Harlem Spartans rapper Loski has had a substantial rise to the top of the drill scene over the last 2 years, with big singles such as “No Cap” with fellow star DigDat, “Hazards” and “Teddy Brukshot”, which has a follow up on this debut album from the Kennington rapper: “Music, Trial & Trauma: A Drill Story”.
The intro to the record lays out the foundation for the story of Loski’s life so far, as he is being prosecuted for being a member of his drill group Harlem Spartans. The first section of the album then shows us exactly why Loski is one of the most respected drill rappers, with the aforementioned “Teddy Brukshot 2” being a standout from this part of the album, with its hard-hitting 808s and Loski’s gliding flow over the fantastic production, by Santi Beats.
After the series of great drill tracks, we then get an interlude, over the same beat as the intro, playing into the same story, but now Loski has left jail and is on his way home. Then a series of more commercial tracks follow, notably “Avengers” with Popcaan and Fredo (who wasn’t on the single version) and “Flavour” with UK scene heavyweight Stormzy, who is still yet to address the issues with Chip. These commercial songs don’t live up to the quality of the drill songs previous, it just feels forced to have a sharp break of all drill, then all commercial records. “2AM” is probably one of the worst songs on the whole album, as the autotune does not work with Loski’s voice at all, and he is barely recognisable.
Another interlude calls an end to the commercial break in this album. This time, the interlude is from an interview with fellow rapper and activist Akala, speaking on the institutional racism present in British society and the judicial system. We then get a return to the drill sound, even if it isn’t as aggressive in production, in the songs “Black” and “Blinded”. “Black” has some commentary from Loski on being black in the UK, and states that he thinks “the England captain should be Sterling”. Judging by the amount of social work Sterling does and being one of the best players on the pitch, he surely is a leader and could fit this role perfectly, if he were to take it up. “Blinded” has an intro speech from the legend himself Mike Skinner, before the TSB-produced instrumental drops, sampling the classic “Blinded By the Lights” and turning it into a 2020 drill banger.
The album closes with a collaboration with Emeli Sandé, titled “Life So Deep”. Loski talks about losing friends to jail, who turn their back on him, and the trauma of losing people to death. He also describes events that he has been through that leave lasting effects on his mind. This song is excellent, but this is the only song in this lane on the album. With ‘trauma’ being included in the title of the album, you would expect more than one song talking about real experiences where Loski opens up. One song isn’t enough, and this album doesn’t transition well enough on the whole for it to be a great album. There are good songs on it but this feels like a mixtape that is trying to be a conscious album.