Monday, 29 September 2008

Sway - The Signature LP (Dcypha/Konvict Music 2008)

Look Sway is awesome ok? You should know that okay? There is barely an MC in this country who can touch him for vision, originality, content, humour, emotion and scathing battle rhymes. He has it all. He has oodles of charisma. He has bundles of passion. He has kilos of respect on road and critically. Why is he not as famous as The Streets? As this promo arrived on my desk, I saw that he has signed with Akon's label and the album had been pushed back to include a collaboration of their's. Unfortunately, going to press, I hadn't heard that version.

Let's get the little things out of the way. I think I gave Sway (Dasafo) his first ever interview back when I had heard him pop up on Caramac's early 12" 'Simple and Plain' and there was buzz around his version of Nas' 'Thief's Theme'. He had just put out a brilliant collection of recordings and freestyles called 'This is my promo' and the buzz was rising. A few years later he won a MOBO and he was still unsigned and yet to release his debut album 'This is my demo'. Impressive stuff for a man so young and so fiercely independent-minded, business-minded and creatively abundant. I've hard him on all types of beats from typical UK hip-hop boom-bap fare to more grimey numbers and he has always set the bar high.

So, to his second album then.

The first thing to say is that lyrically, he has not changed. He's able to fast-rap (Fit for a King), slow-rap (Walk Away), funny rap (F UR X), sad rap (Pray 4 Kaya). The themes on the album range from spiralling arguments between lovers due to Ex-Texts, lazy wastemen, loved ones- some here, some gone, how people are still much to his annoyance downloading his tunes, and good ol hip-hop bravado, which he is fully entitled to as he has the talent for it. My only issue with the album is the beats sometimes stray a little poppy for my tastes, but that's a taste thing. Sway has definitely made this for mass appeal and will gain the fans he deserves from this. However, when Lemar crops up on 'Saturday Night Hustle', a good by the numbers pop tune, it's not for me. Lyrically and rhythmically he's still the best around and still at his most playful. Beats-wise, there are occasions when I would like to hear him on a Blufoot or a Caramac and a Last Skeptik beat rather than quite commercial-sounding synthy rap. But that's a taste thing, completely my own. I still think the guy's supremely talented and will go far, mostly because he deserves to. This is lyrically a tour de force of an album. Absolutely flawless in terms of charismatic vocals from Sway.

I'm still proud to have been one of the first guys to interview him! (oooh name drop!)

Official website

Video to F UR Ex (featuring Stush) from The Signature LP:

One of my favourite Sway tunes, Little Derek from This is my Demo LP:

Sway and beatboxer Faith SFX freestyle:

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