Like anyone who’s been a following the fusion of UK rap/bass movement, we were excited to hear of Illaman‘s new project ‘Give Us A Smile’. The widely revered and prolific London rapper is continuing his momentum with a highly anticipated new EP, out today on Potent Funk Records, the label run by Dabbla and Sumgii. Across all six tracks we’re served with candid introspection and razor-sharp lyrics delivered over hypnotic beats produced by Norm Oddity).
The opening track, ‘Sequence’, demonstrates Illa’s lyrical aptitude and vocal dexterity. Worth noting, quite unexpectedly for the genre, it does not really feature a drum track at all. This makes the whole track even more impressive – not many can ride a beat so well and so tight with no drums to hold on to.
It only gets better from thereon, though. A sonic attack (or sneaky ambush) of high-quality beats, based around mesmerising samples, coupled with Illaman’s honest lyricism. These were supported by his incredibly sharp eye for observation and reflection upon the world around us. The world that each one of us can find parallels to. This guarantees a hip-hop experience like no other.
The record pivots on ‘Times of Change’, a spellbinding collab with Manchester don MC DRS (one third of Broke n English, and with a CV including work with Calibre, Marcus Intalex and LTJ Bukem). The single fits the emotional mood of the EP, and elevates it with a soulfully-delivered chorus.
As Illaman says himself “The EP was written at a time when I was feeling low. Depressed but excited. Whilst both emotions battled each other.” ‘Give Us A Smile’ is a clear evidence that even the worst days of your life can be turned into something jaw-droppingly amazing.
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