Music

Watch Akintoye capture 'moments of freak-out' on The Intro

The rapper performs songs from his albums Anxiety & Circumstance and Centrepiece.

The rapper performs songs from his albums Anxiety & Circumstance and Centrepiece

How Akintoye captures 'moments of freak-out' in his music | The Intro

1 month ago
Duration 20:06
Akintoye keeps no secrets about his struggles with anxiety and channels it into his latest album, Anxiety & Circumstance. He joined TikTok reluctantly, but now credits the platform with his success. In 2022, he was named a Black TikTok Trailblazer and told the Globe and Mail, “a plethora of opportunities have landed in my lap since then, and now this is my full-time job.”

Rapper Akintoye Adeyemi Asalu, who goes by his first name, keeps no secrets about his struggles with anxiety. On the contrary, he has made a thing of it, using songwriting as therapy and getting lots of attention for his latest album, Anxiety & Circumstance.

"I have moments of clarity when things come back down to Earth," he tells CBC Music's Damhnait Doyle, host of The Intro, referring to the effect panic attacks have on his songwriting cycle. "I try my best to capture those moments of freak-out in one song in particular: 'Out of my Mind.'"

It's the third of three songs Akintoye and his band play during their set for The Intro, streaming above. "There's something about listening to a song about going crazy that sounds pretty, that's just really dope," he reflects.

His bandmates include keyboardist Julian Antonini, bassist Daniel Vucko, drummer Daniel Genus, saxophonist Alec Trent and backup singers Tamia Cheniece Thornhill and Sheila Makena Githinji.

The set begins with "Go Stupid," a borderline frenetic song about noticing the great things that are happening around you even when your life is full of chaos and stress.

They also perform "Who Up," which Akintoye describes as the most literal song on Anxiety & Circumstance. It asks, who's truly there for you when you're at the end of your rope?

'Growth and elevation'

"The music was atrocious," Akintoye laughs, describing his first forays into producing music during his teens. "Recorded in a dorm room closet. Sounded horrible." It was when he started working properly with bassist Vucko that "the growth and elevation started happening for real."

He joined TikTok reluctantly, but now credits the platform with his success. In 2022, he was named a Black TikTok Trailblazer and told the Globe and Mail, "a plethora of opportunities have landed in my lap since then, and now this is my full-time job."


CBC Music's The Intro spotlights emerging musicians across the country through interviews and live performances, and airs on CBC GemYouTube and CBCMusic.ca/TheIntro. Keep an eye out for new episodes every second Tuesday.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

Being Black in Canada highlights stories about Black Canadians. (CBC)

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