Jelani Blackman kickstarts his 2021 today with the incendiary new freestyle ‘Gone’ for SBTV’s Warm Up Sessions. The new offering comes in the wake of a breakthrough year that saw the West London rapper and singer tipped from all corners. Inclusions in Radio 1’s Next Wave, DIY’s Class of 2021 and Notion’s Ones To Watch followed a collab with Ghetts and Fraser T Smith, a 1Xtra TOTW, as well as what was widely recognised as one of COLORS Studios’ best sessions of 2020.
‘Gone (SBTV Freestyle)’ sees Jelani vent his frustrations at lockdown and the government’s handling of the pandemic, his unparalleled flow effortlessly switching tempo over a cold, panpipe-sampling beat that harks back to 2020 fan favourite ‘Hello’. “I wanna be gone, away from feeling trapped, and felt like getting some stuff off my chest. People are angry and sick of the situation and being lied to,” he explains.
Heavily influenced by r&b and soul, yet coming up at a time when Grime was everywhere, Jelani’s sound swerves stereotypes, blending the hard with the soft, the dark with the light; reflected in an impressively diverse rollcall of collaborators that spans from Brian Eno to Burna Boy and Wolf Alice to Big Zuu. His lofty list of supporters in 2020 included the likes of Annie Mac, DJ Target, Rickie and Melvin, Maya Jama, The Fader, Complex, Dummy, Nick Grimshaw, DIY, Notion and The Line of Best Fit, aided by celebrated sessions with COLORS, Charlie Sloth’s Fire In The Booth and Jack Saunders’ Next Wave on Radio 1. One of the most exciting, versatile and distinctive voices in the UK scene, 2021 is set to be Jelani Blackman’s year.