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Wretch 32 – Traktor

February 24, 2011

“My lifesyle’s terribly wild,

But you’ll never catch me on the Jeremy Kyle show”

This refrain has been stuck in my head for a couple of weeks now. Partly because I find it hilarious, partly because I find his flow in this section intoxicating and also partly, I’m afraid, because I catch Jezza on the tellybox every now and then. What? He’s amazing! I hear he’s taking his brand of hyper-aggresive interviewing to America – can’t wait to see what happens. That man is going to need some serious security.

So, I’m guessing you aren’t familiar with the strangely named Wretch 32. I’m not terribly well acquainted with the UK hip-hop / rap / grime (whatever the hell grime is) scene, so I am probably well behind the people in the know. I got to know about Wretch through BBC Sound of 2011 – out of the artists that I gave a quick listen to, Wretch was the one that stood out to me (apart from Jessie J and James Blake, who I knew about already). I’ve have subsequently tried to listen to more from Jermain Scott (his real name) and most of what I found I liked – unlike most of his rap contemporaries I find him likeable as a person, he seems like a cool guy, and smiles a fair bit in most of his videos. Now, I have no idea what he is really like, or even what all his lyrics are talking about (I rarely do) but the guy seems far more relatable to me than most other rappers. His previous work seems hampered by some very average production, which is actually better than most of the crap that passes for beats in UK rap, but still I can see a lot of potential from this guy.

Traktor, on the other hand, is a tune. A big one. I don’t know the details, but it seems like this is his first big-time single (his previous efforts seem home-grown and not backed by a major label). The first time I heard it, I was actually listening to a remix (here – and here’s another one) and it blew my head off. The real song is nowhere near as crazy, but it’s still a tune and very catchy. His flow throughout the whole song is impressively laid back, and his lyrics have a humorous side to them which I often appreciate in rap. The second half of the chorus has me a little perplexed though – I really like the Breathe-style roll, but it seems misplaced here compared to when it’s used in the pre-chorus. This small mis-step aside, the song has a lot going for it – the break is a little tacky, but brilliantly executed (who is the asian looking guy? I like his voice), the chorus is catchy, and the verses let Wretch show off his smooth flow, while perhaps not showing the best of the man lyrics wise.

I don’t know when his album is coming out, but when it does I hope he lives up to the promise he’s shown so far.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Robbie Bizzle permalink
    February 25, 2011 11:09 am

    Traktor is indeed a tune. The lyrics remind me of Tinie Tempah; bringing rap back down to earth with boring lyrics about TV. And is that guitar loop a sample of the Del-Tones’ “Misirlou”? The same sample Black Eyed Peas used on “Pump it”?!

    I do like it, but I don’t think it will stand up to repeated listening, since it is a little too much like typical top40 rap (with the r&b style backing vocals going on every now and again, and the swaggering gangster in a hoodie with jewellery and a sexy woman in the video) for my liking.

    I’m interested to hear what his non-singles sound like. But Wretch himself seems like (my impression from the video) a typical rap wretch, and you haven’t said anything to persuade me otherwise. What else has this guy done?

  2. j-diz permalink
    February 25, 2011 12:48 pm

    I saw a video with him in the studio with chipmunk (i really dislike that guy, he looks like he’s 12, but i haven’t heard anything apart from his singles so maybe i’m judging a book by it’s cover). it was for a westwood radio show. i might as well link it now – anyway, i think he comes off really well in that (jump to 1:03 and 2:50). my fave line is – “me? so much surprises. i sold out – so not surprising” @ 3:25.

    and also other videos i’ve seen like this one “forget about violence, i’d rather be cool” – it’s a bit one-dimensional, but i like it:

    and this one, which i think is probably more ‘authentic’ wretch (apparently he’s sold out in his new stuff. what else did you expect?):

    • j-diz permalink
      February 25, 2011 12:50 pm

      just listened to the last one, inna di ghetto, again and i think it’s my favourite

  3. jouliejools permalink
    February 25, 2011 11:07 pm

    Dribs and drabs, you’re making one more rap music’s convert. Thanks!

  4. Chris Bingo permalink
    February 27, 2011 1:38 pm

    Have to say I quite like this. The chorus is a little bit clubby for my taste but the rest of the song is great and I see what you mean about him seeming a likeable guy. Seems more approachable then every other dickhead rapper around nowadays!

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