Headie One ‘Edna’

Headie One- Edna

Enticing us with a selection of singles including ‘Only You Freestyle’ and ‘Ain’t It Different’, it is pretty safe to say that Tottenham born Headie One had our attention from the get go, prior to the release of his Debut album ‘Edna’.

Highly anticipated by a multitude of fans and critics, questioning how he would balance drill and rap on the same project. Who would he feature? Would it live up to the hype?

Today we had those answers as ‘Edna’ stormed onto the music scene, bringing us 20 versatile tracks, on one definitive album.

Undeniably, the North London rapper has had a rollercoaster few years, from his success in last years music charts to working with the likes of Drake. Not forgetting his recent return from HMP, mid pandemic on a private jet. Headie never fails to grab our attention, surely this release would be no different.

Boasting a heavyweight line up of features, Headie really spares nothing in order to birth a global sensation in the form of ‘Edna’. M Huncho, AJ Tracey, Stromzy, Young T & Bugsey, Young Adz, Future, Drake, Skepta, Ivorian Doll, Aitch, Haile, Mahalia and Kaash Paige all join forces to sculpt an exhaustive feature list- setting the pace for an unforgettable music experience. With a line up this versatile and intriguing, how would the barrer deliver drill, rap and Afro-bashment in a balanced way?

An ode to his dearly departed mother, ‘Edna’ is a multi skilled collection of beats and bars. Some may say it’s a real ‘mixed bag’ as we witness Headie explore the many polarities of urban music, from a wide repertoire of instrumentals and dynamic flows. Nonetheless, the rapper and his ever-recognisable baritone voice, engraves his stamp on everytrack featured- dodging music trends and hypes, just the unique and idealistic sounds of a UK rap star.

As an artist never shy to a raw rap ballad, ‘Edna’ encompasses the trials and tribulations of an individual facing up to personal affairs and contradictions. ‘Triple Science’ witnesses Headie speak of his involvement in crime , lying under oath and his tough experiences of interrogation. An incredibly open, exposed account of his experience with the law. Similarly, the rapper opens up regarding his battles of depression on ‘Therapy’- honest, transparent bars laced perfectly with a solemn instrumental and vocal. To take us even deeper, ‘Psalm 35’ touches base on family ties and the relationship struggles brought upon by the treatment he received from a step parent. The gritty, vulnerable approach that we see on some of the tracks like those mentioned above seems to be a running theme throughout the album- a brave and admirable portrayal of the hardships one has experienced.

In complete juxtaposition, tracks like ‘Ain’t It Different’ emit a more upbeat vibe. An initial release ahead of the album in question,  we saw Headie team up with AJ Tracey and Stormzy to deliver a track which was ran up by fans, entering the charts with ease. Maintaining this upbeat momentum, we see Aitch join forces with the Tottenham rapper in the shape of ‘Parlez- Vous Anglais- a light-hearted riddim, giving off much needed holiday vibes. As a contrast to the more hard hitting tracks, it is refreshing to see and hear the more lavish, relaxed lifestyle flexed upon. ‘Princess Cuts’ extends this further, enlisting Young T & Bugsey to create an exuberant, playful tempo- an infectious, melodic showcase of all things opulent.

To close the highly anticipated debut album, Headie takes us back to the raw, exposed approach. This time he cuts deeper than before. In the assistance of Kaash Paige, this masterfully produced instrumental is effortlessly complimented by thought provoking accounts of poverty and the struggles of growing up alongside an education system in which he was failed by. The loss of friends. Grief. Guided towards the roads. Every single word and bar can be felt as it is delivered so stylistically and with nonchalance.

“I used to love the trap, like it would love me back, I couldn’t wait for the day to say I am done with that.”

An incredible journey of the urban music scene, on one album. The exploration of culture, hardship, loss, opposing lifestyles and beliefs.

Headie wanted to leave his stamp, Edna would be proud.

Shan Selena @Seljw99

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