Put A.I on any record and you are hundred per cent guaranteed an excellent outcome. The genre of music is not going to be a restriction. And the tone of the song will not dissuade him from putting his foot on the neck of the record. For those who have followed his career path from 2014, A.I is the type of talent who cannot be boxed.
His versatility is endless. Whether it’s a feature or a full song, be rest assured that this guy would blow the roof off the record with a stellar performance. This, he has exhibited across the years since registering his name on the music soundscape with ‘Anger Management’.
Like the proverbial water taking the shape of the object it occupies, A.I continues to enchant the listener with his set of musical skills: his voice and lyrics. Even if the song is a party tune, like the highly consuming ‘Grind’, he will do his best to offer you some thought-provoking lyrics. Same goes for the songs on his ‘’Headstrong’’ EP. Quality is something A.I. does not compromise on.
Trigmatic, one of the last bastions of conscious rappers recently drafted three of the best music acts around for the remix of his award-winning single ‘’My Life’’. The acts – A.I., Worlasi and M.anifest- along with Trigmatic put a spin on the original record by ripping off its sentimental and aesthetic aura. (I did hold the opinion that the original song did not need a remix when Trigmatic aired his intentions out on twitter about an upcoming remix last year). What they gave in return was a more sombre, low-tempo sound with a reflective commentary about life and success from different perspectives.
Despite the applauding performances by the four, the standout verse came from A.I. In his very unmistakable voice, his lyrics were centered on his positive mindset from the beginning of his career; the long walk towards his dream; and the potent advice his mother offered him life and its numerous chains, all delivered in a tone that was both mesmeric and chilling. The ebb and flow in his delivery coupled with the deliberate vulnerability in his voice felt like gentle ripples across the surface of a river.
He’s not oblivious of how tough it is to succeed. A.I still had a sense of positivity and offered an introduction into his state of mind: ‘’As hope abounds, I smile rest assured/ I’ll not faint, I’ll not worry/ Still cherish the path, won’t let it bore me’. In this tough city or world, losing your sense of hope is the beginning of your death- both in a literal and metaphorical sense. And like a preacher man sermonizing to his congregation, A.I. prayed that ‘we glimmer and glow’ in the future.
’And the voices would know what must be told /So, as the future still unfolds/ Oh may we glimmer, may we glow/ Persecuted but not forgotten/ Mama said this shit is a battlefield”.
A.I. recalled the advice his mum offered him while young; that ‘the world is a battlefield’ so ‘don’t you quit, don’t you bend no knee/ keep the faith cos love is the remedy’. (This ties in with the ‘armed with wisdom’ line in his opening verse). Clearly, his mum not only prepared him for the battle ahead, she also gave him the nuggets to surviving: not to be soft, always stand firm even when the road became rugged with his chin up; that, love and faith are the two qualities that would propel him towards nirvana so he should try ‘to make it through the day and never you say you ain’t enough’.
In this advice, one recognizes how his mum was planting the seed of self-belief within him. She acknowledges how explosive self-doubt could be especially when the walk towards success becomes daunting and blurred. In 95 seconds, A.I offered us a moving, inspirational message to fan the fire that sustain our dreams.
It is quite common to hear some people criticize the current state of music as lacking substance – messages that excite, educate and appeal to the conscience of the listener. This assertion might not be wholly true. What is true is that there are some artists putting out great music. The issue is how much support they receive from others who are not their fans.
And until these artists get the same support as their colleagues who are regarded as ‘mainstream’, such good music shall evade many. That’s not to say the artists are not expected to do their part aside making records. Good music won’t sell itself if much effort is not put in pushing it. It requires a collective effort. A.I. undoubtedly nailed his verse effortlessly.