After sharing news of his signing to Warp Records and debuting new single “Ready To Ball” earlier this month, Kassa Overall is back today to unveil details of his forthcoming album, ANIMALS. Due for release on May 26, ANIMALS was largely incubated in his hometown Seattle, where Kassa took respite to build out his solo work after many years of living and working within New York City’s jazz and music circuit as an in-demand drummer and producer.

ANIMALS follows his acclaimed self-released albums, Go Get Ice Cream and Listen to Jazz (2019) and I Think I’m Good (2020), and further showcases the breadth of Kassa’s production chops and unique rhythmic sensibility. The album also harvests stunning contributions from Kassa’s community with guest features from Laura Mvula, Danny Brown, Wiki, Lil B, Ishmael Butler of Shabazz Palaces, and both established and rising jazz stars like Vijay Iyer and Tomoki Sanders, who brings a spiritual heft to the tenor sax, reminiscent of their late father Pharoah Sanders.

Today, Kassa is also premiering a new single from the album titled “Make My Way Back Home” featuring Nick Hakim and longtime friend and collaborator Theo Croker. The track encapsulates Kassa’s return to Seattle and the period of reckoning that followed as he wrestled with the concept of home.

ANIMALS pushes Kassa’s subversive message further too, the title a loaded metaphor for the paradoxes of his life as an entertainer and as a black man in America. Kassa explains: “We call ourselves humans, right? But we kind of do animalistic shit towards each other. We justify immorality by almost stripping people of their humanity. He's an animal, so we can treat him as such. All these different kinds of little questions in these songs point to questions about humanity: am I free? Or am I a circus animal? These questions intersect with the way I think about race.”

Starting this June, Kassa will embark on a U.S. headline tour that will see him make stops in Brooklyn, DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and more. He is also on tour in May supporting Digable Planets. See below for the full routing.

Prior to signing with Warp, Kassa released two studio albums, Go Get Ice Cream and Listen to Jazz (2019) and I Think I’m Good (2020). The two projects fused his various influences and musical lives into one groundbreaking sound that layered the virtuosic drumming, polyrhythmic rapping, and meticulous production techniques that he had been honing separately. His own voice began to crystallize too, as he learned to channel his revolutionary, poetic wisdom into critiques of the carceral system and anti-black racism, while speaking on his own struggles with mental illness.

His projects are also a masterclass in curation and arrangement, drawing on his close community of friends and fellow musicians for contributions, including many of today’s leading minds in the jazz and hip-hop space. Previous projects have included contributions from Angela Davis, Vijay Iyer, Arto Lindsay, Cecile McLorin Salvant and many more. A protege of jazz greats like drummer Billy Hart and pianist Geri Allen, Kassa has worked with a diverse array of vanguard artists, including Yoko Ono, Jon Batiste, Francis and the Lights, and many others.

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