In the past few months, the impish and energetic UK rapper slowthai has been on his guest-verse grind, showing up on tracks from Kenny Beats and Mount Kimbie. Today, slowthai has a new track of his own. It’s a bit of a sonic departure, and it also exists for a specific reason. The FADER reports that slowthai’s new song “I Know Nothing” soundtracks a new Beats By Dre ad that features a bunch of soccer stars.
With a song like this, the question is whether it can transcend corporate-commission status. In the case of “I Know Nothing,” we don’t have to worry. “I Know Nothing” doesn’t sound like a song made for an ad. Instead, it’s searching and intense. Over a ringing piano and jagged bursts of post-punk guitar, slowthai goes into spoken-word flow, repeating frustrated self-recriminations: “I know nothing! I just keep getting older!” It’s intense. Dan Carey, the post-punk specialists who’s recently worked with bands like Wet Leg and Fontaines D.C., co-produced “I Know Nothing” with slowthai, and you can kind of tell. Check out the song and the Beats commercial below.
In related news, slowthai just tweeted “album 3 done” a couple of days ago, so maybe we’ll hear the follow-up to 2021’s Tyron before long.