exceptional loops and subtle samples throughout. The weight of Goya’s words can be felt throughout these two tracks, capturing his aura and introspection beautifully. The short but punchy “Catford” may contain my favourite beat, as its dynamic and groovy sound is infectious and potent. The rhythmic and groove of “Babylon” makes it another standout, with stunning keys and a thumping beat throughout with lyrics like “All the pain cause change in a strange way / I’m in the fifth gear speeding through the bike lane / I see the reasons start to play mind games.” “Blasé” is another exceptional track, with a cinematic sound and an animated beat switch near the end of it. Goya continues to rap effortlessly throughout, while “Same Strings, Pt.1” features the amazing lojii, who provides an introspective and confident verse about love, family and working to shape your own success. It’s inspiring seeing him grow over the years as well. The production on “Sittin’ Right” is stunning, as the suffocating soul sample is complemented by synths and keys throughout, and the reflective, angelic “Pennies” is a perfect way to close such an ethereal, introspective and personal body of work.
Goya Gumbani and Kiina have released an incredibly lush, textured and cohesive body of work that captures an ethereal, beautiful energy. Goya’s incredible lyricism combined with Kiina’s lavish production makes for a meditative and reflective listen. Both artists reach new creative heights with The Lesser-Known, and I only see them continuing to grow for years and years to come. Incredible album guys, thanks!