Ultra_Eko is a South London Alternative Hip-Hop artist. He may be new to the music scene but he emerges from a lifetime of creative exploration. A writer, a poet and the definitive enigmatic character. His story, like his music, is full of mystery, colorful scenes and likely hyperbole throughout.
As the legend goes, Ultra_Eko originally came to prominence as part of something called the ‘Croydon Space Exploration’ program. In that capacity he was formally appointed as emissary and ambassador to the human race with a message of peace and rampant consumerism. However that manifested itself, the program ended in scandal. The emissary retreated and, “slipped into a transformative state, hidden away beneath the West Croydon train station.”
In 2019, Ultra_eko emerged as a newly born artistic force. He began dropping singles like his life depended on it. In under two years he has produced no less than 30 singles, an EP and two albums. Although his primary genre is Hip-Hop he holds no particular fidelity to any specific style of music. His tracks veer as often into Rock, EDM and Pop as they do Rap.
“Alternate Realities” is Ultra_eko’s latest full length album, released November 16, 2020. The fifteen track collection is an excellent representation of the artist’s sizable talent as well as his broad range of styles and interest. Stylistically the record moves through the decades and across the aisles of popular music. The opening track is built on a very modern Hip-hop beat with Trap hi-hats and the rapper’s rapid-fire stream of consciousness style on full display. From there though, the album shifts gears with every track. Although the musical genres vary throughout, Ultra_eko’s distinctive rapping style and clever wordplay function as the common denominator, the glue that holds it all together.
Deep House grooves (“For Whom the Bell Tolls, “Always On My Mind”) meet Indie Rock bops (“Keep Busy”) and Disco Funk jams (“Cash Money Moolah,” “Pingu”). The tracks are built on a mix of samples and live instrumentation. Many times throughout the record he dips into classic UK Alternative Rock for inspiration. For instance, “Usurped King” sounds like a long lost song by The Smiths, and on more than one occasion Eko borrows from the Dave Wakeling bag of tricks. “Girl From Round the Way” for example could easily have come from the General Public songbook. He even plays around a bit with Trip-Hop on the Tricky inspired “Day Tripper.”
Lyrically, Ultra_eko tells tales of the real world struggles that people must suffer each day. He pulls from his own childhood on tracks like “Halo” and “My Old Man.” He raps and sings regretfully of adult mistakes he’s made in life and love (“WTF Wifi Wifey”). And he examines the troubles that we all face on tracks like “A Bloody Struggle” and the excellent “Keep Busy.” Amidst his many words, Eko drops pop culture and musical references to everyone from Sex Pistols to Robert DeNiro and The Killers. He is an equally skilled writer, rapper and singer which makes for an exciting and thoroughly entertaining listen.
Check out the lyric video for “Keep Busy,” above. You can also hear Ultra_eko songs on both the Deep Indie Dive and Deep Indie Beat playlists. Click the links below to connect with this complex and versatile artist. Follow along as he furthers his adventure.