“One day I’ll fall in love with you like my ears did for hip-hop” is what my favourite poster on the wall of my childhood den said. I must’ve had it up for ages; I always loved hip-hop and spent countless hours listening and dancing to it in my bedroom, in the studio, and on stage. It was probably its mood and cadence that I really enjoyed at first before I started grasping the essence of it, the meaning behind the slang in verses about battles with poverty and crime. Years later I moved to Bristol and was introduced to Datkid – he’s got a sound I’ve personally not often heard off the East Coast and generally anywhere in the last 10 years or so. I’m still unsure whether it’s his well-thought, raunchy and oddly-satisfying lyrics, the heavy technical know-how, or the stern I don’t give a f*** attitude that fascinates me. What I do know is I re-live that moment my ears fell for hip-hop every time Datkid comes on.
He’s no new addition to the scene; Bristolian emcee and Crud Lord, he formed the rap collective Demorus back in 2008 and dropped his debut Dkay and Gramma 3 years later. He then linked up with the Bristol rap collective Split Prophets and featured on a number of their projects, including Drugs, Booze & Dental Issues. Raw and factual, the album is a ride to the dark underbelly of the city. He released Home By 8, an epode to the art of tag, and that’s when his notoriety started to shoot up into the sky.
With a bunch of exceptional solo projects and gnarly features under his belt, Bristol’s very own Datkid quickly became a lead prospect in the British rap scene as he kept throwing top-notch productions at his fans. 2019 brought about Confessions of a Crud Lord, one of his mightiest projects so far, where alongside Four Owls producer Leaf Dog he serves a grim affair in all its flagrant dirtiness. The album features heavy craftsmen like Conway the Machine, Westside Gunn, and Roc Marciano, and it neatly sums up the tone of What’s the point in living if you’re just surviving?
Datkid’s latest prodigy, Wakmo, is nauseatingly grand. The secret to that is, of course, Illinformed’s finesse in producing sickly ghoulish beats. The bars are gloriously depraved, and they take you right there to that warped, crude-but-candid reality of Datkid’s life and career. It’s so dazing and potent that you don’t just listen to it but can actually feel an ugly aggressiveness breathing down your neck for a second. A tribute to the rapper’s hometown loyalty, the album boasts an impressive number of guest stars. Rappers like Bil Next, Mistafire, Wish Master, or Eric the Red will unapologetically discharge more sick verses with deft flows off onto you, therefore bringing about one of the most hardcore and obstinate rap albums that ever emerged from Bristol.