Written Before Listen
So Slowthai is a UK rapper that has been making buzz for the past 2 years with ending up on Tyler The creator’s last album, the last Flume mixtape and Amines “Limbo” to name a few. I’ve never listened to an album of his but I’ve always liked what I’ve heard from him. He came out with some bangers in 2019 and 2020 with songs like “Psycho” and “Magic” but his recent singles “Mazza” and “Cancelled” are by far some of the best songs i’ve heard from him so far. Needless to say that I was looking forward to this album and since its finally here, I’ll be glad to give it a listen.
So if you didnt know prior to this review like I did, Slowthai was a victim of cancel culture almost being cancelled after his behavior on the NME awards. He first off started flirting with comedian Katherine Ryan saying some inappropriate remarks to the comedian like “Baby girl… if you want to do something, see me later… you ain’t never had anyone play with you like I’ll play with you.” and she played along with it but people on social media thought the rapper was making the comedian uncomfortable. After winning the “Hero Of The Year Award”, someone heckled him during his acceptance speech and he became angry with him and started a fight between him and the fan which led him to get escorted out of the building. Nearly a year later, he returned with his album “TYRON” which addresses some of the problems that occurred during the ceremony
So it has been rumored to appear that Slowthai recorded at least a majority of these songs after the incident. He is for sure one angry guy throughout these tracks. Rapping over trap beats and acting ignorant and characterized as usual. Songs like “45 SMOKE” and “VEX” are examples of Slowthai not holding back any anger. Songs like “CANCELLED” and “MAZZA” showcase his ability to let his anger coincide with other artists. When it comes to negatives, I never truly liked the hooks other than the one on “CANCELLED” and “MAZZA”. Overall, I think this side is slightly stronger than the latter. Lyrically, Slowthai sounds disrespectful yet truthful at the same time.
It’s funny that these were the songs that were recorded before the incident. He is easily more introspective and personal when it comes to this part of the record. The features appear to be more widespread and Slowthai’s flows and hooks become less prevalent. He lets his words give nothing but emotion. Although, this is where my gripes come to play. The beats and features are flat. I do love the song “I tried” which sounds super JAY-Z inspired. The two Kenny Beats produced tracks have good beats but they come off kind of flat for my liking. The beats for “push” and “NHS” are prime examples of generic production. Slowthai does go into deep topics which saves a majority of these tracks. Lyrically, this is where things from disrespectful to personal. Starting off this side with a line like saying that he is stuck in the dark times despite his success and saying that if walls could scream your ears would bleed. On “terms” he also compares his life to a bird where it’s only goal is to repeat its life over and over again in short terms. On “NHS” he talks about how he lives the same old day and that the good things you enjoy become bad. “Adhd” is one of the sadder songs on here with Slowthai talking about his experiences with ADHD and it really cant show Slowthai any more than it does. He raps in a super natural way and his lyrics truly seem to mean everything that comes out of his mouth. Overall despite the lack of memorable beats “with the exception of the first two”, it’s still saved by Slowthai himself.
So the features are hit or miss for me. The best feature in my opinion probably goes to Skepta to delivers a very memorable hook and a verse with one liners like “Run with the streets with a few Gs we ain’t killin em softly” and “I pay the price, dont care what it cost me”. A$AP Rocky also comes with a killer verse on “MAZZA” with killer flow after killer flow like A$AP Rocky always could. On side 2, the features are hit or miss for me. I do like the Dominic Fike hook a lot, the Denzel Curry feature is basically false advertising where he does a Memphis like sample for the beat, I wasn’t really the biggest fan of Deb Never’s hook on “push” but she doesnt do terrible. James Blake also does his job on “feel away” really using his powerful voice to its advantage here.
So Slowthai, as a rapper does his job but its mainly whats around him thats the problem. I honestly think the beats could’ve been more memorable. Especially in side 2 where a lot of the beats sound like generic trap beats. I think a lot of what Slowthai brings to the table, although good can sometimes be a little underwhelming at points. Other than that I think this is a pretty solid UK Hip Hop album.
Being my first listen to a first Slowthai album, I’m impressed. Slowthai is not only versatile in his flows and hooks but also his subject matter as well. Slowthai still has some room for improvement but despite some cons I have for this album, my verdict on this album came out more positive than negative.