For many their first introduction to Allan Kingdom was being witness to him join Kanye West on stage at the BRIT awards. As the blusterous ‘All Day’ crashes out surrounded by giant flame throwers and a supporting mob, we find Allan Kingdom stepping out to the front to sing his melodious chant of the chorus which completes ‘All Day’.
At the age of only 22 and with only two releases at that point in time, Allan didn’t look the slightest bit out of place. Allan has since captured a huge amount of attention, but doesn’t show any signs of straying from what got him a Kanye co sign in the first place, his individualism. Priding himself on staying true to his own, on ‘Northern Lights’ Allan has created a new place of existence, his own kingdom.
‘All Day’ proved Allan’s off beat but infectious melodies are a winning formula, yet the sounds and sonics of Northern Lights are a far cry from the flashy lights of the BRIT Awards. Allan was born in Winnipeg and spent the rest of youth moving around the south and of Canada and eventually Northern America. Surrounded by forests and lavish settings, it’s clear Allan’s influences and inspirations are very much left field from the accustom skyscrapers and flashy cars we have come to know in Hip Hop. On the opening track ‘Ride’ we find Allan gliding over floating synths and keys in almost perpetual motion, pronouncing “Ye told me drive slow, but ain’t nobody say homie fly low, So now I’m bout to take you high as ever.” As the album continues, Allan continues to keep people guessing. Allan is very much a rapper of the modern era, seemingly being able to slide from rapping to singing with such ease and flare, which he perfectly showcases on ‘Hypocrite’. A huge part in the enjoyment of ‘Northen Lights’ is that you never really know what it is you’re listening to. Synths and base lines become entangled in Allan’s voice, merging into a perfect cluster. Nothing is distinguishable or definable in ‘Northern Lights’, and thats exactly why it works.
While Allan only started working with Kanye last year, his talents were noticed some time before by a certain member of the Kanye camp. Plain Pat has been credited for kicking off the early careers of Kanye West and Kid Cudi, and he’s been working closely with Allan for some time now. Having worked on his last release ‘Future Memoirs’, Plain Pat is again at the centrefold of ‘Northern Lights’. Producing a number of tracks on the album in collaboration with Allan himself, the two have struck up quite a relationship. ‘Believe’ being a perfect example of that relationship working. Sparse guitar strings and bouncing keys intertwine with Allan’s almost alien flow. A highlight of the album is the Plain Pat assisted ‘Renovate’. Allan is joined by D.R.A.M and the two showcase both showcase their individualistic talents as Plain Pat paints a world for them to explore. If Plain Pat’s track record proves anything, the stars are beginning to align for Allan Kingdom.
Having stepped out of the forest and into the limelight, the pressure was certainly on Allan. Yet instead of rushing something out in the hope to keep the blogs and critics attention, Allan kept doing it the only way he knows – his own way. ‘Northern Lights’ finds Allan in his own world, devoid of any trends or gimmicks. It’s in this isolation that Allan continues to grow. Still surrounded by the trees and the open skies, Allan is looking up to the Northern Lights, able to see something we all can’t.