It's Not A Rumour
It's hard not to question Camden born rapper Akala's integrity when you see there's ring-tones for purchase on his website before his debut album is released. Despite this it only takes one listen of "It's not a rumour" to abandon any preconceptions, blunt, honest and at times funny it's as much a piece of social commentary as it is an album.
Self-dubbed "Shakespeare with a nigga twist" Akala's lyrics echo the anger of early Public Enemy, condemning gun-crime and lamenting about the realities of working class London life. Walking the tightrope between hip-hop and rock he takes influence from artists as varied as Jay-Z, Curtis Mayfield and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The production is slick and varies from samples of The Clashes' London's Calling to the Motown-esque back track of "Hold you head up".
Though "Stand Up" and "Yeah Yeah Yeah" might be too full-on to become radio hits, the more mellow "Carried Away" and "Why Do" (a duet with older sister Ms Dynamite) are sure to have greater general appeal.
The UK hip-hop scene is fast becoming and international affair with artists like the Streets and Roots Manuva finding audiences far beyond their inner-city beginnings and it would be surprising not to see Akala joining them.