Wretch 32 follows up first LP 2008 release ‘Wretchrospective’ with ‘Black and White’ featuring the UK Top five hits; debut record “Traktor” and “Unorthodox” with fellow UK MC Example.
Wretch (real name Jermaine Scott) began his career in 2006 recording troves of Grime music. He was a member of the infamous collective Combination Chain Gang, before forming The Movement with Scorcher, Ghetts, Devlin and Mercston. Due to his close relationship to fellow Tottenham rapper Cell 22 he also often associated with the TMT crew, also from Tottenham.
Take a look at the disc front cover, we see Wretch alone and soberly looking down in an almost pained expression – this is the tone of the album. The album is not depressing or dark as it is earthy, confessional, and sincere – by all means the account of a man who is taking all the hits life has for him with his eyes wide open.
It’s an honest account from the 26-year-old, who has done the drug taking, window smashing, the rebelling against “the system” who now sits back in contemplation with what has gone before – similar to Eminem’s ‘Recovery’.
The Tottenham MC has a son, who clearly has a place deep within the man’s heart has we witness this father tell tall tales of street life with a strong sense of wisdom and conviction, “assuming we are born to die /but it’s what you do between/ that deters if you’re alive”
Compared to most of his UK peers LP’s ‘Black and White’ is humble, accessible yet focused and ambitious. There is no bling here, no bright lights, no hedonism – songs like single ‘Unorthodox’ and ‘Sane is the New Mad’ are cuts which attempt to buck that trend with the latter track failing somewhat but most of the album is filled with strong melodies, dramatic soulful synths (‘Let Yourself Go’) and a handful of strong crossover tracks with successful appearances including hot-thing-at-the-mo Ed Sheeran, Chipmunk and Delilah.
Songs like ‘Anniversary (Fall in Love)’ will warm you, ‘Traktor’ will take you straight to North London and ‘Never be Me’ may inspire you as the rapper spits, “Not living out my dreams, that could never be me.”
Duo of songs ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ and ‘Hush Little Baby’ boast successful combinations of storytelling and real melody, some of the tracks are so successful that Wretch’s contributions are close to not being needed,, but the MC makes his presence known on hook-led cuts ‘I’m Not The Man’ and ‘Please Don’t Let Me Go’.
After the London Riots of summer 2011 the inspirational element of Wretch’s lyrics have a deeper resonance particularly when he spits “you only kill your dreams, when you open up your eyes” and fellow Tottenham local Chipmunk defiantly delivers, “From a council estate but yet we’ve made it, the best things come from the worst places.”
Can also be seen at: http://www.taletela.com/reviews/8758/review-wretch-32—black-and-white