Düsseldorf based left-field rap artist The Last Kobayashi shared his brand new visual for Is It Me or Is It You?, which is lifted debut mixtape ‘Burning Down Babylon’ (out now). It’s a powerful, experimental confessional piece peppered with nods to fellow luminaries Joey Bada$$, Mos Def and MF Doom, exploring what it means to be alive in our turbulent times.
Lead single Is It Me Or Is It You? is a comment on British politics and culture, past and present. References to the windrush scandal are forced to hold hands with images of drunken bankers attempting to buy their way into warehouse parties in the wee hours. In the hook, our protagonist barks into space a rhetorical indictment of the Western world. As the needs of the few are catered for, the innocent pay for the comforts of the rich with their lives. More questions than answers remain: whose fault is all this, and who will bring about a change?
He says: “With this song, I wanted to bring a child’s eye to serious issues. Complexity is used as a veil by people who are afraid of seeing the truth. The trick lies in letting your intuition guide you. That is why understanding who you are is the highest order of the land whether in the playpen or the House of Commons.”
Check out the Video clip for Is It Me Or Is It You? via YouTube below.
The brainchild of Stefan Petcov, this debut mixtape tells the story of his battle with depression and a generation’s pursuit of higher purpose. He explains: “This mixtape was born in the depths of my personal hell. To say I poured my soul into it would be an understatement. I sacrificed the life I had, many, many relationships, and an oppressive belief system to create something that would forever make me proud. Hopefully it will help other people who feel like they are not enough know that they are wrong, and that they are not alone.”
Born in Germany to Romanian parents who fled their home as political refugees in the 1980s, Stefan was educated at international schools, a nomadic experience that further eroded his sense of geopolitical belonging. After studying history, briefly chasing careers in law and digital marketing, he found his calling penning lyrics, which evoke his experiences as a young man navigating the uncharted waters of the age of post-truth.
Much like his self-imposed status as stateless citizen, Petcov’s outsiderdom also extends to his music. Unlike most rappers who sharpen their rhymes as part of a scene, Stefan built himself a vocal booth made from egg cartons collected at a local market and developed his own set of oblique storytelling techniques inspired by the likes of William S. Burroughs and Dan Harmon, the creator of ‘Rick and Morty.’
‘Burning Down Babylon’ is the first part of a mixtape trilogy forged in the guest bedroom of his childhood home. The three tapes are set to be released over the remainder of this year via his own label, Arrhythmic Records.
Taking his place in the canon of street poets who use lyrics as building blocks to share windows into their world, The Last Kobayashi presents himself as an inordinately skilful and thought-provoking MC by way of this thrilling debut.
For more information on The Last Kobayashi, visit thelastkobayashi.com.