MUSIC X ROAD (HEADIE ONE)

RELEASED 23RD AUGUST 2019

Favourite track: Home

He raps over some of the most listenable, atmospheric music partnered with HARD beats as he tells us about his journey

I came across UK Rapper, Headie One, when he collaborated with Dave on the track ‘18HUNNA’ (yeah, I was late to the party) and I’ve since reviewed albums by Skepta and MoStack so I wanted to see what kind of music Headie One makes. What was noticeable straight away was just how many collaborations there is on this album. The cover art also got my attention because it’s a profile shot of what I’m assuming to be Headie One with a chest tattoo of the album title and what appears to be a mask that kinda resembles the Marvel’s ‘Silver Surfer’ character. It’s definitely creative.

Image credit: GRM Daily

The opening track ‘Music x Road’ opens with a very atmospheric vocal background (not dissimilar the early music of Diddy) and a strong Hip-Hop beat underneath smooth rap about his journey to making music and reaching the lifestyle he now has. ‘Both’ is where he showcases how fast he can rap on top of a calming plucked dream guitar sound and hard beat with some more background atmospheric vocals. ‘Ball in Peace’ has more of a UK Rap beat, bass and backing music to it. I love the bass line and steel drum sound to ‘Rubbery Bandz’, it has attack to it but his rap is slower this time looking at money and women. ‘Back to Basics’ featuring Skepta is UK Rap at its finest. The instrumental is haunting and the rap is consistently strong.

‘Kettle Water’ and ‘Interlude: 100 Bottles’ are standard UK Rap songs but what stands out is the next track ‘Home’ which opens with more of a gospel intro and then bursts into more synths and vocal FX sounds with a hard beat and bass. I like what he’s done with this UK Rap love song about wanting “nothing but you when I get home”. Pretty romantic I have to say. The actual music is really well made and varies the album a lot. Stefflon Don and NAV feature on ‘Swerve’ which is one song you can DANCE to. The collaboration works well here for sure. Lotto Ash is on the next track ‘Chanel’ which has a surprisingly nice melody and magical guitar sound until Headie One starts rapping and the bass and beat come in to add that attack and depth.

The gentle strummed guitar opening to ‘Let’s Go’ (ft. Krept and Konan as well as Rv) is then disrupted by rap and bass line. It’s not bad but I prefer the other songs a little more. ‘Nearly Died’ has a great subtle build of undertone sounds as more bass is added alongside the repetitive backing melody. The final track, ‘Numbed Down’ opens with melancholic piano and then some warped bass as he begins to rap again. The beat comes after to give it that strength. I think what I definitely understand from this album is that the beautiful vulnerability present in the atmospheric instrumentals, vocal effects and chill guitar/piano melodies is always contrasted with a powerful beat and bass line to present both sides of his character? He expresses love, pain and memories but also attacks the lifestyle and the struggle.

This album is something I’d have on for a late night car ride or a pre’s before a night out.