There’s not many like Blanco. The Harlem Spartan is becoming a figurehead in UK rap. He’s shown versatility on the mic, and in doing so, forged his own style and mark on the scene. Blanco's mix of soft baile funk beats and laid-back vocals have seen the artist move away from the Drill sound that gave him the springboard.
His new mixtape titled ‘City Of God’ could be seen as a homage to one of Brazil's greatest films called by the same title. The film follows those who are born in the favelas and into a life of crime. Blanco has a great connection to Brazilian Baile Funk music, which was born in the favelas. He also sees a comparison in the upbringing to his and the children in the film, as he references on the mixtape “Favelas, I was raised in the slums”.
The mixtape is 14 tracks long, but doesn’t dip in quality. Early on includes the ‘Great Escape’ featuring the man of the moment, Central Cee. The two artists go back-to-back whilst exchanging stories of their previous lives of crime. Features also come from the likes of NSG on ‘Surveillance’ which brings a more low-key Afro-beats vibe. One for the dance floor.
There’s also a fair amount of tracks which use the instrumental that Blanco is now known for. Baile Funk is heard throughout but not more so on ‘Fala’. Production is taken one step further with use of Brazilian vocals into the beat. Whilst 'TSG' is more low-key. A light beat plays and Blanco calmly raps on the mic.
There’s two clear topics that take preference for Blanco in his raps: anime and football. Tracks titled ‘Shippuden’, ‘Asura & Indra’ and ‘Magneto’ are to name a few titled after anime characters. Whilst if you lose concentration for 10 seconds, there’s a chance you’ve missed a football reference. Like on the track ‘Timeout’ he states “In the field looking like Kante’s heatmap”.
It’s easy to see from 'City Of God' that Blanco is able to use his style on any beat given. His versatility means you’ll never get bored listening, regardless of the length of the tape. With enough references to persuade listeners to start watching anime, Blanco sticks true to his talents and passions throughout.
Words: Joe Hale // @joesquestions
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