Fly Anakin, 27, from Richmond has established himself as one of America’s most essential rappers, dedicated to transforming the spirit of the 90s in New York and sending it into the future. Fly Anakin is a key member of Richmond’s rap community and co-founder of the collective Mutant Academy, based in the same city. Since 2015, he has released over 25 projects, many of them with his circle of friends: Tuamie, Ohbliv, Big Kahuna OG, Koncept Jack$on, Henny L.O., and Birmingham hero Pink Siifu. During this period, the vast majority of his music was recorded at home and the collaboration was at the heart of his artistic identity, which honed the sharp, observational-sometimes surreal-and the bulletproof derision with which he delivers it.
On his debut studio album Frank (2022), on British independent label Lex Records, Anakin bends to melodies for the first time, inspired by his fondness for R&B he cultivated on childhood Sundays when his father listened to Marvin Gaye, Lenny Williams and Luther Vandross. The album has the same sense of closeness to the artist in the studio as the classic ’90s hip-hop that influenced him. The project marks a new chapter in Anakin’s artistic journey, which includes several collaborations such as Madlib, with whom he has another project.
Fly Anakin has been rapping for nearly two decades, but his heyday has only just begun. There are few other artists today who are shaping rap’s avant-garde while remaining steeped in the genre’s traditions.