The North’s Queen Bee: ‘OneDa Land’ EP, by OneDa
Click your heels together 3 times and you’ll instantly betransported to wonderland, but you won’t see any bears in this jungle, in this alternate OneDa Land you’ll see bare, of the beats and rhymes variety, bursting from the concrete jungle of inner city Manchester where Grime and Rap artist OneDa hails.
I’ve been watching Oneda’s journey closely since I reviewedher feisty single ‘Power!’ last year, where she made it clear she’s here on a music mission to put Manny on the rise, which is exactly what she declares on the intro = ‘Never Been’ freestyle on her debut E.P ‘Oneda Land.’ Oneda comes out the gate swinging, no messing on the freestyle, as she boldly states “I am a legend, I’m in the making, I am a queen, I have been waiting.” The recently featured ‘BBC Introducing artist’ alum, flips her flow on follow up track ‘Higher’, a double timed synth filled tense track which sees Oneda incorporate a stereotypical African accent midway through, to make a mockery of the narrowminded who still believe our – “People come from monkey’s”, a clear indication of her intelligence in highlighting damaging stigmas; with a comical delivery. The chanted chorus casts a hypnotic spell over the entire track.
Oneda seems to be a fan of adding melodic hooks on her tracks throughout the E.P, as the track ‘Healing Flow’ also has a hook which is sung, twisting it’s way around the pan piped flute, as Oneda tells the listener of her healing energy and positive vibes. Stand out track on the E.P is the searing autobiographical song – ‘Cry Sometimes.’ OneDa bears her soul on this track as she candidly details the poverty she experienced, her father being absent, shottin’ for survival, dealing with her pain by becoming the class clown in school, and sexual abuse. Oneda leaves no stoned unturned, as she even describes having to figure out periods by herself, among a household full of brothers. It’s a hard listen, and OneDa should be commended for her courage in allowing us to see the woman behind the artist. (Listen closely for the witty ‘Blueprint’ Jay Z reference, and his wife’s group, Destiny’s child, mentioned later on the track – TEKKERS!)
As we delve deeper into OneDa Land, there is no sign of the tin man here, but we do find ‘Da Tin’, on the penultimate track, which plays like an eclectic mix of clanging off kilter tubular instrumentals, as OneDa chants “I gotta leave, they gotta follow, we got the tin, they can’t follow, we got the tin, they can’t borrow.” Oneda brings back her African inflection to her bars, adding memorability and dexterity to her pronunciation. The final track is a word I’d use to describe the theme of OneDa’s solid debut E.P – ‘Brave.’ OneDa’s unmistakeable Manc’ no nonsense flow, on ‘Brave’, is akin to listening to a priest exorcise demons, before they’ve had a chance to manifest and latch on to a person’s life. It is a fitting close to the E.P, as the preceding tracks saw OneDa chant ritualistic positive affirmations on the hooks, but with ‘Brave’, Oneda comes with, ‘I rebuke you demon in the name of Christ’ energy, as she spits – “I’m on my way, gotta be brave, dem a go hate, but it’s ok, man I’m like f*ck the evil I meet, scream out f*ck the evil I meet” (Shouts on the Oxide and Neutrino ‘Bound 4 the reload’ bar on this track as well!)
OneDa’s expedition throughout OneDa Land’s rough terrains, crafted from her own words in retelling the tales and traumas of her life, is nothing short of One-da-FUL. Let’s hope we get to see Manny’s queen bee merk a wicked set in 2021!
Cammy Thomas @Cammy_Camilla
Run it up here!