Jamaica’s Runkus takes listeners into his world on the new album IN:SIDE, an immersive meditation on life, love and technology in the age of quarantines and lockdowns. The 10-track LP, which features appearances from Tarrus Riley, Naomi Cowan, Royal Blu, Jesse Royal, Kabaka Pyramid and Munga Honorable, hits streaming platforms today via L.A. record label Delicious Vinyl Island and the artist’s own Runkus Music imprint.
Blending the cultural gravitas of roots reggae and dancehall with the energy of trap, and the intricate wordplay of classic hip-hop, Runkus is known for making music with a global, yet unmistakably Jamaican, perspective. When a 24-hour lockdown was imposed on his hometown of Portmore in April—with no one allowed to leave or enter— he hunkered down to create the most provocative and challenging work of his career, recording a new song each day.
“It was one of those apocalyptic moments in life,” the artist says of the frantic paranoia that enveloped his community during the shutdown. “You know when you watch a movie and you see everybody just fret? It was really like that. My thing was fight or flight: Would I panic too, stress and get depressed? Or make music?”