Under Twenty Five (ENNY)

Released 16th July 2021

Favourite track: Peng Black Girls

This album is a social commentary on top of old school beats and chilled vibes. Very listenable and great lyrics.  

I first became aware of South-East London singer/rapper, ENNY, with the remix of ‘Peng Black Girls’ featuring Jorja Smith on A COLORS SHOW which blew up on social media. When I saw she released her debut album, Under Twenty Five, I knew I had to review this. The cover art shows a female graduate (ENNY herself?) framing some photos on a yellow wall. It has a very homely feel with the photos and the table showing some drinks and a birthday cake. It shows progress, ambition and change whilst sticking to her own truth.

The first track ‘Same Old’ opens with 90s style Hip-Hop beat, chilled plucked muted guitar. The vibe here is relaxing, old school and her rap is a social commentary that mentions “Brexit”, “gentrification” and “truth”. ‘I Want’ is really wavey with its own Groove/Funk undertone, upbeat sounds and vocals. The melody is catchy and you can move to this one easily. Her lyrics look at ambition, desire and making moves with the song ending with a heavy dubstep bassline melody and club-style synth on repeat as it fades out. ‘Malibu’ starts off with an audio skit of a girl going into a corner shop and asking for what becomes the title of her next song, ‘Malibu. It’s got a sad and reflective tone as she talks about being damaged and needing to focus on her plan on top of a chilled Hip-Hop beat featuring dream guitar to give it a summery sound. I love the vocal work in the chorus and the layering there and when KinKai’s verse begins, it immediately compliments hers well. The song quietens down and strips back to vocal work and light piano, bringing back the music gradually.

‘Keisha’s & Brenda’s’ opens with the sounds of city life as a muffled light beat comes in. This one looks at the stories that go on but aren’t brought to the surface much. ENNY explores sexual abuse, violence, being silent when you shouldn’t. The chorus looks at pain, pressure, “searching for redemption” and “peace of mind”. ‘Peng Black Girls’ features Amia Brave and is such a vibe (probably my favourite of her tracks). I had this song on repeat for ages. The music has influences of Hip-Hop, Funk and RnB and the lyrics are too good as she looks at the reality of her environment and the people she encounters – both men and women – and what the issues are, mainly with identity and culture. ‘Under 25’ opens with a mini skit and then male vocals on repeat “wake up, go to bed, do it all again, just another cycle, getting caught up in a trend, just another story” and then light synth keys are brought in with a Hip-Hop beat and bassline. She questions if she needs to have it all together by 25 and how the 9-5 isn’t for her and that you should go and chase your dreams and do your best. ‘Revision (2011)’ is a skit/audio where schoolgirls make a song with a guitar about revision and school.

You could listen to this album anywhere but I would probably have it on when I’m travelling around.