Genesis Owusu's debut album may be a long time in the making, but somehow Smiling With No Teeth couldn't feel more of the moment.
We're chatting just days after Prince Harry and Meghan told Oprah, and the world, that an unnamed member of the royal family raised concerns about how dark their son Archie's skin might be. It's nearly a year on from Breonna Taylor's death in Louisville, Kentucky and people are still rallying and demanding justice for the 19-year-old medical worker who was shot and killed by police. And the Black Lives Matter movement, which peaked in June last year, is still fighting racism and police brutality against black people.
So yes, Owusu's Smiling With No Teeth, which deals with themes of racism and depression, feels of the moment. But arguably the rapper's album could be released at any moment in time and there would still be world events that would make it feel relevant.
After all, the rapper's album is not a product of the time it is released, but rather the 22-year-old's lived experience, growing up in Canberra.
Genesis Owusu, aka Kofi Owusu-Ansah, was born in Ghana and moved to Canberra with his family - including his brother and fellow rapper Citizen Kay - in 2000.
"It's obviously a very white place, so I was immediately placed into the role of the outcast," Owusu says.
"I don't think Canberra is necessarily less progressive than other parts of Australia, especially now, I think Canberra is generally very accepting of a lot of people. Right now anyway. It definitely didn't feel like that growing up.
"But racism comes in so many forms. And ... one of the forms is very covert and subtle, to the point where it's not people calling you the N-word and being overtly racist.
"It's people just not understanding how to interact with you as a black person. It's things that are so deeply ingrained in society that they're normalised to the point where people don't understand their actions. That's how it is mostly in Canberra."
It's something that Owusu has had to learn how to navigate over the years and in many ways, Smiling With No Teeth is not only part of the journey but a way of him processing everything that has happened.
And not only has the rapper unpacked these issues around race, identity and belonging, but he has then gone on to, as he says, "slather them in honey".
The topics aren't hidden in the songs. Even when the repeated metaphor of the two black dogs is used, it's quite clear that it's a representation of depression and racism. The metaphor, or "honey", just makes it a little sweeter.
It's a technique that in itself speaks to the title of the album, and, for that matter, the title track.
The title Smiling With No Teeth refers to pretending things are OK when they're not. When you perform what the world wants to see, even if you're not able to do so honestly.
"The album's sounds sonically are conceptually tied in with the meaning of the album," Owusu says.
"So I'm talking about depression and racism which are very weighty topics ...but sugarcoating them, making them sound hot and sexy and upbeat and funky, and all of that as like a facade. Like a fake smile."
A lot of the time, the honey is in the different soundscapes that make up the album. I would liken listening to Smiling With No Teeth to moving through a maze - you don't know where it's going to lead from one track to the next. Owusu himself describes it as a rollercoaster.
Either way, the album is a beautiful chaos of sound, moving through genres including punk, industrial and folk. These genres shouldn't work together, and yet they do.
This is partly thanks to his band, which is made of musicians from all genres, and who, before the recording of the album, Owusu had never met.
"I came in, completely blindfolded. I had no idea what was going to happen. And that's how I prefer it to be when I'm creating stuff," Owusu says.
"I'm always trying to do anything that I've never done before. I hate just waiting in my comfort zone and doing things that I kind of know are going to work out.
"I'm also just a music fan and love all different kinds of music. So I felt like it was only right to reflect that in the music that I was making, and in the music-making process as well."
The rapper says the entire process of making the album was a selfish one - his own personal venting session. He doesn't think about how people are going to react to the music because, at the end of the day, he doesn't care.
Owusu is all about the concept of "killing the author". Once he puts his music out into the world, he accepts that the work is no longer his. It doesn't matter what his intentions were in creating it, because it's now open to interpretation.
"Whatever you feel about it is as valid as my intentions were," he says.
But he also refers to Nina Simone, who once said, "An artist's duty, as far as I'm concerned, is to reflect the times".
So while Owusu doesn't mind how you interpret his music, it is still a way of connecting his audience to societal issues that they may not be aware of.
"I think art definitely helps to connect society and themselves in a much more accessible way," he says.
"I don't necessarily think it's the inherent role of the artist to always be delving into societal issues. But I think, it is a very poignant way to connect people and connect these issues.
"People trust artists a lot. It's a little scary. It's a little heartwarming. But there's not a lot of trust these days, for a lot of people who used to have trust. There's not a lot of trust in the government. There's not a lot of trust in journalism. There's not a lot of trust for a lot of things but people trust artists.
"I've never wanted to be, like, a grand authority for any of the issues that I'm talking about. It's just me personally expressing what I feel but people really grab onto it. And it means a lot to them."
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