Album: Wretch 32, Black and White (Mos / Levels)
Now feels like an appropriate time to be listening to a Tottenham reality-rapper.
Look at the collaborators on Black And White – Example, Chipmunk, Ed Sheeran – and the heart sinks, but Wretch 32 isn't just another Brit-hop chancer. It helps that Wretch – aka 26-year-old father Jermaine Scott – isn't a kid, and brings hard-won wisdom to his rhymes along with the bluster.
The beats aren't always the best, but Wretch, who lives on the notorious Tiverton Estate and whose "mum's still living in the ends", has a self-awareness lacking in many of his peers, as shown by a line like "grandad turning in his grave cos I promised I'd be there for gran when she's grieving". From the bleak (prostitutes getting raped, the fear of getting "shanked") to the banal (Jeremy Kyle and Loose Women), this is a valuable dispatch from, as guest Angel puts it, "a town where Robin could rob Batman".
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