“ Genre: Hip-Hop & Rap / Artist: Wretch 32 / Audio CD released 2008-10-13 at Hip Hop Village „
"Wretchrospective" was released in 2008 and came as the debut album for the Grime/UK Hip Hop artist Wretch 32. It features his hit single "Be Cool" and finds him working alongside the likes of Scorcher, Chipmunk and Bashy amongst many others. It comes directly off a string of mixtapes he released and dropped once he hit it big with a couple of underground singles.
1."Welcome To My World" (Intro)
After a strong, lengthy introductory piece we find that Wretch gets the chance to go into the titular tune from the album and one that has him assisted by Vis (of Ace and Vis - a radio pair found on 1Xtra), and shows that he's down for more of the Hip Hop end of things, rather than the Grime material and he does a very good job at showing how well he goes in with his complex and deep lyrics, although the production isn't really that impressive and so holds it back
3."Take This From Me"
The direction of the music shifts as this one comes into effect and we see that we get one where Wretch jumps on top of a Scorcher-produced compostion and one that has a bit of a swing to give it more of a club feel to take a bit away from the depth that he comes with as he flows along on this one. I felt that it was one that needed some time to connect with, but with time it should have an effect upon any Grime or UK Hip Hop follower.
4."Me and You"
On this one we see that he comes through with something that I felt sounded much more like the expected style that he came through on the majority of his tunes up to this point. It is a very original approach and it may not be quite appropriate when you here how much fun he always sounds like he's having as he rhymes, as for this one he's attempting to show just how much he cares for his girl.
As both Scorcher and Chipmunk are seen to jump in on this one, it is expected that there's a lift to things and this is exactly what you get from it as we see that the addition of the two Grime artists (although Chipmunk is mostly known for the Pop-based work) are able to turn things towards the raw, underground feel that connect right down towards the streets. It is a grungy tune and although I can't say I often get down with Grime, its decent.
6."Ina Di Ghetto"
With help from both Badness and Ghetto (now known as Ghetts) we see that we get one of the singles from the thing, and a tune that I felt deserved much more exposure that a lot of the rest from the things as we see that he comes with more of the thought-provoking lyrics and a tune that seems to be a lot more turned towards the type of thing that opposes what what heard on his club banger of a debut single in "Be Cool".
With some screeching prodcution from J.F.L.O.W.S. this one finds the MC coming out with another cold one where he turns everything directly into more of the darker material. I have to say that I felt as though this kind of thing was much more dense to engage with, however once you've connected with him on his level then I think that you should feel it as others here, but I still felt it was nothing more than average here.
This one turns everything around towards the Hip Hop end of things as we see that it takes on the trends that were coming out of the Mid-West of the US from around 2005 when Kanye West was dominating the game both as an MC and as a producer and so with a smooth Soul groove backing him up, this laid-back one stands out as one of the biggest jams off the record and one that surprised me here.
Wizzy Wow-assisted, this is a straight-forward banger of a tune and one that I really can't see how anyone would be able to find flaws as he comes through on some heavily America-infleunced beats which take on the stripped-down minimalist feel that would be used with the Jerkin' movement in on the West Coast, however he manages to show how he can use all of this himself before any of that went mainstream as it did in Summer of 2009.
For this one we see that he turns things around slightly as we go from one club banger to another, but in this case I felt that this 'club' atmosphere was required in order to set the scene as he rips through one that has him managing to intertwine typical themes that you expect with that kind of thing with rhymes which have him talking about druga takers and the effects that this kind of thing has upon them.
12."Stop My Pen From Crying"
With a Rock-influenced Hip Hop beat being used by him, we see that here we get a very interesting tune from the artist as he brings one that has him attempting to express all the tragedies that have occurred through his life - things which he often turned to his rhymebook to when they occur, Generally, these kind of things aren't very good listens, but Wretch forced you to connect to it all and take it all on as If you lived them.
13."All That I Need"
This is a smooth one from the artist and one that I felt showed growth from where we were at the start of the album where things weren't quite as impressive as they went on to become. I felt that this one stood out quite a lot here and was another that had a Mid-West Hip Hop feel to it and so it appealed to my tastes for that reason, and it all came together when you consider that depth of his rhymes as he talks of the time he's spend alone thinking.
We find that things simply don't stop as he comes even harder with this one to show that there's still a lot of energy in him, in spite of the fact that by this point we have him in the late stages of the album. Here it seems that he's trying to show how he is still down for something that sounds more like the general style of the UK (in terms of their US Rap counterpart), but it still wasn't quite my thing.
15."Remember The Titan"
The album comes to a close with this one as he turns it back towards the Hip Hop material and I felt that this was much more exctiing to hear from as we see that its beat connect so well with the smooth delivery that he comes with; something that the majority of those in operation don't manage to master unless they stay consistently away from the Grime style (as with Sway and Blak Twang).
I have to say that I expected more of this album, but as the "Be Cool" single was so out-there when it dropped, it makes sense that he wouldn't quite be able to manage to cover the rest of the release just as well as that one. If you are down with UK Hip Hop, then this one for you, but its not all that consistent and so is held back in some areas.