"Let me add that Nujabes and J. Dilla are here. Somewhere in the afterbeat, looking over their legacy."
Rikesh Chauhan, known as RKZ (pronounced Ricks), is a Luton-born recording artist, photographer, writer and creative, currently based in London.
RKZ began recording music in 2008 before releasing his first two-part single, Be Mine and Renegades, the following year. The Raxstar-assisted songs began circulating on BBC Asian Network and surpassed 50,000 views on YouTube in the first few months of release. This propelled him into the core of the British-Asian rap scene, where he became a mainstay for the following years.
Between 2009 and 2012, RKZ went on to release several singles including Defeat Me, How Are You and Gonna Be That. A remix of the latter would feature a host of prominent rappers including Swami Baracus, Lost Souljah, Raxstar, AC, Menis, Kaly and Waqas Ali from Outlandish. Gonna Be That also featured in rapper Bashy’s film, The Man Inside. His acoustic cover (CoverSessions) of Frank Ocean's Swim Good surpassed 250,000 views on YouTube.
In 2013, RKZ moved away from UK hip hop and dubstep and transitioned into R&B, spoken word and soul. His first release of the year proved to be one of his most popular, Superstars featuring Shawn Sanderson. Influenced by the Soulquarian-era, RKZ frequently worked with producer Gifted on several mixtapes and EPs, most notably SOULar and Science X Soul.
The next few years RKZ released music less frequently, with his time now being split between video, photography, fashion and art direction. The songs Visionaries (his best-selling to date) and They Don’t Know Nothing featuring Chino XL were two stand-outs in this period, and are both part of his debut album, Somewhere In The Afterbeat, which releases later this year and is exclusively produced by long-time collaborator, Handbook. He has more recently featured as a guest artist on the EGO Remix by Raxstar, A Song I Wrote by Bedroom, and has released covers of popular songs including Work by Rihanna, Girl Next Door by Musiq and Return of the Mack by Mark Morrisson.