Make no mistake about it; Mixing Hip Hop with New Age music is extremely difficult. The two genres are radically different. Yet Canadian artist Kosmic T makes this eclectic mix seem like the most natural thing in the world. On his upcoming album Freedom Fire, he pushes the boundaries that he himself established on his previous albums. His genre-defying style is fresher, sharper and more relevant than ever. It is an effective antidote against all the negative news we receive every day, a fire to warm the soul. Freedom Fire is, without a doubt, one of the most important albums of the year, it is hope.
Freedom Fire launch date is June 21st 2022.
Tanin Shunter grew up in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. He comes from a musical family; His brother, dad, uncles, and grandparents are all musicians. Tanin’s first Hip Hop group began at the age of 15, called “Lokal Motif”. One of their songs – “Back Home” – has had almost 500k plays on Spotify and 100k plays on Youtube. The band split up after a few years. Tanin had a profound spiritual awakening (and sobering car accident) in his early 20s. He has been apprenticing with the Pachakuti Mesa tradition (PMT) – earth honoring wisdom way from Peru – for the last seven years.
Tanin debuted as Kosmic T with Seeds of Light in 2015, and Rise of the New Earth followed in 2021. About the album, I wrote that: “Listening to Kosmic T’s Rise Of The New Earth I’m reminded that conscious Hip Hop and New Age music have one thing in common; both genres are forever linked to the late 1980s. Hip Hop evolved into being about girls, money, and materialism, while New Age music of the 1990s became soft and “Pan Pipe Moods” pretty. Kosmic T seems to singlehandedly revive both genres and make them relevant for young people everywhere. Even not-so-young people like myself have a lot to learn here. It is both deeply inspiring and profoundly hopeful.”
Kosmic T has been offering outdoor children’s music workshops and outdoor nature programs for youth for the last five years. He recently moved on a new piece of land with friends and started a retreat center dedicated to the manifestation of the New Earth called Star River Sanctuary, where Freedom Fire was recorded.
The album is available on Bandcamp:
Spirit of the Land
The album opener is called Spirit of the Land. It is amazing how fast Kosmic T establishes a connection with the listener. In less than 30 seconds, we are introduced to his rap style, artistic expression and humanitarian mission, no less. Present are also the “wild and free” spirits, which are friendly and here to guide us along. Kosmic T’s wholesome style makes me take it all in without any hesitation. It is enigmatic and straightforward at the same time. Spirit of the Land is a terrific album opener!
Born of Ashes is a more reflective piece. It feels like a comment on the current state of the world and the problems we face every day. Deep down though, it is a song about community, faith and “walking together”. In short; a very timely message indeed. Then we take a stroll in nature on Cedar Prayers. The song also offers a metaphysical view on trees, and how positive change has to be planted in order to grow. Kosmic T works with many talented artists – Taseyah Davies, Zander Lamm, Robin Flynn and Lindsay Naad Kaur – which we get to hear throughout the album.
The title track is a quite hard-hitting hit piece, illustrating that change requires something from us. At the same time, it answers what freedom really is and the difference between our mortal bodies and immortal souls. It is deeply inspiring! Temple Within further refines this idea. I love its mysterious sound. It is a really catchy song, and I find myself putting it on replay again and again.
To me, the best track on the album is Wisdom Ways. The introduction is sublime, perfect even. The “I am” is very empowering. The song showcases all aspects of Kosmic T’s talent; the well-crafted melody, the hard-hitting yet friendly rapping, the satisfying build-up and interesting and enigmatic storytelling.
The album is also on Soundcloud:
Only the People
The different concepts of freedom is, as indicated by the title, what this album is all about. Only the People and Smoke and Mirrors about the loss of freedom, polarization and class struggle. “The truth is that we gave our freedom away“ gives food for thought. Smoke and Mirrors takes the temperature on the current social and political situation – but Kosmic T’s belief in the good in humanity is luckily rock-solid.
Another winner is Bridger of the Great Divide. A more positive and hopeful song it is hard to find. If you feel low, put in on and you will instatly feel better. Indeed, the last part of the album is filled with very inspirational music. Moonlight Magic and Keepers of the Night bring, as indicated by the titles, a healthy dose of nighttime mystique. “The inner light is our only guide,” sings Kosmic T. The darkness suddenly seems less scary and in the shadows friendly forces are dwelling, waiting to guide us along. On Shine On Through and Obstacle Illusion Kosmic T shows what a rap god he really is, telling us what we need to do to establish a new and better world order. Freedom of Soul unveils the result; happiness, open hearts and freedom for all. It is a place where everyone can be themselves.
The album ends with stargazing. Children of the Stars focuses on our place in the cosmos. “We are traveling home,” sings Kosmic T. It is, like every one of the songs on this incredible release, unusual but relatable and astonishingly hopeful.
In conclusion: It is hard to review a release when there is really no other album out there just like it, except for the two other albums by the same artist. But instead of trying to compare Freedom Fire to others, it is better to simply enjoy it and be surprised by Kosmic T’s rapping, incredible songs, flawless arrangements and overall positivity.
I thought that Rise of the New Earth was amazing, but with Freedom Fire Kosmic T shows what he is capable of – singlehandedly creating a genre-defying expression and paving the way for other artists to follow in the unlikely mix of Hip Hop and New Age music. Songs like Spirit of the Land, Wisdom Ways, Bridger of the Great Divide and Children of the Stars instantly found their way to my private “all-time best” playlist. There is only one thing that I miss on the album – which I also noted on Rise of the New Earth – and that is an instrumental track or two. But that is the New Age music fan in me talking.
Uplifting and heart-warming, complex yet easy-going, Kosmic T has delivered his best album to date. It might sound like a cliché, but this is really an album that has the potential to change the world. May Freedom Fire be the beginning of something BIG!
For more information and music, visit Kosmic T on Bandcamp.