The sophomore album, ‘STRUGGLER’ by Genesis Owusu was released in August via OURNESS / AWAL to much anticipation and immediate critical acclaim. The concept-driven project sonically blends post-punk with poetry, theater, garage rock, funk rock, hip-hop and heavy soul while following a narrative journey which Owusu simply states is “a story about a Roach, that runs and runs, trying not to get stepped on by God.” The material on ‘STRUGGLER’ is partially inspired by Owusu’s readings of philosopher Albert Camus, novelist Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, as it explores topics of resilience, hope, doubt, as well as the most basic of human questions: what’s the point? “It’s physical but it’s extremely like existential as well. It’s like how we physically move through this life but then and the psychological effects of having to wake up every day and keep on. We’re seeing all of these insane absurd things both close to us and and far away from us and we want to help but how can we help when it’s so far away,” Owusu explained, “even though we’re these tiny little creatures, these little roaches in the grand scheme of life but the roach is a hard thing to kill.” The influence from Camus and his philosophical absurdist perspective is evident in Owusu today as he shared, “we as humans have this tendency to torment ourselves with the why’s and the how is this happening, why is this happening, what am I supposed to be doing, what’s the point, what’s the meaning? I think absurdism says that doesn’t matter right now, you’re never going to get the answers to these things so why does it matter. The sun rises and falls every day, you get to see this beautiful sunset, you have friends and loved ones around you and your heart is beating in a certain way that releases endorphins. There are so many of these unexplainable intricate things in life and in our existence that we get to experience so just enjoy that for what it is and and experience it without having to torment yourself with things that really don’t matter at the end of the day.” Owusu has been busy touring the new album recently while earlier this year, he was lauded for notable performances at North American festivals that included Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Boston Calling, Osheaga Festival and This Ain’t No Picnic, as well as Barcelona’s Primavera Sound and Australia’s Splendour in the Grass. He also played support dates with Paramore, Glass Animals, Khruangbin and Thundercat in the US and Tame Impala in Australia.
Genesis Owusu spoke with B-Sides host Pete Mar about his new album Struggler, finding his inner peace, opening for Paramore earlier this year and more.
Photos from Genesis Owusu at The Independent in San Francisco, CA 11/07/2023