Akala (born Kingslee James Daley, 1 December 1983) is an English rapper, poet, and journalist. Originally from Kentish Town, Camden, London, his older sister is rapper/vocalist Ms. Dynamite. In 2006, he was voted the Best Hip Hop Act at the MOBO Awards.Daley chose the stagename
Akala because it is a Buddhist term for “Immovable”,and started releasing music in 2003 from his own independent music label Illa State Records. He released his first mixtape, entitled The War Mixtape, in 2004. In 2006 he released his first album – It’s Not a Rumour. This proved to be his breakthrough album, containing the single “Shakespeare” – a reference to his self-proclaimed title “The Black Shakespeare” – which made the BBC Radio 1 playlist.
His work was recognised with the MOBO Award for Best Hip Hop Act. Additionally in 2006, a mixtape entitled A Little Darker was released under the name “Illa State”, featuring Akala and his sister Ms. Dynamite, as well as cameo appearances by many other artists. Akala appeared for a live session on BBC Radio 1Xtra where he was challenged to come up with a rap containing as many Shakespeare play titles as he could manage. Akala wrote and performed a minute-long rap containing 27 different Shakespeare play titles in under half an hour. He later recorded these lyrics in the studio and turned it into the single “Comedy Tragedy History”. In 2007 Akala followed up his breakthrough album with his Freedom Lasso album, containing the “Comedy Tragedy History” track. 2008 saw The War Mixtape Vol. 2 released along with an EP of acoustic remixes.
Akala’s third album “Doublethink” was released in 2010, and holds a strong theme of George Orwell’s popular novel 1984. Doublethink contained tracks such as “Find No Enemy” and “Yours And My Children” detailing some of the sights he saw on his trip to Brazil. In November 2010, Akala headlined a live performance at the British Library, to launch the Evolving English exhibition and featured performances by the British poet Zena Edwards, comedian Doc Brown and British rapper/activist Lowkey. The live event also included Akala taking part in a hip-hop panel discussion alongside Saul Williams, U.S professor MK Asante and Lowkey. Akala appeared on Charlie Sloth’s show on Radio 1Xtra on 18 July 2011, performing a “Fire in the Booth”, and after the great reception it received (over 1,500,000 hits on YouTube), he returned again in May 2012 and provided “Part 2”.In May 2012 Akala released a two-part mixtape, Knowledge Is Power, containing his first “Fire in the Booth”, and followed that up with a promotional tour in the autumn of 2012. In March 2013 Akala announced via his social media feeds that his fourth album The Thieves Banquet will be released in May 2013, pushing back the future EP The Ruin of Empires to later in 2013.
Akala’s fourth album, The Thieves Banquet, was released on 27 May 2013, including the songs “Malcolm Said It”, “Maangamizi” and “Lose Myself” (feat. Josh Osho).