RAPPER, PRODUCER AND MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST SAM COTTON SHARES HIS DEBUT EP ‘AFTERS AT 109’
RAPPER, PRODUCER AND MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST SAM COTTON SHARES HIS DEBUT EP ‘AFTERS AT 109’ – LISTEN HERE
FEATURING THE FOCUS TRACK ‘COMMENT TU T’APPELLES?’
The 19-year-old rapper, producer and multi-instrumentalist Sam Cotton today builds upon his early tracks such as ‘Find My Way’ by releasing his debut EP ‘Afters At 109’, which is out now via AWAL. The EP’s six previously unreleased songs include the focus track ‘Comment Tu T’appelles?’. LISTEN HERE.
‘Afters At 109’ documents Sam’s experiences at his room in halls at university, which doubled up as the bedroom studio where this EP was recorded. After the parties, clubs and bars closed, friends, acquaintances and miscellaneous would often head back there to keep the festivities flowing until the small hours. Sometimes people would be drunk or passed out as smoke filled the room, sometimes late night films would flash by unnoticed as the backdrop to more intimate moments. These are all moments that Sam vividly captures throughout the EP.
Sam introduces ‘Afters At 109’ with its focus track and opener ‘Comment Tu T’appelles?’. It’s a snapshot of student life: youthful love, lust and partying along with observations of the ordinary life that slides alongside the big moments, from the local shopkeeper to late night cabs. Sam’s flow drops in references to Kano, Ned Flanders and Bob Marley, while the music sets jazzy after-hours piano to laidback hip-hop-meets-house beats. While Sam was drawing on Lil Simz and Mac Miller as influences, the track was constructed around a guitar loop which he wrote immediately after attending a lecture on harmonics.
Sam says, “I haven’t heard much jazz piano on house songs so thought this would be quite an intuitive and a good idea – and boy it was! The piano adds to the sexy/chill mood, somewhere in-between jazz bar and dance club. Someone said it was like walking down the beach at sunset and then entering a beachside bar halfway through.”
Elsewhere, the EP finds unity between Sam’s stream-of-consciousness rhymes and production which prioritises the richly textured warmth of live instrumentation. ‘Lights Off’ has already picked up traction via video of an early jam session at TikTok, and it reaches its full potential here with Ani Deeble’s guest vocals and Seb Foxwell’s trumpet magnifying its sultry mood. ‘Complicated’ plays up Sam’s jazz influences further, its conversational vocals also referencing Tom Misch and Loyle Carner’s ‘Water Baby’, while the smooth R&B of ‘That’s Alright’ is far more direct and immediate.
The final two tracks on ‘Afters At 109’ extend Sam’s diversity. First ‘I’m WasTd’ drifts on a day-drunk rhythm, with Ani’shusky voice providing the counterpoint to Sam’s drawl. And then ‘Slow Down’ demonstrates his talents at their fullest, the duo’s mix of melodic vocals and raps mixed with a broad array of instruments that allow the song to dart in refreshingly unexpected directions. It also offers something differently lyrically, venturing beyond the here-and-now take on student life and into the uncertainty of what comes next.
His other key collaborations on the EP include co-writer / co-producer Ben Roberts and jazz pianist Lucas Walters.
Sam was raised in south-west London, where his mum would fill the family home with jazz, soul and hip-hop. That early interest resulted in him joining his first band who were based at a local youth centre, first mixing up classics from Stevie Wonder and Chic before focusing upon their own compositions. Lockdown forced him to focus on developing his creativity in isolation, a time which he dedicated to refining his production skills and using TikTok to promote his independently released debut track ‘Rules’. That connected with both an online audience and a variety of remote collaborators, resulting in another three DIY single releases between ‘Rules’ and ‘Find My Way’.
Ultimately ‘After At 109’ introduces Sam Cotton as an extraordinary new talent who is destined for bigger things in the near future.