Rapid-fire flows from the West London rap force...

AJ Tracey whose career has rooted from the charismatic sounds of Grime, has over the years become an international success. Hailing from Ladbroke Grove in West London, the now charting- emcee has become a house-hold name for many across the nation. Three years on from the release of his break-out project ‘Secure The Bag!’, the London-native has taken us back to the AJ Tracey we all grew to love at the very first stages of his career.

Gifting us with what are now considered to be some of AJ’s best earlier offerings, from the infectious opening bars of ‘Blacked Out’; “Tracksuit grey, black, blue / I was just a hope-filled kid like you / Left ends broke, gotta win, can't lose / Everyting fresh when I came back through”, to the hard-hitting vibrations of ‘Quarterback’, ‘Secure The Bag! 2’ is spread across nine tracks and houses guest features from British-newcomer slowthai, Swoosh God and Sloan Evans.

If there is one thing that AJ Tracey is championed for, it’s his unquestionable versatility. Ever since the 2017 release of ‘Secure The Bag!’, we have heard AJ Tracey over a variety of distinctive and contrasting sounds. Only solidifying his impeccable artistry, ‘Secure The Bag! 2’ cements his position as one of British Rap’s elite rappers.

Known for fusing his love for Anime in with his sound, the EP opens up with the energy-driven and up-beat sounds of ‘Yumeko’. Wasting no time in boasting his rapid fire-flows and impressive punchlines, AJ Tracey sets the tone for what is yet to come by gliding atop the F1lthy and Lukrative production with ease. Housing a transatlantic sound, he thrones himself as one of the best within his time; “I’m the Prince of the new-school era”, before swiftly transitioning into ‘LA4AWEEK2’, a follow up from the original 2017 release. Calling on both Swoosh God and Sloan Evans for an iconic follow- up, it was only inevitable that it’d be enriched with the same chiming energy as before. Putting an all-new re-vamp on the original, all three artists compliment each other’s styles flawlessly, and undoubtedly poses as a stand-out track from the project.

Staying testament to his infectious hooks and memorable wordsmith, ‘Red & Green’ delivers exactly that. Accommodating a Keanu Beats and Scxtt production, the bouncing and rave-ready beat makes the perfect foundation for AJ to layer his wordsmith atop. Set ready for the raves when we’ll finally be introduced back to a slice of normality, this head-bopping and greaze enriched cut will undoubtedly send drinks flying!

Manoeuvring into the eerie and menacing vibrations of ‘Graveyard Shift’ alongside UK rebellion slowthai, AJ Tracey knocks down the Nyge-production with an assertive delivery; “Look, I do my dance, I work all night, I graveyard shift / I play my part, I get tings right, I do my bit / Only ever had man telling me I’m never gonna get where I need to / Heart on my sleeve type guy, when it comes to emotion I’m see-through”, he raps. Delivering a no-nonsense and straight-talking approach, whilst boasting his lifestyle, Slowthai later joins in with a gritty verse in his instantly recognisable tone. Boasting his dynamic flow, the Northampton-native adds that extra punch to the already vigorous cut.

Making a reference to the ‘Hikikomori’ anime characters who are reputable for being home bodies and rarely leaving the house, the fifth track houses an infectious and melodic hook enriched with AJ’s auto-tuned vocals and harmonies. The beat, reminiscent of a video game, enables the emcee to polish off the glossy production with bars that fit in tune with the title of the track; “I don’t wanna go outside / I feel like NBA / Tryna get paid, been counting stacks all day”. Journeying through to the potent sound of ‘Blow My Phone’, before stumbling across the ‘No Chucks’, in which AJ can be seen boasting about his Rockstar-esc lifestyle atop the bass-heavy beat, the emcee closes out the EP with an almighty bang!

Staying in lane with the up-beat and energetic tracks that have so far passed, the title for ‘Triggered’ speaks for itself! Housing a raw, un-filtered and authentic feel that’s been woven through the entire project, AJ tops off the project with 3 minutes of straight greaze. Accommodating a cinematic and woozy-felt instrumental courtesy of Nyge, ‘Colombiana’ kick starts with a flurry of fearless bars; “I got Colombiana girls and I got British / I aint finished, Swedish, Dutch and Finnish, all my girls them winning”, he raps with a self-assured confidence.

In taking us down a nostalgic road back to the very beginning, ‘Secure The Bag! 2’ is exactly what AJ Tracey’s day-one supporters have been eagerly waiting for. Filled from head to toe with an array of bangers, whether it’s for blowing your lockdown blues away or getting you set for a night with friends, this nine-track cohesive project is a must-listen from the chart-topping emcee!

7/10

Words: Elle Evans

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