In Review: Downtown Kayoto - 'Hello World'
Downtown Kayoto is hard to pin down. Born in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe not long after the turn of the millennium, home for Chiko Chinyadza has been Kingston upon Hull for over a decade; more than half the life of the young artist.
It might not be a completely unique story but it certainly feels atypical, and there’s definitely a sense in which that journey has shaped his identity both musically and as an individual. Perhaps more than any specific geographical experience though, Downtown Kayoto is an artist clearly shaped by the cultural globalisation afforded to his generation by the internet.
With his name betraying a love for modern Japanese culture cultivated by anime and manga, his music bears the hallmarks of an inquisitive creativity shaped by the immediacy, boundlessness and stylistically unrestrained nature of the internet; in particular Soundcloud which he has said he was “really infatuated with the culture of”, taking inspiration from the DIY success of artists like Juice WRLD and S-X.
To call his music ‘genre-defying’ would be inaccurate, but this an artist who explicitly states that he ‘prefers to blur genres’. Debut project Pinkboy, a six-track EP from 2019, had aspects of Steve Lacey, Rejjie Snow, Saba, Bakar, BROCKHAMPTON, the more melodic elements of slowthai, and plenty more besides; tapping into that style of alternative R&B where neo-soul, lo-fi, indie-rock and hip-hop converge.
But latest single ‘Hello World’ – a fitting name for a track that will no doubt be many people’s introduction to him as an artist – is more impactful, more urgent. The former languidness is replaced on his first release of 2021 with a jungle-inspired drum break that builds to a crescendo each chorus, transforming the track from a smooth and low-key R&B tune into something altogether more frenetic. And it feels more interesting and more original as result.
Downtown Kayoto is an artist who is still finding his feet, gradually discovering what sonic avenues he wants to explore. As he puts it himself in his Spotify bio: “each track getting one step closer to finding my sound”. And as part of that journey, ‘Hello World’ definitely feels like a step in the right direction.
To hear more from Downtown Kayoto, click here.