"Om Shanti" is a greeting of peace and expression on unity. Exactly what hip hop should be. This mix tape has a basic throw down – this is me, this is how I feel and what I believe… But at the same time there is this complexity of emotion created by the ideas he's got and the points he's raising.
A complexity of identity that all of us, whatever our background, face every day. And hip hop accepts whatever that identity might be and hones it into something creative, colourful and substantial.
Does anyone remember Nitin Sawhney? One of the best Asian producers this country has produced? The production on Kerfew's 'Om Shanti' is so close to the arousing, influential, inspirational genius Sawhney demonstrated years back.
Being a British Asian rapper demands a hell of a lot of focus and flow to get some serious recognition. And although the flow could do with a bit of work, the focus and the competence this guy is throwing out is totally on point.
So here's your proof people. While the BNP and the BPP name their cats Kitler and yell in their minute numbers about some 'cleansed' empty, bland land. The hip hop scene is remaining diverse, open minded and embracing everything positive and proficient our country has to offer.
The track "Race" is about accepting where you're from and embracing where's you're at. It's about holding true to your roots and expressing yourself in the entirety of who you are. "I refrain from believing what others believe, I think of my own because at the doors of Heaven I'll be alone".
"Om Shanti" is this moreish mix of traditional Indian samples and original Kerfew angles. "3rd World" is a much needed wake up call. "Let the third world be free, take the shackles of her feet, let her breath". This common, yet still haunting personification of the third world reminds us of how the people suffering are as human as we are. And they feel pain as we do. If that doesn't make you feel a tad uncomfortable when you have your next meal or buy your next pair of Nike Airs. Then peace and purpose are beyond you. Switch off now.
Both collaborations with 1st Blood are still deep, but in a closer to home way. "Where There's a Will There's a Way" is a true to home, on your doorstep reality track. Dealing with the likes of internet grooming and personal defeat. 1st Blood has such a smooth intense voice he gold plates the track from his first note. "I Pray" is a proclamation to God. A moving and emotive piece of music.
With Swift 89 on "Skylarking", Kerfew is yet again showing his confidence in his own skin to remain true to self in any track. Swift 89 is brusque and candid in a rougher way. Making me prefer Kerfew's lines slightly more.
Kerfew may be secure but he can come off as trying too hard to remind us of that. Making him slightly less approachable. All else aside, "Longest Day", featuring Shakedown is well constructed and adequately arranged piece of music.
"Om Shanti" rises above many other mixtapes on the production front, but has slightly too much detracting confidence that no doubt, time will tame for this strong willed MC.