I is Important – Alex Auld (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Whilst it is easy to see the influence of the 90’s here, a time when east-coast orientated hip-hop gave way to a more universal Gangster Rap, there is a lot more going on than that. I is Important is not only those influences being brought up to date with everything from ambient electronica and trap percussion, but it is also the sound of them crossing an ocean too.

Here we have an album which wanders the usual lyrical fare of the genre, the struggles, the industry, ambition and life in general but which is full of references which mark it out as being something sitting on the cutting edge of musical modernity. It is also, at times, wonderfully personal and intimate as well.

Cold is a salvo of musical swagger and lyrical attitude, skittering beats and dual rap deliveries, Martha is a beguiling blend of on-off dynamics, full-on, barbed battle-rap shots lulling interludes and strange electronica and Kins is the perfect meeting of classical piano lines and trap-house style. This is an album which is nothing if not adventurous and experimental.

I is Important both sits on the traditions of the genre and looks to set out new ones. It is the sound of hip-hop evolving, relocating and moving with the times.

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