Northampton’s knight in shining armour is on a mission to save the U.K, on his debut he tackles the subjects of hypocrisy and bureaucracy, whilst calling the Queen a “C***”. Sid Vicious eat your heart out.
Since the days of The Clash and Sex Pistols, punk has pioneered an anti-establishment stance on the music industry; the genre has relished the opportunity to voice the opinions of individuals who feel they are never heard in an increasingly alienating society. The 70s gave birth to some of our nation’s most treasured bands, but until Slowthai, the millennial generation have been silenced by a Government that many would say has failed to support them financially and emotionally.
In the very first bar of the album, ’Bottle of bucky, in Buckingham Palace’, Thai looks to mock the monarchy, the imagery of her Royal Highness plays out through the record’s entirety, creating an admirable fearlessness that only, real name, Tyrone Frampton could embody. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that he is one of the U.K’s most intriguing figures in our country’s post grime rap scene; you won’t hear the Cobbler spitting bars about burying the weasel (if you catch my drift) and buying chains, his persona is far more emotional and this project exemplifies that.
The eclectic mix of singles released prior to the LP suggested Slowthai was going down an avenue similar to Mike Skinner in 2002. There are many parallels between the artistic direction of ‘Original Pirate Material’ and ‘NGAB’, although instead of garage being the main source of influence for Skinner, Frampton’s love of grime and trip hop oozes out of his debut. Skepta and Jaykae both feature, as the kings of their respective areas, it seems fitting that they make appearances when London and Birmingham are equidistant from Northampton. Thai is by no means intimidated by their verses though, he truly holds his own and in ‘Inglorious’ his references to Trainspotting and other great, British cultural exploits elevates his wordplay to new levels.
The landscape Slowthai paints, with the help of loyal producer Kwes Darko, is beautifully dark; the harrowing melody on final track ‘Northampton’s Child’ signs off a project that could be the anthem for our countries’ doomed youth. The sheer variation of influence T has taken on board is astounding, and his choice of producers helps develop how sparse the record is. Punk duo Slaves took it upon themselves to write the raw, spacious and surprisingly psychedelic penultimate tune, titled ‘Waiting’, whilst up and coming beat maker Earbuds helped bring an old school hip hop vibe to ‘Crack’, a single in the making, and one that is in complete contrast to their last collaboration; the infamous ‘T N Biscuits’.
Britain may not have a lot to be proud of at the moment, but at least our nation has Slowthai. This record encompasses what it means to be British in a completely unorthodox and immersive way. It’s the most important U.K. album of the year and it should be on your headphones right now.