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WPGM Premiere: kiNOTES Unpacks The Struggle To Live By Love In ‘LOVE & WAR’

kiNOTES is a British songwriter, rapper and producer on a spiritual journey. He describes himself as a “Child of God. Son of a Pastor. Struggling to fill the shoes of my Father”.

Based in North West London, his music focuses on getting to the heart of the matter, via faith-laced raps and genre-blending production and we at We Plug Good Music have the distinct privilege of premiering his brand new “LOVE & WAR” single and video right here today!

Coming up in multicultural settings, kiNOTES pulls from a depth of musical influences – be it his Nigerian-Scottish heritage, or growing up playing the keys at church on Sundays, or trading grime instrumental via bluetooth on his way to and from school.

While typically introspective in style, kiNOTES is not limited in his approach to music, which explores a wide variety of moods and concepts, while switching from candid to cryptic seamlessly, with the goal always set at inspiring the listener.

The artist and producer wants his music can bless and uplift his listeners, but he also wants it to challenge them, and other times, his music can offer something to kick back and have fun to. According to kiNOTES, “As long as the music elicits transformative thought or feeling, in a positive direction, mission accomplished“.

Along with the music video for “LOVE & WAR”, which you can watch above for the very first time, kiNOTES has offered up an in-depth commentary into the making of “Love & War”, what the record means to him, and how the single and video came about, which you can take in below as you check out the visuals.

Hi, I’m kiNOTES and with this song “LOVE & WAR”, I speak on love and the struggle to live by it in three parts, or acts.

The first of these is self love – “What do you see when you look in the mirror?

In this verse, I’m inviting the listener into my internal dialogue, whilst challenging them to ask themselves the same questions. It’s about self worth and where we find it. What it’s built on, and what it can endure. It’s about self image; the one we portray and what we actually see in ourselves.

I believe a huge part of loving oneself, is keeping accountable – checking yourself where you need to be checked. You might call it tough love, especially given the tone & line of questioning in the verse.. But knowing that it comes from a place of Love, questions sound less like accusations and more like a prompt to do better, be better – which I think we all need sometimes.

The assertion of “Imago Dei”, invoking the image of God, is actually an affirmation that as children of the Most High our value is inherent. Whether we are worth a damn or not, is never the question because the answer is always yes. To reinforce this point, “I’ll die before you ever put a price on a n****” is just my tongue in cheek way of saying, you can’t put a price on human life.

Verse two explores the love of a significant other – “Do you love me as much as you love you?

From the first line, I begin to address the overlaps between loving someone else and loving yourself. Or rather, loving another as you love yourself.

The beauty found in a loving relationship is worth the battles, but in the words of Amy Winehouse: “Love is a losing game”.

We all come into relationships with baggage, and wounds from the past.

It takes time, patience and intention. Forgiveness, vulnerability and dedication.

I don’t think it takes much conscious effort to feel love for another person. However, to sustain a loving environment and Love someone effectively, is a bit more complicated. I believe that without Love, knowledge & awareness of self, it is that much harder to do.

In saying that, I do not elevate Self Love above all other expressions, as loving another can often be where one learns to Love themself better too. However, it puts a couple at a huge advantage… for example, being able to negotiate the terms and boundaries of a healthy relationship.

Moreover, I’d say the self sacrifice that comes with Loving one another, holds that much more meaning & value, when one or both are aware of the personal cost – and choose to pay it anyway.

The third and final verse is a revelation about the Love of God – “It’s by design, I was made for this reason”.

There is a clear shift in style and tone here, as I begin to address God directly. Or in other words, to address Love directly.

The revelation itself does not end the war completely, as I continue to wrestle with questions of self-worth.. Struggling to see myself, and others as the Most High sees us. But it does bring me to a place of surrender.

I am in awe at the miracle of it all, thus the reverence and impassioned expression at having found the one worthy of my worship. I can no longer think of Love as a passive fleeting feeling, knowing it to be a powerful transformative force. It is key to my function and in it I have found reconciliation, redemption and purpose.

Held together by a brooding chorus, this song tells of the radical nature of Love. The ways we miscommunicate or misunderstand Love in words and actions. It understands that some aspects of Love are counterintuitive to us, and that without trust and vulnerability love is stifled. It asserts that surrendering to/in Love is the only way to win in relationships.

As my music video debut, I’m really happy with what the team and I were able to accomplish. I feel that the musical experience is enhanced, and the message told more completely accompanied by the visual.

The intention and creativity that went into each scene, made for a really simple, smooth and painless process and this is testament to the effort and understanding of everyone on board – it was a real labour of Love (lol).

I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Words by kiNOTES // Follow him on Instagram

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