"Proud of You": Kojey Radical
Production: KZ DID IT & Jahaan Sweet
"With all the chaos going on I felt like this song is a perfect way to help remind people to consider what makes you proud of you."
As odes to self go, "Proud of You" hits the spot. Three sections, two chords, one message, the song aims low and reaches high. In a year where he should have seen his stock rise further on the international stage were it not for cancelled tours, "Proud of You" sees Kojey re-assess his success. With a release roll-out that involved elaborate (and thoroughly genuine) audience participation, the song's theme of warm self-appraisal was delivered stylishly.
Its positive message is never cloying, though. With a lack of harmonic resolve, the self-affirming lyrics that Kojey croons out in the chorus - "True say I never doubted you" - become tinged with urgency. Instead of heaping on sugar-coated tones of self-love, the song acts as a painful cry for collective unity in a time where notions of self are being eroded daily. When the verse arrives (with drums) to interrupt the comparable serenity of the chorus, its lyrical content is bleak nostalgia - 'I remember nights on the floor/we was hungry we was cold/we would pray for something more'. It loosely helps serve the 'gutter to glory' story that Kojey completes in the second verse, but what separates this track from others of its ilk is its humility and insecurity. Kojey is not patting himself on the back, he is still aware of the volatility of mainstream success, and his grounded-ness makes for a more relatable, more engaging listen. In turn, he comes across proud of his achievements, yet equally wary of his own pride.