Having signalled the arrival of his debut album, Reasons To Smile, back in September with the Lex Amor-assisted “War Outside”, the build-up continues to gather pace as Kojey Radical drops off its latest extract, “Payback”, featuring Knucks.

Production is handled by his long-standing friend and sparring partner Swindle—who also has an executive producer credit on the album alongside KZ—putting their years of collaboration to good use. The end result is a track with an almost P-funk swagger to it, giving Kojey and Knucks the perfect springboard to playfully throw their rhymes back and forth. 

Between “Payback” and the other singles we’ve already heard from the album, namely “War Outside” and November’s “Gangsta”, we’re looking at a varied and mature album, pulling on strains of rap, funk, soul and some orchestral elements. The East London rapper’s previous projects never sounded hurried or underdeveloped but this one sounds like it’ll definitely be worth the wait.

Speaking on the album and why he’s finally ready to call it one, Kojey took to Instagram to write: “In the past I never felt confident enough in myself to call any of my works ALBUMS... I am ready now. I’m here and I’m here to stay. To say blood, sweat and tears went into this album would be an understatement. This is me, this is my truth. This my journey. A massive thank you to my team and my executive producers Swindle and KZ. Thank you for riding with me and believing in me. We’ve made something truly special.”

He added: “The whole time I was working on this album, it felt like there was a lot to be happy about in my life and everyone could see it but me. A lot of this album was spent trying to remind myself of all the Reasons I had To Smile, going back to what and who inspired me.”

Reasons To Smile lands on March 4.