When We’re Not Outside, Take Care of In:Side

One of the few redeeming aspects of the year 2020 was the emergence of Runkus as a force to be reckoned with at the forefront of Jamaica’s vibrant music scene. As with many so-called “overnight success” stories, most of the rise of this multitalented singer, deejay, rapper, and producer has occurred under the radar. Or, as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow so memorably put it:

The heights by great men reached and kept
      Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
      Were toiling upward in the night.

Back in the Christmas season of 2014, Runkus popped up on the Reshma B Chains pop-up shop at Manor Park Plaza in Kingston. Identifying himself as “Paula’s son, aka Determine bwoy, aka Joyce grandson, aka Pam nephew” the tall, slim dreadlocks youth with a wide-brimmed hat proceeded to unleash a lyrical barrage alternating between dreamy spliff-fueled melodies and furious fast-chat syllables that promised greater things to come. Flash forward to this past November, when Runkus rolled out his witty “Quarantine Slide” visuals with Boomshots. Today he blesses us with a full album on the Delicious Vinyl Island label, aptly entitled IN:SIDE. “The project came about simply from the times,” says the artist and producer who lists Missy Elliott, Timbaland, and Vybz Kartel—not to mention his brilliantly inventive father Determine—as musical influences. “Being locked down in my home city, Portmore, under order of the Government,” he says, “I took to the only thing I knew, music. In a trying time, it was my salvation.” Album & Videos After The Jump… 

The 10-track set includes the hit single “5Gz,” which features the talents of Jesse Royal, Kabaka Pyramid, Royal Blu, and Munga Honorable, as well as “Everybody Going Live” featuring Naomi Cowan and the uplifting single “Make it Breathe” featuring Singy Singy hisemlf, Tarrus Riley. From start to finish, Runkus’ debut album announces the arrival of an important new voice in Jamaican music. Shall we call it Reggae? Dancehall? Traphall? Hip Hop? Island Pop? Let the listener decide—and let us know in the comments. Whatver label you may affix to IN:SIDE, this is the sound of young Jamaica at the outset of 2021.

Producers on the project include Runkus himself alongside @walshyfire @iotosh @yo.christon @universvlzincfence @crateclassics  @jevaughn_alpha_jones @_thekoastalkings @week.day @smartkidrecords @wizicalmusic @itzmeltin
The striking cover art was created by @solasink_
with creative direction by Runkus and photography by @cedestial

Interspersed amongst the music are spoken-word interludes from the artist and members of his community such as Pablo, whom Runkus describes as a “voice of the people.” A documentary called IN:SIDE Portmore is also in the works, which will provide further insight into the environment that shaped Runkus to become the artist he is today. “The inspiration came from the thought that the world is collectively going through the same thing, at the same time,” says Runkus. “So this is me urging everyone while we’re stuck inside, that we take care of IN:SIDE (ourselves). It’s a special time, a renewal if you may, of the earth, of spirit and soforth. And this project was inspired by that. I hope it makes my Gs take care of IN:SIDE while inside you know… Don’t gain the world and lose your soul.”

Stream Runkus’ New Album IN:SIDE

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