'I wanted to hear a song that universally celebrated being a black lad'
Vicky Greer
11:28 13th May 2021

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South-East London fave Joel Culpepper has just shared the latest single from his upcoming debut Sgt Culpepper, which arrives 23 July on Pepper Records. The song was inspired by memories of working as a mentor in London schools.

There are positive, celebratory vibes all around on ‘Black Boy’, proving Joel Culpepper to be not just a strong musician but also a strong role model for younger generations. His euphoric vocals shine through as he sings “You give me joy” and “You are my sunshine”.

He spoke about his inspiration for the song:

“I feel there have been so many important songs that address black men, but I wanted to hear a song that universally celebrated being a black lad with an upbeat Minnie Riperton vibe. When I was writing I kept going back to this one memory of a boy I worked with, just this one morning when he was running late, bowling through the playground with such a confidence and an air about him. He had his older sister's leopard-print coat, a pink lunchbox, these ankle-swinger trousers with no socks on. Some of the kids were saying stuff, but he was just head forward, bowling through, didn't care.

I'll never forget me turning around to the other teachers and them going 'he's got it, int he?' Like fair play mate, you've sussed out life. That lived with me; we spend our whole adulthoods trying to find ways to be that uninhibited, and he’d cracked it at 10 years old. I just wanted him to have that message, and kept thinking, I don't just want to be the guy that just spoke about doing music – I want those kids to see me doing it.”

With lyrics like these, Sgt Culpepper is sure to be a game-changer.

Sgt Culpepper tracklist:

  1. Tears Of A Crown
  2. Return
  3. W.A.R
  4. Dead Bodies
  5. Poetic Justice
  6. Thought About You
  7. Kisses
  8. It’s In Your Sex
  9. Remember
  10. Break
  11. Black Boy

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Photo: Dan Knott