Ultra_eko paints a colourful portrait of his South London neighbourhood with his latest single and video Yellow Redux — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
The first single from the ascendant hip-hop artist’s upcoming album Off The Grid, the melodic and immediate Yellow Redux sports funky guitars, lush synths, and clanging keys — all the better to showcase the artist’s precise vocal flow and lyrical wit. Spurts of brass infectiously accompany this dazzling arsenal, building to a fun, bass-heavy title hook at the track’s mid-point.
“The inspiration for the characters in Yellow Redux comes from my own family and upbringing,” Ultra_eko explains, “and there is a real South London stamp on this track, especially in terms of some of the London colloquialisms used:
“Clout round the ear ‘ole: A smack to the side of the head, something I was forever threatened with by my mother as a boy. The words ear and hole would always be joined together, so it sounds more like ‘ear roll.’ The dropping of the ‘H’ is standard when it comes to the London accent.
“Wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole: Would not go near something, would not even touch it with a long pole.
“Mum’s having kittens: To get very upset or worried. It’s the British equivalent to the U.S. saying, ‘having a cow.’ Apparently, it originates from an old belief that when someone had very bad stomach pains, it felt as though kittens were clawing the inside of the stomach!
“But all she got given was a mouthful: Having someone speak to you with very explicit and offensive language. Another commonly used phrase I would hear used by my mother as a child.
“The track also features a spiritual vibe and includes one of my favourite rhymes I have written:
This illusion of us being individuals,
Is like a wave breaking on the ocean’s surface;
Just a brief moment of separation
Where you form a shape of your own
Before returning to the source to reform.
“Finally, did you know? There’s no such colour as ‘dark yellow.’ Probably worth a Google.”
As is Ultra_eko. While his sound would certainly be classed as hip-hop, it is not fuelled by cliche or convention. Rather, it showcases the unique voice of this self-professed storyteller, whose powerful writing and vision shines through every track. His passion is evident and he has a story to tell, a journey upon which to take his listeners and hold them captive. His tales are often dark, touching on regret, struggles between conflicted lovers, breakdowns in relationships, the difficulties of understanding ourselves and our place in the modern world. There is a depth and authenticity to his work that springs from his own wealth of experience. Born and raised in South London, Ultra_eko has spent his life among the people of whom he writes. His colourful and dramatic existence as a market trader, pro gambler, and bootlegger — along with other trades — is a main source of inspiration.