When most people hear the words “Rap” or “Hip Hop,” they probably don’t associated it with the UK, instead thinking of West Coast, East Coast, and Southern rappers, as those tend to be the three biggest regions for cultivating style and sound. Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta: those are the cities were legends are made. But straight out of Norwich is Reds, who is here to put the United Kingdom on the rap radar with his latest album, “Crowns and Camo.”
Reds has an undeniable talent for the craft. His ability to weave words together is unlike most artists I’ve listened to recently. His flows are calculated and precise, his vocabulary is easily above average, and his vocals put on display the exact emotions he tries to reflect in each of his songs. For those who are familiar with half a decade old battle rap, the name Shotty Horroh might mean something to you. Reds has a style that is unique but reminiscent of Shotty, not just because of their similar accents and regional upbringings, but because of their “aggressively laid back” delivery, as I choose to call it. It’s a style that openly states superiority and dares you to challenge it, but without being overtly derogatory or abrasive. Walking that line is not the easiest thing to do, but it’s great to hear when done correctly.
“Crowns and Camo” isn’t all great, though. I found just about every single instrumental used in the album to be rather basic. Often times they seemed like 4 bar loops with little change throughout the duration of the track. That doesn’t engage the listener very easily, which is what we should want from our more lyrical artists. I’m also not a huge fan of EDM and throbbing basslines, but that can be considered artistic style. I just don’t personally feel like the use of EDM sound added anything to the album.
I listened to “Crowns and Camo” a handful of times, each time diving a little deeper into the individual songs and finding both things to love, as well as things that could be done without. Regardless of how I feel about the project, it’s definitely one that true Hip Hop heads should give a spin.
Highlights: Flow, Lyricism