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Style Hero: Kojey Radical

Style Hero: Kojey Radical

A multi-hyphenate creative from London’s East End, Kojey Radical is the rapper, poet and artist blowing up your headphones with music that confronts issues of race, class, identity and politics. His experimental sound ranges from grime to spoken word to hip hop and rap, capturing the raw energy of his urban home and the dissatisfaction of his millennial listeners. Born Kwadwo Adu Genfi Amponsah, Kojey’s electric performances set crowds ablaze when he’s on stage spitting on weighty issues to an audience that has a palpable connection with this socially conscious artist.

Having studied at London College of Fashion before going on to become the capital’s hottest new musical talent, Kojey’s wardrobe is, for want of a better word, fire. Enough to get even the most seasoned fashion editor hot under the collar, he came to our GQ Heroes event last month in a selection of Gucci, Kenzo and Alexander McQueen. You can see the looks he served up below – enough to crown King Kojey (as he’s referred to in some circles) one of our Style Heroes. We caught up with the artist to talk Outkast, being human and why his mum is his biggest hero.

Musician Kojey Radical stood on a wall in a country lane on a sunny day wearing a red silk short sleeved Gucci shirt, a pair of black Gucci trousers and white chunky Alexander McQueen trainers
Musician Kojey Radical stood on a wall in a country lane on a sunny day wearing a red silk short sleeved Gucci shirt, a pair of black Gucci trousers and white chunky Alexander McQueen trainers


In a nutshell, tell us where you’re from and what you do.

Hey, my name is Kojey Radical. I am an artist, poet and musician from East London and I change the world day by day.

You have a background in fashion with a BA from LCF. How has this informed the way you see and wear fashion?

It’s given me a much deeper insight into the industry and a better vocabulary for describing fashion. I think studying there helped cover a love I had for a very long time, since I was a kid.

Growing up, who was your hero and why?

Growing up my hero was my mum ‘cause I saw her work super hard and make a million sacrifices, and really that is the basis and the essence of being a hero.

Musician Kojey Radical stood on a wall and shading his eyes from the sun in a country lane on a sunny day wearing a red silk short sleeved Gucci shirt, a pair of black Gucci trousers and white chunky Alexander McQueen trainers
Musician Kojey Radical stood on a wall and shading his eyes from the sun in a country lane on a sunny day wearing a red silk short sleeved Gucci shirt, a pair of black Gucci trousers and white chunky Alexander McQueen trainers


Who are your style icons?

Pharrell, André 3000 and Jaden Smith

Not all heroes wear capes – what’s the most heroic thing you’ve ever done?

Followed a dream. Following a dream can be super difficult, super hard, it ain’t ever gonna be easy. The moment you decide to do something, that’s all it takes to make you a hero in my eyes.

You once told the Evening Standard that we’re all born with super powers. What did you mean by that and what are yours?

We all have an ability that is out of the ordinary and its doesn’t necessarily show up straight away. You have to see it, harness it, manifest it and practice it, but the super power can be anything. That super power could be music, could be art, could be hairdressing, juggling, swimming. It could be whatever it is that you’re good at, but that is your super power and you have to make it worth it.

Musician Kojey Radical stood in the countryside in front of a field zipping up a navy blue jacquard printed Kenzo track top
Musician Kojey Radical stood in the countryside in front of a field zipping up a navy blue jacquard printed Kenzo track top


How would you define modern day ‘heroism’?

I would describe it as an everyday person getting up and doing what they need to do in order to survive.

Race, gender, religion, mental health: you tackle some of the biggest issues facing society with your art head on. How do you find the courage to speak up?

It comes in winds. Sometimes the wind blows and I feel confident enough to face those issues and speak up on them, and sometimes I don’t. But that’s just a part of being human. Fear is fine and bravery is admired. Accept your fear and be brave.

Musician Kojey Radical stood in the countryside in front of a field holding the collar of a navy blue jacquard printed Kenzo track top over his mouth, also wearing matching Kenzo track pants and white chunky Valentino Bansai trainers
Musician Kojey Radical stood in the countryside in front of a field holding the collar of a navy blue jacquard printed Kenzo track top over his mouth, also wearing matching Kenzo track pants and white chunky Valentino Bansai trainers


QUICKFIRE ROUND:

Three words your friends would use to describe you?

Annoying but lovable, perfectionist.

Your favourite superhero?

Batman.

The best cure for creative block?

A holiday.

Biggest lie you ever told?

That the cure for a creative block is simply a holiday.

Favourite place on earth?

Johannesburg.

Favourite album?

OutKast’s The Love Below.

Best advice anyone has ever given you?

Keep going.

Photography: Matthew Brann, Words: Florence Trott