Although Manga Saint Hilare joined the Roll Deep Crew in 2004, it wasn’t until 2015 when he hit his stride, taking a step back and focussing on his solo material. His latest album, ‘Make It Out Alive’ shows the rapper's prowess.
Known for his compelling wordsmithery, storytelling, and supreme attention to detail Manga has already proved he is up there as one of the best MCs in the game. His latest album underlines his reputation as one of the most gifted rappers to emerge from London.
The 15-track album is awash with raw grim energy, with assists from a mixture of veterans and new gen representatives, including Jammer, Novelist, Jafro, SBK and Discarda. Teased with the release of singles such as ‘Don’t Hold Your Breath’ and more recently ‘Thoughts & Prayers’ the project is a proper grime album.
‘Not Around’, featuring P Money, was accompanied with visuals when it was released and is more reminiscent of Saint Hilare’s younger days, going to parties with friends. P Money hops onto the third verse with dense metaphors in his signature flow.
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The stand-out track in the album is ‘Thoughts & Prayers’ featuring Novelist. The song weighs in on the idea of self-love, consciousness and strength, creating an empowering and motivating theme.
In ‘Black Man Timing’ Saint Hilare links up with Murkage Dave. The pair released a collaborative project earlier this year, in a refreshingly honest and open project. While on the face of it both come from different worlds, with Saint Hilare’s grime background and Murkage’s R&B and garage influences it might not seem like the most obvious marriage.
But boy does it work. The pair complement each other perfectly on this track, with Dave bringing his garage influence to the track. Here’s hoping for more collabs between the pair.
While the album is filled with energy, ‘Trample’ being the prime example, its ebbs and flows between more laid-back tracks, such as ‘Sorry For Your Sorrows’.
Listening to the album really is a journey. In previous bodies of work, the rapper might have tried to squeeze to many styles and tempos into a project – however, he has clearly learnt from this and ‘Make It Out Alive’ has a much smoother flow.
Words: Amar Mehta
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