Album: Master Shortie, A.D.H.D. (Odd One Out)

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The Independent Culture

It's hard to know what to make of Master Shortie, the hip-hop persona of former Brit School pupil and West End musical performer Theo Kerlin – and not just because his showbiz past casts doubts upon his hip-hop credentials.

Musically, A.D.H.D. seems all over the place, Shortie apparently uncertain of which genre he's occupying, be it rap, electro or R&B. "Under The Moon" finds him multitracking harmonies like a one-man boy-band; "Swagger Chick" and "Have It Your Way" feature synth-funk grooves which recall Earth, Wind & Fire; "Nothing To Be Scared Of" samples Adam Ant's "Prince Charming"; while "Rope Chain" protests his affiliation with old-school hip-hop over simple, brusque synth chording that hints at more modern influences. Meanwhile, the singles "Dead End" and "Dance Like A White Boy" suggest indie-dance crossover. Crucially, there's a shortfall of the vital verbiage that arrests attention. Only "Why", expressing guilt and regret at failing to intervene in a fight ("Enslaved, anxious, acting brave – is this how I'm supposed to behave?"), and "Bringing It Back" display notably sharp skills. "Back in the day, nothing fazed me," he claims, explaining, "I wasn't even alive – I saw the '80s through my mother's eyes."

Download this: 'Dance Like A White Boy', 'Bringing It Back', 'Why'