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Lowkey (born Kareem Dennis, 23 May 1986) is a British musician, poet, playwright and political activist of English and Iraqi descent. He first came to fame through a series of mixtapes he released before he was 18, before taking a hiatus from the music business. He would return in 2008 with wider music coverage, featured on BBC Radio and appearing at various festivals and concerts including the Electric Proms, Glastonburymarker, T In The Park and Oxegen in the build up to his first solo album, as well as collaborating with other famous British musicians to form a supergroup.

Early life

Dennis was born in Londonmarker to an Iraqi mother and an English father. From the age of twelve he began to rap, initially imitating American rappers but soon using his own accent. He began attending the open mic sessions which took place at the Deal Real record shop on Carnaby Streetmarker, Central London. The first time he went he introduced himself as Lowkey and was told there was already a regular there by that name; the two had a battle rap over the use of the name which Dennis won.

Music career

Solo Work

The first part of his mixtape series Key To The Game, was released independently in 2003. Within a year and a half he had released a second and third volume, all of which gained critical acclaim from UK hip hop circles. Though the first volume largely used music from other artists, the second was mostly original work in conjunction with numerous artists and producers while the third, which had no skits or short songs like a traditional mixtape would, was mostly his own work. Despite releasing the third mixtape in 2005, it would be another three years until he released his album proper preferring instead to explore other aspects of his career until then.

While Lowkey was busying himself with European tours in support of Immortal Technique, Canibus, and Dead Prez, he began to make musical contacts and set about recording his debut album proper. Though stalled by other artistic endeavours, Dear Listener eventually was released in January of 2009.


Lowkey joined a hip-hop group called Poisonous Poets that released one self-titled mixtape in 2005. Poisonous Poets (sometimes known as Double P) was founded by Doc Brown whom Lowkey met at Real Deal records. The group also consists of Reveal, Stylah, Tony D and Therapist. He is part of another group called Catch 22 created by Kool G Rap and includes Immortal Technique. His ties with Immortal Technique have led to the single 'Voices Of The Voiceless' which was released in September 2009.

Lowkey's manager passed on the first two parts of Key To The Game to Jon McClure, frontman of Reverend and The Makers who is also an outspoken activist. Wanting to mix popular music with politics, and mix indie rock with hip-hop, the two set about making a supergroup, Mongrel, composed of other noted musicians. Also in the band is Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders and ex-bassist Andy Nicholson alongside bassist of Babyshambles Drew McConnell and a revolving set of other musicians. They have had trouble coordinating their busy careers to perform live dates and their debut album has already been pushed back from October to 2009 along with a February tour. The album, Better Than Heavy, was released for free with The Independent on March 7.

Other Work

In July 2008 the Theatre Royal, Bathmarker put on a production of 'Max and Beth', a contemporary adaptation of Macbeth by William Shakespeare written entirely in rhyme. Lowkey also helped publicise the NSPCC's Don't Hide It campaign, also contributing a free song to it, in which his lyrics are delivered from the perspective of a female victim of sexual abuse. He also formed a non-profit organisation, People's Army with fellow rapper Logic, who he has also made an unreleased album with (New World Order), and met up with then-Liberal Democrats leader Menzies Campbell as a representative of his local community. In February 2009, he travelled to Palestine and Palestinian refugee camps around the West Bankmarker area to perform fundraising shows to help rebuild the Gaza Strip but was detained by the Israel Police for nine hours at Ben Gurion International Airportmarker and interrogated.


Solo Albums



  • Key To The Game Vol 1 (2003)
  • Key To The Game Vol 2 (2004)
  • Key To The Game Vol 3 (2005)


See also


External links

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