Manifesto feat. Alwazzz – Solo1 (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Hip-Hop has always revelled in machine-gun salvoes of lyrics, a message delivered via dexterous vocals and deft wordplay and Solo1 certainly understands this, running between a simple but hypnotic (hip-notic?) chorus and fast-flying verses to make his point. And as the title suggests, this is the sound of an artist making music as a declaration, a sonic mission statement, showing his direction of travel, laying out his musical manifesto. This is the sound of someone who knows what they are about and where they are going.

And whilst Manifesto is seeped in hip-hop traditions, it is also a song which shows you how far things have come since those early days. And for every tip of the hat to past lyrical traditions there are twice as many steps being taken into the future potential of the form. As a result it is the best of both worlds. In fact it is the best of many worlds.

Whilst the main lyrical style is familiar enough to keep fans of traditional hip-hop and rap happy, the underlaying sound which it sits on is the real revelation, the real evolution of form. A blend of soulful, drifting and understated ambience, it sets up a wonderful contradiction, a real merging of sonic worlds, a meeting and melding of musical minds. Alwazzz’s sweet and seductive vocals work as the perfect counter-point to Solo1’s more aggressive, street style, and it is such contrast, such changes of pace and tone which set up a brilliant dynamic.

A musical Yin and Yang – within the fast paced lyrical barrage you can hear the underlying calm and serenity, and just as you are finding sanctuary in such a sound, the bravado and energy of the main vocal snaps you back into its world.

People often think that the world moves on through revolution but that is not the case. It is evolution which takes things forward, particularly in the arts. It is the small steps, the gradual changes, the small innovations and the smart choices made on a day-to-day basis which build the future. Manifesto is the sound of smart musical choices being made, the sound of someone who knows where they come from, musically speaking, but more importantly know where they are going.

It is the gentle collisions of genres, finding the sweet spot between sounds, the harmonious balance of styles which creates music with real longevity. And I suspect people will be listening to Solo1 a long time after all his fellow music makers, the ones who rely on cheap gimmicks, or who prefer to merely follow current fad or fashion, have long been forgotten.

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