ONE TO WATCH: Theodor Black

With a woozy concoction of alternative jazz and effusively sentimental rap, the South London wordsmith has ambled provocatively into the fore, admonishing the underbelly of racism and violence that runs unperturbed through the streets of the UK.



Formerly a donateur to the Reservoir collective, Black carries the esteemed label of being one of the capitals most progressive creatives, and like all good things; he comes in threes.

Abstract, dexterous and always off-kilter, a trinity of adjectives that do their best to cover the breadth of his artistry but don’t quite cut the mustard. Condiments aside, his healthy smattering of alternative hip-hop adheres to the unembellished facts, refusing to sing from the hymn sheet of regularity. From shades of lo-fi, to an eclectic fusion of jazz and dark wave, his tenacious journey of soul-searching and experimentation led to his most esteemed body of work yet, coming in the form of the sizzling seven track oeuvre ‘Garçon‘.

Administering a sanguine flow that breathes with a refreshing sense of originality, the record borrows its name from the French for ‘boy, servant‘ or the more suitably archaic definition ‘servant of low status‘. Its investigative mien recounts the disparity between black and white culture, most notably the toxicity and currency of privilege within society. Inspired by Matthieu Kassovitz’s 1995 film ‘La Haine’, the enthralling tonality accompanies a moodily shot greyscale campaign of press shots and videos; neo noir never looked so eerily ostentatious.



Though there is a rawness and nuance of pique in his craftsmanship, Black’s bark is definitively worse than his bite. Behind the microphone he cuts a calmness and composure that you wouldn’t associate with the zesty and zealous fruit of his labour. After the critical and commercial acclaim of ‘Garçon‘, the sustained attention of the underground scene had its insatiable appetite nourished by the reveal of an unreleased project through Soundcloud.

“IN ABSENCE OF THE SUN” is in his own words:

the soundscape to a certain period of time that I feel like I never got to share, most of the songs I can date back to at least two years, its a body of work to lounge to whilst I work on my next project.

They say form is temporary and class is permanent, but what exactly is form? How do you acquire it? And how do you keep it? Some will never find the answer to that question, but with his imposing aura and impressive level of empiricism, the poet from south of the river has understood the saying with complete dexterity.

The hype is real, palpable and fully justified, so I guess good things really do come in threes.


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