Skepta has become synonymous with the UK’s music scene. Whether its grime, rap, Afro swing or pop he has cemented himself as a landmark within the genre.
His history speaks for itself but how does he fare on an album with such a diverse cast? Very Very well.
Young Adz and Chip are both artists at the height of their careers however both their strengths (displayed on this tape at least) are at polar opposites. Chip is a no holds barred lyricist and will be relentless when it comes to strapping bars for a beat, young adz however has been supplying the scene with melodic hooks for 2-3 summers and doesn’t not seem to be slowing down one bit.
This is where Skepta comes in, his versatility is what forms a bridge between the three artists. Certain tracks have him offering hard hittin verses like the opening lines of ‘Sin City ‘
‘I had big waps, hurt my wrist from the kick back Click-clack, roll up on ’em in the pitch black Switching sides, now a nigga wanna switch back Said I ain’t a p***y, I was talking big facts’
He can also switch it up like on the hook of the smooth and rightly titled ‘Golden Brown.’
On the track ‘Demons’ he shows how he is able to mirror other artist styles and make them his own effortlessly.
One of my favourite things about Skepta as an artist, is his ability to flex in ways that most can’t which he has been doing since his grime days. In the insomnia interlude he raps:
‘Yeah, huh, how can I fall asleep when I’m on this FaceTime with Nao— shh’
Such a simple line but such a big FLEX! If you know you know…or you could just check rap genius lol.
Wether its melodies, lyrical verses or just calm vibes the versatility that has kept him relevant through the different eras of the UK scene shines through as he never feels out of place anywhere on the album.
Second up on this trilogy project is Young Adz. One half of DBE Young Adz is known for bringing the Wave music into the UK scene with the likes of M Huncho, Yxng Bane and Nafe Smallz. Young Adz has been known as a barrer in his earlier days but focuses more on melodies now.
The big question that most fans had when they heard about this joint project, was whether he would be able to hold his own with the lyrical abilities of Skepta and Chip. Young Adz was able to deliver.
While he may not have been as lyrically inclined in the project as Chip and Skepta, he was able to hold his own with the content delivered and the flows used and of course with his ability to turn any melody into a hit. This is highlighted in the lead single ‘Waze’. Whilst when the song first dropped many weren’t sure about whether it was a hit or not, after a week all doubts were diminished. Young Adz’s hook is one of the reasons for this. His ability to make anything catchy is unparalleled.
It is well known that Young Adz has a Greezy past. This is ever more prevalent in this tape. The content he talks about is more of an insight into his past and is a fresh brake from the content he is known for on his songs.
We hear more of Young Adz’s pain and trauma from his life on the roads. His verse on the song ‘High Roads’ shows this. His first line ‘I watched my favourite fiend Donna die’ holds extreme weight as you come to the realisation that not only did it impact him, he was the cause of her death. His delivery and flow on this verse really helps the words sink in and is definitely a stand out on the project.
In ‘Insomnia interlude’ we get more of the old Young Adz with the content we have become accustomed to, and it is too wavey. The Flow and Melodies Young Adz hits in that song are extremely catchy and have you bopping your head like the Jay Z meme without realising it.
As said before when this tape was announced, we had our doubts as to whether he would be able to keep up with Skepta and Chip as they have both been deep in the game for so many years. Young Adz did not let himself down and held his own on the project. His spot was well deserved, and he added an element to the project that Chip and Skepta could not have brought.
3 of arguably the biggest UK rappers released the tape of 2020 so far titled “Insomnia”. This 12 track tape brings a variety of bars, hooks and smoke. We haven’t had any sleep since its dropped and now we are going to review the tape. But instead of going track by track we are going to delve into this rapper by rapper. Who gets all the smoke?! Keep reading and you’ll find out!!
On a recent Instagram live interview with Michael Dapaah and Chip, Michael Dapaah asked Chip what he wanted his legacy to be when he was finally done with music. Chip coyly stated that when people look back on his career he wants people to say that this guy had bars. That is one undeniable fact about Chips illustrious rap career – he just Cant Run Out Of Bars.
Chip is definitely the star of this Insomnia album. He delivers on every track on the album and switches his flow to match the beat whenever it is necessary. He has proven to be one of the most lyrically gifted rappers in the country on this album as he goes back to back with Skepta and Young Adz who are arguably at the top of their game right now.
Chip shows his ruthlessness in verse on the track “Waze” and drops many quotable phrases such as “these days mcs only say they’re the best when they are the only ones in the room.” Bars like this have brought about a big buzz publicly, on social media and even by Americans in recent reaction videos. Check out a reaction video for the song “Waze” below.
The trio dropped the music video for the track “Mains” recently, this song is a personal favourite of mine. Chip’s flow and wordplay over this beat solidifies his talent – he even borrows Young Adz style and switches back to his own effortlessly.
“Three piece suit, I look like someone’s husband, don’t be fooled, I don’t cufflinks” – this bar is found on the 2nd song of the album titled Golden Brown, where we hear Chip give a reflection on life and gives a quirky outlook on how he sets his own path rather than follow one.
“Chips just cool, he’s not a goon (that’s facts) but I’ll lick you with the violent rhymes” Chip spits this on his verse on Demons (feat Dirtbike LB) and that’s a fact – if you look back to all his war dubs a few years ago. This tune has 10000x replay value!
ST Tropez is a VIBEEE!! Skeppy, Young Adz and Chip all delivered on this one. The beat really draws out the natural talent of these rappers to flow and rhyme going back to back in such an effortless manner.
Chip delivers a smoother, more melodic flow over Mic Check which fits well with this beat. It shows a softer more versatile to Chips pen game.
Traumatised looks at a darker side of life for the 3 rappers and what they deal with outside of the music industry. Chip makes reference to PTSD and allows us to have an insight into how deep things can get. Sin City follows a similar subject path with Chip rhyming on the past and how he found his path to music. “I said dad I wanna rap cus I want all the things that the shottas have.” The lyrics for this one are deep which is why the trio released a lyric video for this track. Highlighting the importance of the message they are preaching on this one.
High road – “I miss the days where if you couldn’t rap you DIDN’T.” Chip deservedly gives himself his own accolades on this one. Solidifying the fact that he was there from the beginning and is an example of how hard work can improve your life for the better.
Star In The Hood – “call me a legend when they see me, my nigga I aint even gotta die” – If you go through Chips discovery and the impact he has left on the scene over the past 13 years – you would HAVE to call it legendary.
Intro – put at the end of the album, and what a way to end it! A quck back to back from the trio with Chips line ending on “don’t need a pot, just whipping an m in the booth.”