Kenyan beatboxer, actor, dancer, and poet Checkmate Mido has released a new project titled FRQNCY (Frequency), a follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2016 EP dubbed ‘Box of Beats.’ The debut full-length project described as a creative fusion of beatbox, soulful rhyme, and live instrumentationis poised to be a project that reveals Checkmate’s artistic growth and how much his sound has developed.
“The title FRQNCY refers to the unfiltered waves of emotion that we experience, each day, from waking up, seeing someone we like or find attractive, challenges in life, sharing jokes and everything else in between,” says Checkmate Mido.
Known for his unique gift of merging art forms to create an interesting, interactive and engaging performance, Checkmate put together the 12-track album in one and a half years at ADA Creative Studios with additional recordings happening at Sub Sahara Records both in Nairobi. He also did some parts of the project at Kujo’s home studio in Kampala, Uganda. The album features content done mainly in English, Swahili, and Sheng (Kenyan Slang.)
The album features notable tracks laid on an expansive range of instrumentals, fusing melodies, sultry compositions, dynamic vocal harmonies mashed in impressive acousmatic music, a perfect blend of hip hop, latin, rock, folk and classical African music experiences layered on deity guitar licks, groovy basslines and reminiscent boom-bap executions with satisfying yet straightforward rhythm patterns.
“The goal of making this album was to create something that tells a story about depression and bipolar disorder without looking at it as a downer but more as an experience of life.” The artist spoke of the album that he says is a voicing of love, joy, fears, and insecurities, “the idea was to create something that comes as close to my human experience as possible.”
FRQNCY is groovy and vibrant with actual emotions characterized by masterful execution anchored on patable, relaxed, laid-back, and intrinsic texture yet buoyant and expressive in structure and intention. Checkmate Mido’s lyricism has a unique tendency to lead the listener’s ear into his deep thoughts and in sync with his pauses. The album is undoubtedly his best work yet, and a powerful definition of where his level of artistry currently sits.