In 2018 it’s sometimes hard to know how best to describe Big Narstie. Grime MC? TV presenter? Entertainer? It’s no surprise, therefore, that his album clocks in at a mighty 26 tracks; comprising skits, traditional grime and songs flexing his mainstream credentials.
That’s not to mention an appearance from English everyman Ed Sheeran, who pops up on ‘Hello Hi 2’ to remind us his first steps into the industry came via spots on Jamal Edward’s fledging SBTV, all the way back in 2010. How far we’ve come.
Narstie’s transformation from underground spitter into regular fixture on suburban TV screens might seem unconventional, but the MC was rapping over Coldplay in 2006. Moreover, his love of catchphrases can be tiresome, but they have been a staple of grime music since its inception.
In fact, Narstie’s humour disguises the fact that he has long been one of grime’s most introspective MCs. There are moments on this record where he discusses emotions in a way that is rare amid the hype and excitement of so much grime, and indeed, masculine culture at large.
‘BDL Bipolar’ will give Narstie’s fanbase plenty to enjoy, and while the juxtaposition of staid instrumentals with subversive lyrics is jarring, he remains a gifted MC, worth hearing out.
Words: Alex McFadyen
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