Words by:

Cisum The Painter

Turning 20 is scary. The carefree novelty of youth is extinguished with mathematical finality as the ‘teen’ suffix is finally chopped off your age, leaving in its wake the tangled realities of debt, work and existential confusion.

For many of us, a twentieth birthday is a chance to forget this melée and bury our heads in the sand for a night, but for Atlanta’s Cisum the Painter, it’s a chance to reflect. 20, his first official release for newly launched singles label Bound Recordings, is a paean to the beginning of his third decade on earth, and a reality check on how to retain your freedom from an ever-expanding web of millennial confusion.

One way he manages to effectively promote this notion is to allow himself to make, keep and savour errors. “Freestyling is more attractive for me,” he explains. “I have a love for mistakes.” Occasional mumbles, gaps and spaces in his delivery contribute to a playful sincerity in his tracks, the slow spontaneity of which is a befitting affectation for Cisum’s richly textured crooning.

Such a lo-fi quality is atypical of the high calibre club-raiding sounds coming out of Atlanta. “I’m definitely on my own wave,” he says, but acknowledges a debt to other Georgia-based artists and others stateside. “I’ve been adapting to their ways and lifestyles, which has diversified my content and concepts.” This diversity is most obvious in his production, which conjures a sprawling ambience not dissimilar to John Talabot or The xx, all the while incorporating influences like Future, Kanye and Post Malone.

“Pain gives me this urge, and also pleasure, they work hand in hand for me … it is definitely an escape”. Hailing from the Stone Mountain area of Georgia – with a population just over 5000 – Cisum’s sound is one born out of isolation and ambition. Enthusiasm and remoteness all rolled into to one kaleidoscopic whole. Looking out, but staying in.

There’s an alchemic quality to Cisum’s music. Influences, afterthoughts and anxieties coming together in a process of synthesis. He’s reluctantly taking on the responsibilities of adulthood and he’s ready – after two years of making music under the radar – to open the drapes and introduce the world to his sound.

Post Malone / Chance The Rapper