Bemz – 26 (Video Premiere)

Watch the video for 26, the summer-ready collaboration from rapper Bemz and musician and producer Rory James

Video by Tallah Brash | 09 Jul 2021

We last spoke to Glasgow-based Ayrshire rapper Bemz, aka Jubemi Iyuku, before the release of his Saint of Lost Causes record which saw him facing up to his struggles head on, deciding to make a better life for himself, opting to choose the studio and music. Since then Iyuku has become a dad and seems more motivated than ever to succeed in music, continuing to work closely within his community alongside other artists and producers alike.

Following a chance pairing with Rory James earlier this year, thanks to The Tenement TV Collective, new single 26 sees Bemz sounding more assured and confident than ever in his hopes for the future, grateful for everything he has. All wrapped up in James’s gleaming piano chords and glitchy feather-light production, 26 is summer-ready, sunglasses on, longing for the rain to subside on this so far very wet July.

Given how well the collaboration was received earlier this year, today The Skinny are delighted to be premiering the official music video for 26, which you can watch in the above YouTube player (click here if it’s not displaying correctly).

“This song is very sentimental for me,” Iyuku tells us. “Whilst sitting staring out the window of my first floor council flat during a belter of a rare Scottish sunny day, I heard the beat for the first time and all I could do was reflect. Reflect on how crazy 2020 was. Working on the song was something out of the blue. I was asked to take part in The Tenement TV Collective project and work with an artist from a different field. That artist was Rory James. His production really brought out my sense of reflection. He's a talented producer who makes fantastic music.” 

He continues: “I turned 26 on 12 January 2020 and my life was good. Three months later we went into a global lockdown. This gave me too much time to sit and reflect on all the negatives of my life which sent me into a downward spiral of severe depression and anxiety – constant thoughts of dread, fear and pain all the time. This all changed when I found out I was going to be a dad. I found my purpose in life. I found something to stay alive for. Something to celebrate. Something to be proud of. Through this, I was able to appreciate the smaller things in life: being alive, my health, my friends and just life in general. This is what 26 is about.

"2021 is going to be a year where I focus solemnly on finding myself and becoming a better figure for my community and daughter. I have an EP coming out called M4 and a headline show ahead."

26 is out now; M4 is set for release on 3 Sep
Bemz will perform as part of HANG, SWG3, Glasgow, 31 Jul; Bemz headlines SWG3 Poetry Club, Glasgow, 23 Sep

Follow Bemz on Instagram and Twitter