Any album that opens with a man kicking a woman out of bed, stealing her jewellery, then later proclaiming he’s going to “smash your bitch, then let my team do it”, is bound to get a few backs up.
That’s its intention of course, and the album’s title immediately paints a picture of misery that the duo cannot seem (or want) to escape – a harrowing insight into the life that they supposedly lead, unflinching in its lyrical content.
Datkid and Leaf Dog are undeniably talented: their beats have an air of Jedi Mind Tricks, while MC Datkid evokes memories of Skinnyman – one of UK hip-hop’s most revered rappers – and has a loyal following in his hometown of Bristol. Sadly, the excessive drug references and violence (99% aimed towards women) might be dubbed “his reality” but they’re hugely limited in scope.
The album also suffers from a lack of editing: its 16 tracks mainly repeat the same points, each another nail in the coffin of gloom. Without an overall arc or enough catchy hooks to ease some of the intensity of the album, this makes it a fairly exhausting listen.
Look at Stormzy, Plan B, Little Simz, Kano or any UK MCs that employ a heavily lyric-led approach with few hooks but still manage to implement variety through their subject matter. This album fails to embrace that approach, focussing more on maintaining street credibility, and the constant peacocking of a bulletproof persona.
But in its own way, 'Confessions Of A Crud Lord' is clever – intensity ramps up and up, immersing listeners in the world that the duo has created.
The frustrating thing about this album is that they both have undeniable talent. The word play is great, and it features some incredibly strong imagery, especially in ‘Lord Give Me Patience’ – probably the best song on the album. It’s the only time Datkid really lets his guard down, almost pleading that a rap career takes off and plucks him out of this life of misery with characters that “look like shit but smells like Christian Dior”. His pleading seems mirrored by the album’s cover art – alluding to a person begging for forgiveness from God.
This record is smart in its conception and well executed, despite the lazy content. It’s not going to break the mainstream, but Datkid and Leaf Dog could gain a fair few fans in the meantime for their undeniable musical talent.
Words: Chris Spring
- - -
Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.