Jazz Duo CoN&KwAkE Announce Debut Album Eyes In The Tower




Out May 27th, 2022

Confucius MC and Kwake Bass

Title Track Out Today

Latest Signing To Shabaka Hutchings’ Label 

Native Rebel Recordings


After dropping their debut single ‘C.N.S (City Never Stops)’ the sublime jazz duo CoN&KwAkE today announce details of their debut album ‘Eyes In The Tower’ – May 17th and the second release from Native Rebel Recordings – the record label from cultural instigator Shabaka Hutchings of Sons of KemetThe Comet Is Coming and Shabaka and the Ancestors

A uniquely London evolution of classic hip hop, Confucius MC and Kwake Bass have provided a record of sheer class that brings through lineages of jazz and sees saxophone, drums, piano and double bass freestyle as powerfully as the lyrics.



Of the announcement of their debut record, the pair say; “It’s truly a blessing to be able to share this work with the world. The whole process from the initial writing through to the post-production has definitely been a guiding light during these dark and strange times.

It is the second release on Hutchings’ Native Rebel Recordings, where he invites friends and family to RAK Studios improvise around sketches he’s written specifically for the invited artists. The first release was Chelsea Carmichael’s bold and expressive ‘The River Doesn’t Like Strangers’, and like that release, CoN&KwAkE’s debut record will contain evocative photography by Native Rebel’s in-house visualiser Adama Jalloh. It was mixed by Dill Harris and mastered by Guy Davy at Electric Master London.

Of the signing, Shabaka Hutchings adds; “I’ve been following the musical journey of Con and Kwake for around 15 years, so it was my pleasure to invite them into the studio to create this album. They’ve consistently managed to navigate the hip hop realm with an artistic integrity and creativity that places them at the forefront to the British contribution to this art form.

The album explores the themes of surveillance, city life and its many divisions, but it’s also in many ways a response to the time in which it was recorded, referencing The Panopticon, a conceptual design by 18th century philosopher and social reformer, Jeremy Bentham. “For its size, London is perhaps the most under surveillance stretch of land in the western world,” the duo say. “The sense that you’re being observed is ever present; and as much as the title track  implies that we’re being watched, it’s also about how much of the watching/compiling of data we do ourselves.”



These two have spent years making things happen from the sidelines. Con has been embedded in UK hip hop since the early 2000s and spent over a decade as an educator in a primary school, which involved running Rap Club, where he’d bring artists like Kwake’s Speakers Corner Quartet to meet the children. The club included pre-teen versions of Jesse James Solomon and Loski. Back in 2013 Con was the support of choice for Mos Def, and this year he was touring with UK hip hop stalwart Jehst.

Kwake is, among many other things, Musical Director for Sampha and Kae Tempest. Back in 2006 he turned his beat-making into live drums for Speakers Corner Quartet, the house band at the much-missed Brixton open mic night of the same name. He got back behind the drum kit when he was 21 and has become the player of choice for travelling US heavyweights, playing with MF DoomJeru Tha Damaja and Joey Bada$$ as well as Lianne La Havas and Mica Levi.

The duo bring their histories with them. They hold the centre of this phenomenal recording, interpreting Shabaka Hutchings’ sketches on the fly with Shabaka using hip hop MCs’ phrasings to inform his horn licks.

Keep your ears open, this is just the start of something very special indeed.