RELEASED 23RD OCTOBER 2020
Favourite track: Make Me Free
This album is honestly one of the best I’ve listened to recently. It has powerful messages, oozes creativity and every single song is crafted masterfully.
I hadn’t heard of London Hip-Hop artist, Che Lingo, until I saw his eye-catching album cover art pop up on my Spotify displaying a yellow balaclava and his own with a kind of spacey, electric background with what looks like jewels dotted around on a dark background. It had this 80s sci-fi look to it but also something more to it with those gold-rimmed ‘Dr Eckleberg-esque’ spectacles and an expression that suggests he’s about to supply us some music that will make us bop along as well as take a moment to think. The 12-track album The Worst Generation already in it’s title seems to be hinting at a social commentary so it will be interesting to hear what he has to say.
The opening track ‘South’ begins with staccato orchestral strings and then a heavy bassline and Hip-Hop beat comes in along with rap verses. The flow here has a UK and US feel (if that’s even possible). The chorus has a catchy US rap feel but the accent and delivery is UK without a doubt. This track talks about what it’s like living in South London, the struggle of growing up in a volatile environment and his focus on making music. ‘My Block’ opens with an edgy synth key melody, crispy audio and then a Hip-Hop beat and heavy bass. The chorus is repetitive and layered with a kind of choral/gospel feel in the background and then a mild Travis Scott kind of audio feature with “they don’t know me”/“do this for my people” and then cleaner delivery on top. Two minutes in it gets fast-paced and shows off his lyrical skill and rap delivery and the ending slows it all down to a halt. ‘Make Me Free’ opens with dreamy acoustic guitar, an RnB/Hip-Hop beat and a high-pitched vocal melody about “money”. It’s got a lighter feel but also something melancholic about it. The synths and FX used create a delicate, magical sound to it and then the rap on top gives it something different.
A cinematic guitar opening met with aggressive audio starts ‘Black Ones’ featuring Ghetts. It’s a commentary on race, history and violence. The Hip-Hop beat is HARD but the inclusion of lighter instruments and a catchy chorus varies the production making it sooo listenable. The word play, delivery, lyrics – it’s hard-hitting and sharp with the track ending in a sudden gunshot. ‘Bobbing For Apples’ has a light-paced Hip-Hop hi-hat and snare beat and then warped guitar with fast rap about “the curse of the woke rapper”. ‘Hunch’ begins with muted synth keys and then this Dancehall UK-rap style beat with spacey bassline and guitar. It will have you moving and the stop-start pace of things gives it that chaotic, tense energy reflecting perhaps this “hunch” and issues of “trust”. ‘Screw Face’ opens with siren alarms, vocal FX and a delicate synth melody. The audio is amplified and then a HARD beat and bassline drops with a steady delivery with verses beginning with “a day in the life” and then a broken window sound. ‘A Bit Insecure’ is a spoken word style delivery addressed to a woman accompanied with a lighter Hip-Hop beat and a dreamy melody and muffled vocal FX in the background. It’s so beautiful and careful and ends with gorgeous strings that merge into the next song ‘Dark Days’ which talks about how he needs her to “heal” him. Kojey Radical features on this one and his vocal compliments Che’s well and adds some depth audio-wise to the track. The guitar and strings has a sad, beautiful, magical feel.
‘Love Drugs’ begins with a bass and nostalgic sad melody under a slow beat. It’s atmospheric and yet has a resonant cable synth sound cutting through to remind us that there is a darker edge to this. Rachel Chinouriri’s beautiful voice features on ‘Perfect Wounds’ which adds a feminine element (very similar to US duo, Chloe x Halle’s style) to this Hip-Hop song about life, death and pain. The final track ‘The Worst Generation’ (ft. Samm Henshaw) opens with piano chords and then a kind of choral vocal delivery with orchestral strings. It’s got a slow Hip-Hop beat but remains strong as it talks about how this generation is “living in the belly of the beast” and how it’s one scary fairy tale.
This has to be heard with headphones to appreciate the musical production and the lyrics that make for one of the most thought-provoking, meaningful UK Hip-Hop albums in recent times. It’s cinematic with a cutting edge that reminds us of the reality.