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PREMIERE: Listen to "Namesake," the First Track off Tunde Olaniran's Upcoming Debut Album

The Detroit artist's first full-length album, 'Transgressor,' is out August 7.


Photo courtesy of Tunde Olaniran

Tunde Olaniran's 2014 EP Yung Archetype came to me out of nowhere, and it was a refreshing jolt of unpredictability, throwing together sounds from all over the musical canon and offering incisive, often funny takes on race, masculinity, the internet, and just about any other topic it could cram into its five tracks. Olaniran also impressed me when I saw him live a few months later, where he put on an elaborate budget pop star show complete with dancers and costume changes—far beyond the production values of most shows to grace the modest venue where it was held. With his ambitious, far-ranging vision and knack for visual flair—he has mentioned in interviews that he used to be known for keeping a fog machine in his trunk—Olaniran is someone who I have been checking for ever since.

And now he's putting out an album! It's called Transgressor, and I'm excited to announce it's out August 7 on Quite Scientific. Today, he's sharing the first song, "Namesake," which takes a similar charged, jarring synth palette to Kanye West's Yeezus and pairs it with Olaniran's typically quippy sing-song. His lyrics tackle personal growth with lines about being black in London (Olaniran is of Nigerian descent, and he grew up in London, Germany, and Flint, Michigan), as well as punchlines such as "like Pakistan I seceded." It also showcases the raw power of Olaniran's voice, which is both majesterial and totally, relatably human on the hook of "If I can be me / then you can be yourself." How dope is that message, my friends?

Over email, Olaniran explained, "'Namesake' is an emotional journey for me, and the energy of the track doesn't travel in a straight line. It explodes, then simmers, then crackles, then gets white hot. It's a reflection of how [I'm] choosing to exist in this world."

Check out the cover art for Transgressor below (and pre-order here), along with a few upcoming live dates. August 7 is soon! Get excited. If Olaniran's existing output is any indication, Transgressor is going to be wild and crazy and awesome. Check out the art, along with "Namesake," below:

Tunde Olaniran upcoming live dates:

Jun 27 – Flint, MI – Flint Pride in the Park @ Riverfront Park
Aug 15 – Brooklyn, NY – MoCADA's 5th Annual Soul of BK Festival @ Herbert Von King Park

Follow Kyle Kramer on Twitter.