In today’s age, technology has flooded our lives with content. Caught in the mire are modern musicians who champion an art form that’s more widely distributed than any other throughout human history. And we, more often than not, overlook the music created by unfamiliar faces because it’s challenging. We’d rather have an easy listen, a known quantity to skim through while we think about something else.
Hearing is easy, but listening is difficult. Welcome to “Why We Like It,” where we rebuke the trends in favor of thoughtful analysis and underknown sounds.
“So Far, So Close” — Kolo
How We Found It
It’s been a long time coming for 26-year-old Nigerian-American and Atlanta wordsmith Kolo to land his spot in our Why We Like It series. I’ve been keeping a close watch since his 2020 project, The Last Manifesto, where he made a pointed statement about the treatment and consumption of Black art in America. He followed the project with a 50 freestyle run of live recordings on Audiomack and a 2021 EP, The Basement Files, Vol.3. Of the latter, “So Far, So Close” stood out for the strength of Kolo’s flow and the raw emotion of the soul-bearing track.
Why We Like It
After The Last Manifesto, it’s clear that Kolo has a very pointed pen when inking his artistic intentions and aspirations. While the 2020 project explored many of the external factors of how the world handles art, “So Far, So Close” sees the emcee piecing together his personal philosophy and experience to extrapolate his own understanding of creating.
Over a gentle run of ivory notes that underpin the track, Kolo lays the hook. “The world ain’t got locked doors / You lookin’ for the keys when the path been instinct-driven,” he raps. The advice comes from a man focused on keeping it pushing. Prolific doesn’t even do the emcee justice. Working at the pace of more than a verse a week across YouTube and streaming platforms since 2019, the rising indie artist wears his moniker, “the greatest rapper who never made it,” with pride. Kolo grabs the mic not because he’s assured of success, but because he’s driven to do it.
Towards the end of the first verse, he discloses a significant inspiration for his drive to move:
I would nevеr leave the housе, I’m pro-contentment and antisocial / I would only talk to my Mom, she told me, ‘you can’t stay on this sofa’ / Gotta get out of the Boro, the city’s too small your dreams ain’t local.” – Kolo, “So Far, So Close”
At first, it’s easy to lose the significance of the details relayed in the verse as Kolo’s flow steals the next stanza. But as the second verse begins to dive into the loss of his mother to cancer, the hook echos a little deeper: “And even you when you low / The high is near, but your sight can’t keep drifting.” When there’s so much going on, it’s easy to lose yourself when looking too far ahead.
Emotion and mind state are of a fluid substance. That’s why I’m amazed at the ability of music to freeze the above in time. This is where Kolo excels — with his head down and feet steadily moving forward, the wordsmith truly sits in each moment he crafts around. Even when confronted with the many obstacles of life, he maintains the pace with a steady faith expressed by, “I was tryna find where the angels are / Not one in sight, they were pro’lly wearing camouflage.” He says they were probably wearing camouflage. He’s still not sure, but he moves forward with the confidence of blessings not needed.
“You only see the finish line when you an inch from it” Why can’t we see it during the journey?
Kolo: I see it two ways. One way is that as people, myself included, we tend not to value the progress we make until we are super close to finishing the goal. It might be a way of managing expectations and protecting myself from being hurt by the possibility of failure. I also think it’s a way of making sure you don’t get too comfortable or satisfied before the job is complete.
Another way that I see it is that the journey requires immersion. Being immersed in your purpose requires you to focus on the things you can do today rather than obsessing over the bigger picture. If you are focused on the everyday goals of the present, the finish line won’t be in view. It just pops on when you finally get to your destination.
More From Kolo
“So Far, So Close” is my favorite song off of Kolo’s new EP, The Basement Files, Vol. 3. I also highly recommend his 2020 album, The Last Manifesto. To keep up with Kolo and his future releases, follow the artist on Twitter.
More to Discover
Subscribe to the CentralSauce mailing list so you never miss out on the freshest sauce. Check out this continuously updated playlist of songs Brandon has added to our Discovery section! Each track or artist has been featured in our “Why We Like It” section, so be sure to check out the page here on the site.