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Track Breakdown: Runkus & Toddla T ‘OUT:SIDE’

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In his own words, Jamaican artist Runkus lays out his new album OUT:SIDE, done in collaboration with Toddla T

Having released their collaborative single ‘BIG CHUNE’ back in March, Jamaican artist Runkus and Sheffield’s finest Toddla T are back with OUT:SIDE, a ten-track album that pushes the synergy between the two artists one step further. Featuring Jamaican royalty Chronixx and Ky-Mani Marley (son of Bob) among others, the album is the perfect heatwave accompaniment, and is sure to be heard playing across London and beyond over the next few weeks.

The Basement linked up with Runkus in Kingston, Jamaica, where he laid out the project, track by track.


“Long journey bad storm, still arrive, still alive”

“A song sampled and interpolated from Xtermintor Crew’s catalogue, Sizzla Kalonji’s lyrics spoke to situations in my life, so much I focused the entire song around it. It brings a sense of hope, that no matter what, you’ll make it through. Being two songs in one, CARRY THRU, is in support of it’s first section, if you’re still alive, carry thru.”


“Big whips, big chains, big like Africa, but a freeway cause we big like Mandela”

“There’s a freeway here in Jamaica, called Mandela Highway/freeway so this line is kinda loaded with entendres. I wrote this tbh, thinking of just vibes and bragging, BIGGING up oneself through my lyrical prowess. Toddla T went crazy with the production/beat so I especially had to bring the same energy on the last verse.”


“Represent, where you’re from, Jah nuh dead, Give thanks”

“I wrote this while thinking of the Gratitude I feel when I think of life and the fact that I know where I am coming from, the Almighty. Chronixx’s chorus jeers those in power letting them know, nothing’s pretty about the way they are carrying on, not knowing Jah and not giving thanks and praises, hence ‘Babylon tree never bear fruit’”.


“Just another song from the Garrison, who nah carry knife carry gun, cause no one doh carry love for your life”

“Toddla T and I produced this thinking of an outside atmosphere, wanting to have the people’s response to the song up close and personal, direct, in your ear. The first half being a ballad I started righting years ago, I wanted to speak about the Garrison like righting a love song, being a place they don’t give the utmost respect etc. The second half, another Xterminator sample, is about the darker side of the Garrison, how harder it is, hence the production, lyrical approach and iconic beat switch with the voice of Mr. Lexx.”


“You’re not an angel, but you ain’t the devil, you made mistakes like everyone else that met you, healing ain’t easy so I hope that you let you, just know that I’ve got you when no one else gets you”

“Beautifully sung by Zenya, I wrote these words from the truest part of my being. One of the more vulnerable songs on the record, it is two songs in one which is centred around not being able to “handle/angle loving”, speaking about looking at things from different angles I.e. inside out or outside in.”


“Big ship sailing on you ocean, gimmi your devotion”

“I wrote this as an ode to “Rock the Boat”, sampling the Inner Circle version of that song, toddla t and I just wanted it to bang, and bang it did, dancehall vibes. Opening line of my verse pays homage to Freddie McGregor who so graciously blessed the record as well in the breakdown section, nuff respect!”


“..every song whe me know sell sex, while I was tap inna yuh sex cells..”

“Self- explanatory but necessary for me to highlight in these times of our musical landscape, it’s an ode to women and making sure we treat love good, and send out good love, overall as well. Major respect to Roe Summerz for originally coming up with the production and chorus on this record, toddla t brought then brought it to different heights which after the banging chorus, I had to keep the energy up, hence my direction and approach.”


“..more beg you more of this gift God gave you, 4-7-4-6-6-1-8, call me..”

“I had to change my number after that line.. lol. One of my favourite songs overall, really fulljoyed righting it and the direction and production. Originally produced by Tyrese McNaughton aka Universvl Zincfence, toddla t reimagined it and I added “IN OUT” which is the second song so shortly and sweetly attached to it.”


“So much clarks, dem a call me clarks kent, superman, flying through the sky, call me God sent”

“Really just a lyrical FLEX. Murked by toddla t and I, this record was written as and answer to every and anyone who ‘nah move right’ or just not trodding the right path, pack it, reel it in and “wheel and come again”. It’s a Jamaican term which means to bring it back from the top (in music) or return to the drawing board if you may. Written intentionally, I wanted it to be specific to the song that comes next “TAXI:ZION”, hence “WHEEL AND COME AGAIN”.”


“Told you that I was my brother’s keeper, from the day you here until you leave earth, now you gonna make me a believer, in Zion, Zion, Zion”

“Written about my bredrin, France Nooks, that passed due to a stabbing, the entire record is livicated to him. This song features him as the sky topper, very fitting as the album art places him “on top” of the sky aka with the Almighty. It’s a 6min song, with 5 or so beat changes, too many quotable and heart wrenching realities, but the consistent one I’d like people to take away is that, it’s hard to lose someone to violence and choose not to respond in violence, it’s difficult, but not impossible, just believe and remember the destination, “outside” of this physical experience, we going back to spirit, to Zion.”

Garreth Daley