November 22nd, 3:30 A.M(ish). I drunkenly stumble out of Lola, an NYC Lower East-Side nightclub.
As I walk out of my world of hedonism and strobe lights, I see an altercation going on between two guys. One of them has a lot of attitude. He’s in the other guy’s face, and through a British accent growls, “I CAN PAY YER MUTHA’S RENT!”(I would later find out that the Brit threw $1 bills at the other guy like he was a cheap stripper. Nice touch).
At the time, I had no fucking clue what was going on. Frankly, all I could think about was the Uber back and my bed, not a stranger’s mom’s expenses. The next day, my friend Kidus would tell me that the guy outside of the club with all of that punk energy was Bakar.
And what a fucking punk he is. Bakar, also known as the Bad Kid, exists at the intersection of punk, rock n’ roll, hip hop, and indie alternative music.
I could delve into his eclectic array of musical inspiration, ranging from Gorillaz to King Krule to Jay Z.
I could tell you how he got sent off to boarding school at the age of 14 by his mother, “just for being a cunt.”
I could tell you that he was flatmates with Hector Bellerin, a model for Louis Vuitton and Virgil Abloh, endorsed by Elton John… I could tell you a bunch of fucking shit about this guy.
But honestly someone way more qualified and talented than me already did the work for me, here’s a link: Bakar Interview for Clash Music.
Instead, I’d rather use my artist spotlight to tell you how a guy who happened to be at the same club at the same time as me has become one of my favorite emerging artists and why you should quit your bullshit and give him a listen.
What mood are you in right now?
Are you trying to rage and bump your head while comparing your ex to a creature of the night? Bump “Dracula”.
Are you trying to have a picnic with your friends, spark up, and enjoy nature n’ shit? Bump “Hell n’ Back”.
Are you about to embark on a night of drugs, drinking, and clubbing? Bump “Sober”.
You get the fucking point. Bakar’s versatility across genres is something unrivalled on today’s scene. Even within one song, you’ll be on an emotional rollercoaster.
Take his 2019 single Chill. Here, I’ll drop the Spotify AND Apple Music for this one, incase you are falling behind.
The song opens with a melancholy tone, as an overworked Bakar struggles to find peace of mind with his current girl amidst her substance abuse issues. All the man wants to do is chill and he demands an explanation as to why he can’t!
He then shifts to reminiscing about how far he has come, recalling times when nobody believed in him. Except for one girl who did, who he couldn’t bring himself to care for properly.
Bummer, right? Until Bakar shifts the tone to an upbeat indie banger, altering the chorus from a melancholic longing to an upbeat and carefree tone.
A brief instrumental interlude follows, and… BAM!
An explosion of punk energy that will have you (and by you I mean me) yelling and bumping your head in the mirror.
That was all in one fucking song.
Now multiply that by the number of tracks on his debut mixtape Bad Kid, his EP Will You Be My Yellow?, and for the more dedicated reader, a series of singles and features scattered across the corners of Soundcloud.
If you’re bad at math, that’s a lot more fucking bangers than we deserve.
On a more personal note, Bakar served as the soundtrack for my first year at college. Following our brief semi-encounter with the Bad Kid, my friends and I immediately swarmed to his music.
I remember Kidus showing me my first song Dracula, telling me he had a song he knew I would fuck with. It made me happy that a friend of a few months could know me so well. I remember dancing to Chill on the cold streets of New York months later with some of my best friends after we, “mixed a lot of drugs n’ a lot of love.”
Now, in quarantine, listening to Bakar makes me remember New York fondly.
Growing up, I felt like I had 1,000 personalities. Sometimes, I was a punk renegade. Sometimes, an angsty teen struggling with mental health issues. Sometimes a happy wannabe artsy boy.
And depending on my moods, I’d have to switch from artist to artist.
Until I heard some British guy yell that he could pay some broke fuck’s mom’s rent. Now, I’ve found an artist whose sound can reflect multiple aspects of the human experience.
And, thanks to me, you have too.
Now fuck off before I pay your mother’s rent.