A little while back here at #itchysilk we conducted an interview with South london rapper Blackk Chronical.
In the interview we also featured his rather brilliant video taking some inspiration it seems from Kanye West's video Black Skinhead (2013). It was a track that harked back to a type of wu tang vibe-full tornado like verses rattled out with ferocious intent and venom while exposing social issues current today-we loved it.
The single and video were the pre-cursors to his ep The Unapologetic Autopsy Of Crime and it's safe to say all the promise in that lead single has been fulfilled in the full body of work.
We decided to reel off a review of the 8 track ep complete with some of the tracks for your listening pleasure.
The opener starts at a hundred mile an hour and Chronical breaks swiftly into social commentary and an attempt to understand the rational when individuals turn to crime. The message (whether you agree or not) asserts that blame in part, lies with the ‘system' and those who are part of the ‘system' the ‘5-0's' *. The beat is old skool hip-hop with a slight nod to some seventies blaxploitation police series. *Colloquial for police.
This track continues with the same intensity and not a hint of abating in the levels-it's a type of anthem and is a call of arms stating that if you going to rap really do have something to say. More significantly it's a damning indictment of popular culture, media whores and a music industry intent on pushing ‘negative' rappers while ignoring those who seek to publicise positive messages. This is a track highlighting the notion of ‘real rappers'.
Interestingly there's an ever so slight hint of Chronical dropping a flow that could easily bless a grime track as he takes a slightly more personal approach to issues discussed in the first two tracks. The pressures are of course multi-faceted and Chronicle's personal touch adds a real integrity and honesty to the lyrical content. Indeed, his honesty is re-freshing. Far from seeking to perpetuate the stereotypical images that other rappers might like to push ergo; they are balling, have seven biatches to suck their dicks which are obviously huge porn star dicks, so much bling that they can't bend their own fingers and a tight whip with an obscenely loud sound system-Chronicle places himself firmly within that life where there is, for the vast majority of us, the everyday Pressure of life, monotony and poor cash flow.
Pain and Pleaasure
Taking things on an even more personal level Self-Taught takes us further into the uk music scene with a slight curve ball. It's a rave/hardcore inspired cut reminiscent (albeit tenuously) of music from names like 90's outfit Baby D that 90's. It details Chronical's relationship and all the different phases his relationship goes through. It again sees him breaking some stereotypical images of rappers created by the media and created by the rappers as well-he's emotional, wants love-it's not a new motif but it is relatively fresh considering the plethora of acts like Young Thug (check a piece by #itchysilk writer L Henrixx) who certainly are not necessarily about showing that type of love certainly in their music.
Chronicle continues on that personal relationship flex and the darker tone of the track signifies that other side of the relationships. Here Chronicle details this relationship where feelings of hate towards that other seem strong. Ironically in some respects this is almost like a small interlude from the rather heavy social commentary in the ep which quickly returns in the following rather brutal track.
We have already detailed the lead track in all its energised glory and please go to the interview for the full visceral video.
Green and Gold
This cut is certainly blessed by a certain degree of black humour-initially. In earlier tracks Chronicle is quite brutal in his honesty regarding ‘those' who state they live a live that in most cases they do not really live.
It opens with a small humorous skit of sorts where two guys are in the gym and one encourages the other to try some ‘man-ups'. Evidently trying to impress the other gym buddy this individual purports he's all about the life of man-ups'. Despite his assertions he has to confess that he cannot do man-ups because he has ‘heavy legs'-it's a lame excuse.
It's a telling interaction because there are many who fall into the trap of trying to prove themselves to a life that they truly do not live or cannot live. It's a surreal beat where Chronicle seems to implore those who hark to be something that they are not that the streets are not the life-it's probably one of the most important tracks on the EP if you listen carefully. ‘I can see you hurting, trying to live that life, money is no obstacle but you could die tonight'. The track closes with the track slowing down-it's somehow symbolic of the life of the ‘streets'-it will eventually run out of steam.
The closing track evidently is a track of hope-‘I can see the light' states Chronicle but more significantly the track takes things out of inner city London and makes expressions of a more global nature. He implores us to see through the blur of media manipulation, appreciate the innate preciousness of human life, appreciate differences and appreciate our families and more.
It's a message that states clearly if we do this then (as Chronicle takes things full circle) criminality maybe something we can tackle. Whist we need a criminal system to punish and of course reform where necessary, ultimately if criminality amongst the young is to reduce it's the teaching of human values of caring, appreciation and self-worth that could be more successful than punitive methods.
This is a stomping, hard edged, hip-hop ep brave in its concept. It's an underground UK project that is powerful in its message. While the message he explores is not a new one to cover, this is an exploration that is unique because it is HIS interpretation. While a large wave of current rappers push for limelight in popular culture, made alluring by names who are now poster boys of same old stereotypical motifs of ‘rappers', Chronicle turns his back on those stero-types to avoid becoming another one of those crass, irritating clones.