This release takes Tinie Tempah back to sounding like his hugely successful debut album. The sound on this may lean towards more pop sounds, but the content helps to keep one foot in his roots.
The production is great with a lot of smooth sounds making this feel very cohesive as a full listen through. There are a lot of beats that seem simple, but are very effective as they don’t overshadow the artists at any point and help them have a little more impact. Something a bit grittier could have helped bring in more of his underground followers, but that might be a little lost for a big gain.
The lyricism is great, with Tempah showing the skills that brought him to the forefront of UK rap in the first place. He has a lot of great rhymes that punctuate his descriptive terms well and that push his story telling to the next level. However he does have moments of simply repeating the same phrase which can let a song down in places.
The features all do a great job of showing the connections Tempah has in the music world. Each contributes with a solid verse or chorus that works beautifully with the project overall, The guest selection here is so diverse that there is nothing that could be done to improve it really.
Overall, this is a release to remind the world that Tinie Tempah can still make big hits. He does that while showing he also has a softer side and staying entertaining, which is no easy feat.
This debut is strong with a personal style and flavour, unique to Stormzy. He is such a strong personality that’s shines through everywhere, except where he tries to bend to what he thinks the audience wants.
The production is grimy in a lot of places with some softer touches when the content also softens. The different combinations of beats show that Stormzy can be versatile, but the execution and the way they flow together detracts from the cohesiveness of the project overall. Maybe trying to prove you can do it all is not always the best course to take.
The lyricism is good, with Stormzy utilising a somewhat common rap style, but lifting it to new heights with his delivery and performance factor. His rhymes are tight and use some good skills to tell stories of redemption and religion, which are common themes. Maybe some more of the aggression shown in the hit singles would have made the project people were expecting, but this release actually shows more sides to Stormzy than people were originally interested in.
The features are good and help to show how Stormzy has sparked interest in the rap community. With some big names on here giving some great performances, it is a great oppertunity for Stormzy to see how he stacks up with others. The inclusion of the singing is a nice touch, but doesn’t help with the tough guy image he had built for himself.
Overall, this is a solid debut album from a leader in the new wave of grime artists, but only time will tell if he can stay that way. Stormzy may want to look at balancing his projects out a little more if he wants a more cohesive product.