Album Focus: Citizen Kay

11 November 2015 | 7:39 pm | Jai Chouhan

Unlike most rap artists, Citizen Kay was only exposed to the genre at the ripe age of 17. With a foray into music as a guitarist in Canberra, the ACT-bred MC has since ascended the mountain that is Australian hip-hop. Having released his debut album, With The People, Citizen Kay is well on his way to reaching the summit.

Born in Ghana, Citizen Kay watched as his parents sacrificed all that they knew for a better life in Australia. It has certainly kept the young rapper humble - something that’ll come in handy in a genre so saturated with bravado.

“My mum and dad sacrificed so much for my brother and I to be in Australia. I think you’ve got to have a lot of love for your family and appreciate the sacrifices they’ve made. To drop everything they love and know for their kids is an incredibly selfless thing to do.”

Releasing two EPs before With The People, Kay has earned his keep in the genre. His last EP, Demokracy, even made waves in the US on College radio and ESPN.

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“I was ecstatic for ages about it. It was just crazy to think that something that I created in my spare time was able to make it to the US. It kind of made it a bit more legitimate. It was a great inspiration to keep on doing stuff as well.”

With The People has been a more consciously crafted effort than previous ones. Working solely with producer Ben Garden, the album’s tracks follow a lineage that would not be achievable with more than one producer.

“It was really good to get someone in who has spent years producing and teaching themselves to work on whole album. It really helps to get everything glued together well. Ben was incredible to work with for the whole album. Having him on the whole thing kept it all smooth and we were always on the same page with everything."