- 28 Jan 19
Bobby Basil's debut album provides a range of dissociative love songs for the online era.
One of the consequences of the trap-rap/Soundcloud rap boom is that a lot of songs masquerading as hip-hop function only as stream-fodder - background music so unremarkable, it's not even worth commenting on. Just let it play, there in the background.
The flip side, of course, is that with the right artist, this can be a deeply-layered form of music that can say important things from the heart, as well as speaking to the times. This is certainly the case with Bobby Basil, aka Isaac McGuinness. Formerly a member of the alternative hip-hop duo Dah Jevu, Bobby has forged a fresh path with his solo debut. Much like Paul Alwrightıs reinvention last year on Hungry, Bobby has gotten rid of the toxic masculinity influences of his past and embraced a sound that's more vulnerable and open, but - steeped in atmospheric trap sounds - no less intense for it.
Lead single 'Makeup' exemplifies the artist's musical and literal reinvention, but it's only a small taster of what this album's really about. From the opening bars of 'Knocking On My Door', Bobby begins a series of songs articulating the tension between himself and an ex-lover.
The immaculate soundscapes of 'I Got No Trust' and 'Booty' nicely underpin his ethereal singing (a long way away from the forthright rapping of previous songs like 'I Don't Get Enough'), while the lyrical content is always heart-on-sleeve - these are songs about screenshotted messages debated between friends, texts left unseen or deleted, the cycle of casual relationships becoming serious then breaking down. In other words, the songs are complex, real and immediate.
Extra points go to Bobby for creating two skits - 'Girl Talk 1 & 2' - which are genuinely funny and play into the albumıs overarching themes. This is a fantastic debut.