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Sway - The Signature LP
Always the classroom joker of UK hip-hop, London MC Sway has decided to get serious for his second full-length album, the follow-up to the Mercury Prize-nominated This Is My Demo.
While all things that make Sway such a unique rapping proposition - breathy stilted lyrical flow, superb comic timing and razor-sharp topical references (see the homage to new technology 'Upload') - still exist on the LP, there is also a personal underbelly.
'Song 4 Kaya' and 'Letters From Heaven' represent the losses that Derek Safo (for it is he) has endured during The Signature LP's creation. Despite articulating his pain well, it's likely that these tender moments will be skipped during your average listen. Sway fans will lust after the more explosive tunes such as blistering military opener 'Fit For A King', the grimey 'Stereo' or even the flashy r'n'b number 'Saturday Night Hustle'.
Elsewhere, Safo produces some instant classics. 'F Ur Ex' is a brilliant to and fro between two jealous lovers, and the perceptive 'Jason Waste' is a master class in third-person rap.
The Signature LP won't get Sway the money or recognition he desires and will be left to drift under many a radar. This is a shame, for while it's not a perfect album, it has many perfect moments that cement its creator's place at the top of the UK hip-hop pile... right next to Dizzee Rascal.
Picture: Rex Features