Never head of the 19 year old Manchester-based rapper Aitch? For anyone unaware of the grime artist, he’s risen to fame over the last year or so, with a few hit singles under his belt such as ‘Keisha and Becky’, ‘Buss down’ and a feature on the recent Ed Sheeran and Stormzy collaboration, ‘Take me back to London’. If you haven’t heard of him now, then over the upcoming months, you will.
As I’m writing this his newest album, ‘AitcH20’, is set to be released in 30 minutes. Like many fans waiting patiently for his album to drop, I’m hoping that he continues on the upward trajectory that his career has taken him so far. I’m sure he will; coming off the back of playing Leeds and Reading Festival in a packed BBC Radio One stage, releasing music with the Grime icon that is Stormzy, and all this at the age of 19, making him one of Britain's major upcoming artists.
After listening to the album in its entirety, I appreciate that I won’t be able to make a complete review of the album within 24 hours of its release. Music takes time to listen to and fully take in for it to be appreciated.
"Therefore, any and all of the opinions I make are face-value, and although it may change, I think this is an extremely impressive album."
Prior to the release of the full-length album, we were already made aware of a few of the tracks on it; ‘Buss down’ and ‘Taste (Make it shake)’. If you haven’t listened to him before, I’d recommend ‘Taste’ as your first listen. Not only is the music video well made, elaborating on the lyrics of “Show em baby how you flex and make it shake”, both the beat and the lyrics work together to embody a conventional Grime attitude. I’ll admit I’m not a massive fan of Grime music as a whole, but after listening to Aitch’s calm nature when it comes to rapping, relying on a conversational as opposed to a harsh style, he’s an easy listen for any non-Grime fan.
It’s a similar story with a lot of the tracks on this album. I must admit, the narrative in a lot of the songs seem the same, with ‘Buss down’ revolving around “takin home a baddie” and having sex with her, similar to ‘Taste’ when he discusses “making it shake” with a “pretty face girl”. However, if you focus less on the female-orientated narratives, and instead focus on the way in which he expresses his narrative, both lyrically and instrumentally, then you’ll heavily enjoy this album. In ‘What’s Next’, the line “Running round with your chest out. Bad Man? You ain’t big, you missed legs out” is one of my favourites, and I had to rewind the song just to hear it again.
“The narrative is quite similar in a lot of the tracks, but Aitch makes up for this with clever word-play, creative beats and, to quote one YouTube commenter, ‘Bangers’”
Spread out around the sexual narratives, Aitch does go into a variety of different topics. For example, in ‘2 G’s’, a song revolving around the “2 Gs on his belt'', he starts off discussing how far he’s come financially, reflecting on the fact that he only had a “tenner in his pocket”, and that he’s “come a long way”. The song then goes on to discuss how fame has influenced his life, summed up when he says, “ [...] now I’m stood in front of cameras ‘cause I really took my shot”. He also looks towards his future career in the track ‘What’s next’, saying “[...] name top three man’s who’s next. You’re talking shit if I’m not in it”. However, the standout single on the album for me, ‘Aeroplane mode’ is a slower, more lyric-based tune which shies away from his typical topic of girls. It feels much more personal, emphasised with his repetition of “But they don’t know what goes on behind closed doors” and it’s a testament to Aitch’s diversity, showing how whilst he’s a major artist at the moment, he’s still a friends/family-orientated lad from Manchester.
For anyone impressed with his new debut-album, or wanting to see if he is just as good in person, he is embarking on a number of gigs around the UK over the rest of the year. For anyone lucky enough to have grabbed a ticket before they sold out, he’ll be performing at The Newcastle University SU on Wednesday, the 18th of December. If you didn’t manage to get a ticket, don’t fret. I’m sure you’ll see him playing some major stages in 2020.