Big Scarr – The Secret Weapon

An apt summation of a life cut short...

Big Scarr’s brief but brilliant life is testimony both to the transportive powers of rap as an artform, and the continuing issues of racism and poverty that blight African-American life. Sadly passing away in 2022, his 22 years were marked by struggle: one of nine children, he gained his moniker at the age of 16 following a serious car accident. Shot in the hip in 2022, the resultant health issues arguably took his life. Yet alongside this he gained a reputation far beyond his years – lauded by Gucci Mane and often compared to Freddie Gibbs, his lawless style offered a stark depiction of a life often ignored by the mainstream.

‘The Secret Weapon’ is an apt and worthy summation of a talent cut short. While similar unfinished releases have been pushed into the public gaze unready, this album feels whole, and unified. His ‘punching in’ style makes each song feel considered – instead of writing complete lyrics, the Memphis artist would craft a song line by line, locked in a fixture of concentration.

As such, early cuts such as the inspired ‘Keep Going’ and the Gucci Mane feature ‘Trappin n Rappin’ carry an all-too-rare intensity. ‘First Time In Vegas’ and ‘Anotha 1’ stretch drill to its limits while adding a Southern voice, while the Key Glock indebted ‘Toe Rag’ has a slightly more colourful, even playful feel.

A weighty 17 tracker, ‘The Secret Weapon’ takes care to present Big Scarr as someone three-dimensional. He’s not a tragic figure, neither is he blameless, often dipping into lifestyles that don’t exist within the law. Yet everywhere is a dedication to the art – the clipped strings of ‘Dough’, the paranoia that lingers on ‘Angel Dust’ and the unrelenting flow that permeates ‘Mood’.

Closing with the emotive, elegiac ‘Face It’, this is a record that defies convention and headline, instead offering a more personal depiction of a life cut short. The final testimony of Big Scarr is something everyone should hear.


Words: Robin Murray

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