He’s as a multi-talented artist; beatboxer, poet, actor and rapper. Checkmate has been performing for quite a while, appealing to various groups with live shows and occasionally appearing in other artists project. Now the Kenyan artist has chosen to record his art and managed to compile an EP titled “Box of Beats” that was launched on September 24. The EP, a five-track project, is a personification of Checkmate Mido’s impeccable artistry.
The “Intro” is a captivating track, with delightful beatboxing skills, as the Box of Beats’ opens with luscious guitar and moments of beat-boxing crowned by responsive vocals from Ngare Mukiria “Beat box for the love of it short and sweet/A box of chocolates from the lady a cross the street/Bees on the flowerbed; rose thorns and stings” Checkmate lays down his lines indirectly asking us to pick his brain on what is coming.
The EP carries an incredible level of creativity, instruments and vocals that know-their-place, resonating with that numbing effect, an attractive balance of poetry and good music. “Nilimcheki” features Mo, the melody births that bluesy feeling of love, anticipation and reassurance. The lyrics are reminiscent of the only or first love and the regrets that rings back on those lonely nights. It is a love song waxed with spry vocals from Mo. The track dies down with an illustrative silence casting a sequence of meditation. Let me put it out there, it is an absolute favorite! The track candidly taps a rendition of “You Got Me” a single from American Hip Hop group The Roots featuring Erykah Badu, from their 1999 album release “Things Fall Apart”.
Checkmate then gets on that “Can I Kick It?’ moment on “Black Skin” a bopping beatbox magic, tune with an intoxicating delivery, the track manages to showcase the artist’s Hip Hop inclinations in brilliant style. The artist kind of reveals himself in bits, or should we say beats, on the whole EP, “Letters” is a deep, introspective and sentimental tune that speaks of lost love, broken relations, misunderstanding, doubt and persistence, the artist lyrical prowess is evident on the track as he creates scenes with reference to months and passing seasons.
“To The World” features various artists the likes of Beraccah, Fess, Rize, Janice Iche and Booker K, it still aligns itself to the concept of dedication and love for art that rings throughout the project, setting the pace for motivation, attempting to heal the soul, looking positively at the world. The background vocals create a satisfying kind of affirmation to the lyrical content; that life is amorphous limitless, interesting, no one actually understands it, but we live it anyway.
All in all the EP is an impeccable showcase of artistry, soulful fusion of edgy lyrics poetry and beatboxing.
“Box of Beats” was recorded by Jinku at Creatives Garage in Nairobi.
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