I first heard Isaac Danquah at the start of 2014 on a track called ‘Brooding’. I’d been scouring SoundCloud at 2am, came across it and it blew me away.
The Last Skeptik’s skittering dub-influenced production, Kojey Radical’s smooth chorus and Danquah’s crystal-clear flow sounded so fresh and at odds with what I was hearing from London’s hip hop resurgence. Where was the fuzzy sample under boom-bap drums? This sounded like pure 2014.
With the release of his new mixtape ‘The Boy Meets Man Experience’, Danquah demonstrates his skill as a proper, fully-fledged artist rather than “just” a rapper. The boy can rhyme, but here was the man poking out from beneath the enviable light and shade of his sweet-boy voice and razor-sharp flow. “Sitting on the bench, does the coach even rate me?” he raps on ‘tape opener ‘Ying & Yang’ over Lupus Cain’s melancholic piano and pitched vocal-stabs. This isn’t quite Isaac on his grown man shit, this is Isaac learning how to be the guy he wants to grow into.
“I’m basically at a stage of adulthood where things have started becoming real and the challenge for me was growing up and encapsulating that feeling sonically,” Danquah tells me. “I guess all I could do was aim to put that in the simplest way possible and attempt to define what happens when a boy meets a man.”