Playlist: Inspired by ‘When We Speak of Nothing’

This week is the launch party for Olumide Popoola’s novel, ‘When We Speak of Nothing’. I suggest you read my interview with her over on Black Ballad, because that tells you a lot more about the novel and its themes than I’m going to do here, but as part of the book’s blog tour I made a playlist inspired by the novel.

Personally, I find books very visual. A well-written novel won’t only have you imagining the characters and the scenes in your mind, but it will also have you sinking into the mood and emotions of the story, with all the colours that the journey brings. Whenever I start visualising this, I automatically start thinking of soundtracks (I’m such a film person), so to create this playlist I loosely traced the emotional contours of the book in my mind and curated a selection of songs that I feel reflect that progression. Not only was it a lot of fun, I began to appreciate the story so much more as well.

‘When We Speak of Nothing’ is an ambitious novel. It weaves so much together in a (relatively) short space of time, but one of the best things about the book is that it’s like you can feel the heart of the main characters through the page. Does that even make sense? I don’t know, but I suggest you read it to get what I mean. The launch party is this Sunday and you get a copy of the book with your admission, as well as readings from the book, poetry, body painting and more music.

But to (hopefully) whet your appetite, here’s my playlist. It features grime, rap, afrobashment and a dash of drum’n’bass. And of course, it’s 100% British!



Not all the tracks that feature on the playlist have music videos, but amongst the ones that do, here are my top five.


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