Sons of Kemet - Black To The Future
Critic Score
Based on 25 reviews
2021 Ratings: #12 / 736
User Score
Based on 646 ratings
2021 Ratings: #144
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Louder Than War
Ferocious and exhilarating, the new album from Sons Of Kemet is beyond jazz. The message is compelling, the music hypnotic and unforgettable. It’s an album for the times and of the times.
The Arts Desk

There’s plenty of change afoot and anyone expecting a re-tread of the Mercury-nominated Your Queen is a Reptile on their new disc, Black to the Future, is in for a shock.

The Skinny

This is the group’s masterwork to date, a thrillingly rich tapestry that combines passionate reflections on the meaning of black power ... with sonic love letters to black culture past and present.

This LP refuses to be confined by genre as Sons of Kemet make one the most atmospheric albums of the year and what can only be described as a masterpiece from start to finish.
The album is the kind of career-defining work that makes the case for Sons of Kemet as jazz greats in their own right.

Black to the Future demonstrates the immense power of the quartet, as they inch their way towards wider audiences beyond those that traditionally consume jazz music and point, once more, to Shabaka Hutchings’ figurehead status among British musicians of any genre.


A flawless body of work that spans genres and themes, and gets right to the heart of the Black experience.

It doesn’t feel like as much of an instant classic as 'Your Queen Is A Reptile', but it has all the makings of a slower, more thought-provoking, ultimately more accomplished project, the likes of which will remain relevant for decades to come.
Musically and culturally, Sons of Kemet not only holistically conceive of a future, they begin to create one right now.

Black To The Future is both musically and thematically bold and important. It is a major statement contextualising the present, aiming to better understand the past and, hopefully, providing a provocation for a better future.

Spectrum Culture
Armed with a host of likeminded guests, Sons of Kemet continue to stretch the elastic boundaries of jazz with another triumph.
Beats Per Minute

Where Your Queen Is A Reptile still brought some intellectual and historical context into the equation, Black To The Future gives you no quarter: this is music stemming from a primal, emotional impulse.


E­ffectively, Sons Of Kemet reimagines a world in which jazz might have sprung from the Caribbean rather than New Orleans.


It’s sonically deeper and more emotionally engaging, from start to finish, than any previous SOK release.

Record Collector

Black To The Future is the band’s crowning achievement; compelling proof that British jazz is leading the way right now.

Loud and Quiet
While the guests are sporadically compelling – in particular Kojey Radical’s urgent growl on ‘Hustle’ – the record works best when the instrumentalists are left to their own devices on side two.
The Line of Best Fit
Adding guests and woodwinds that both soothe and intensify the quartet’s fire, this is a subtle, skillful evolution for Sons of Kemet, and one of the most exciting jazz releases of the year.
A more profound interpretation of music and its relation with history. The music is raw, melodic and explosive, and captures the inner reflection one must undertake to properly envision the future.
The Independent
Never once do Sons of Kemet compromise on their fiercely individual sound.
The Observer
Shabaka Hutchings and co’s urgent fourth album, much of it recorded after the murder of George Floyd, nevertheless lifts the spirits and feeds the soul.
FLOOD Magazine
While the music is thrillingly visceral, it’s never violent. Rather than impose suffering on the listener, this music channels suffering into music of coursing momentum, vibrant interplay, and hip-shaking groove.

Black to the Future is highly accessible, politically engaged jazz that’s more focused on communication than individual experimentation. When the fusion works, the music seems like it’s about to combust.

Crack Magazine
While the album lacks some of the intensity that makes the group’s live show so irresistible, it makes up for it with its open-ended lyricism, speaking through Hutchings’ horn as much as through the voices of the guests – always enacting the unstable form of becoming, rather than a contentment to simply be.
The Needle Drop

What Black to the Future has in refinement, it ever so slightly lacks in the electricity of the group's past work.


Black to the Future textures Sons of Kemets' worldview through an unconventional jazz lens. They eschew expectations of the genre here through a more Afro-Caribbean emphasis on drums, horn hooks and brass.

The varied and layered arrangements feel both laid back and urgent, and balanced by great sequencing. Joshua Idehen introduces and hits the racial justice message home with a powerful delivery that invites inner reflection but his words feel short-sighted. The instrumental tracks prove the ... read more


Música primigénea. Es irresistible para el corazón el sentir el poder de las raíces. Black To The Future es una oda a la influencia que fue la música africana para la totalidad de los géneros que hoy día escuchamos, pero sobre todo del jazz, porque del jazz y sus diversas fusiones devinieron incontables cantidades de géneros; tal vez no de todos, por ejemplo el electro, entre muchos otros, pero sí de la mayoría.
Por supuesto ... read more


Shabaka Hutchings has progressively become the world leader in the UK jazz movement as a bandleader through essential themes and unending innovation. Working as a part of psychedelic nu-jazz outfit The Comet is Coming, bandleader for afrobeat infused Shabaka and the Ancestors, and of course bandleader of Sons of Kemet, Hutchings is exploring all ends of music through various mediums in exciting and fresh ways unlike any other. Black to the Future is no less adventurous and spiritual as other ... read more




Caribbean tribal jazz. Good vibes.


While Sons of Kemet have far more room to evolve in the expanded free flowing jazz format, the route they decided to take on Black To The Future works more than just wonders. The decision to go a for more traditional record with brief cuts may be very obviously not as have as many questions during and after listens but, there is a very clear sphere of sheer will and spirituality to the precision of these tracks.

Here lies a confidence that this is the best Sons of Kemet will do with a record ... read more

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Added on: March 30, 2021