Transparent and honest in her lyricism, bold in her production…

Having made waves with tracks like ‘Girls Need Love’ and ‘Playing Games’, Atlanta’s Summer Walker follows in the footsteps of her label mate 6LACK and delivers her own taste of authentic contemporary R&B with her debut album ‘Over It’.

The project includes a host of features from some of the biggest names in the genre, who provide welcome (but somewhat unnecessary) co-signs as she herself manoeuvres with a standout level of artistry that leaves you in no doubt that she is indeed here to stay.

This last 12 months or so - in musical terms - could be considered to be a year for the women of the music industry with a swathe of artists coming to prominence such as Meg The Stallion, Saweetie, City Girls and Kash Doll to name a few, while in the realm of R&B, Ella Mai and Dani Leigh are just two names that have been making waves.

But among them has been Summer Walker, who capitalised on the success of her single ‘Girls Need Love’ with a Drake remix (which has gone platinum), as well as a stellar debut commercial mixtape ‘Last Day Of Summer’.

Continuing on the themes of confidence, love and womanhood, Walker is transparent and honest in her lyricism throughout the 18 tracks, conveying different perspectives matched by the varying styles of production, predominantly handled by London on da Track, who serves as executive producer (and happens to be her current boyfriend).

Whether exploring her feelings about a failed relationship such as on the PARTYNEXTDOOR duet ‘Just Might’ or the more overwhelming emotions that come when you’re infatuated as depicted on ‘Like It’ featuring 6LACK, it’s this relatability and willingness to go deeper than the surface level that elevates the project above those of a lot of her contemporaries.

Tracks like the Destiny’s Child-sampling ‘Playing Games’ (featuring Bryson Tiller) and the Jhene Aiko-assisted ‘I’ll Kill You’ stand out as early fan favourites, while a special mention has to go out for ‘Come Thru’ featuring Usher which sees her sample and interpolate a classic track from the elder statesmen and sees him remix his own verse in a classy rework of his 1997 hit, ‘You Make Me Wanna…’.

What makes Summer Walker stand out from her peers is the unwavering honesty and in-depth layers perpetuating through her catalogue. On ‘Over It’ she captures the nuances and intricacies of the ‘90s and 2000s R&B she grew up on, in a time when they’re often lost. But the nostalgia is kept in check by smart production choices  - ‘Body’, for example, flips 702’s ‘Get It Together’ - keeping her art fresh and provides something different. This, coupled with her narrative voice and lyrics, make her debut album a statement and suggests that the 23-year-old could soon become a staple of the R&B genre.

8/10

Words: Aaron Bishop

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