Harlem Spartan-repping Loski is UK drill’s original Cool Kid, building his name off street anthems such as DJ Khaled, Hazards and Teddy Bruckshot. The cold braggadocios and menace of those early cuts didn’t distract from the fact that Loski is a very skilled rapper, in any genre, with an effortless laidback flow.
Growing up is not easy. We all make mistakes, and depending on your environment, those mistakes can have life-impacting consequences. Due to the success he has enjoyed musically since 2016, Loski has been forced to grow-up in the spotlight. It has meant authorities interfering with his career, legal troubles and the deaths of close friends being pounced upon by media outlets exploiting the moral panic around UK drill.
On excellent debut album ‘Music, Trial & Trauma’ Loski addresses those themes with poise, skill and maturity.
The album effectively unfolds in three acts, the first of which is UK drill at its very best; atmospheric, forceful and unfiltered. It’s reflective of the Kennington blocks which raised Loski and his Harlem Spartan brothers for better or worse, and the claustrophobic nature of life on road. He glides over icy productions with the authority of a rapper who’s mastered the drill game, who’s ready to ascend. The natural chemistry between Loski, Blanco and Mizormac makes ‘Anglo Saxon’ and ‘On Me’ standout cuts. Mizormac perhaps offers the best insight into the trauma of surviving in such harsh circumstances: “Still around violent dogs, I’ve damaged my thought process, Head, filled up with frightening plots.”
The second act is hook-led, expansive UK rap which touches on dancehall, afrobeats and west coast rap. It’s stacked with heavyweight features which emphasise Loski’s star quality. The sun-blessed vibe contrasts nicely with the first act’s cold, brooding energy. Now he’s flexing, living good, swapping boastful verses with Stormzy and Aitch, spinning them both in the process. ‘Naija Man’ is the standout, with a Davido feature that will undoubtedly introduce Loski to an even broader audience.
The project’s final act is its most emotionally resonant, as Loski looks outward towards the factors which have shaped his life up until this point. Personal highlight is ‘Black’ which samples Bashy’s iconic ‘Black Boys’ and cuts right through the idea that there’s any glamour attached to life on road, with Loski’s most honest, poignant lyricism to date: “I’ve got war with my own and feds, think bout my block, it’s like no-one’s left, lie when I say love skengs and peds, but I love my life so I always step.”
Life is about growth, and with this bold, brave project Loski matures as both an artist and a man.
Words: Robert Kazandjian
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