In AJ Tracey’s self-titled debut, he showcases his remarkable versatility that the British hip-hop scene arguably lacked. His Secure The Bag! EP was met with critical acclaim, and between the release of the EP and this debut he released a successful run of singles, including Butterflies featuring Not3s, which charted highly in the UK.
AJ raps on a wide variety of production styles in this album, including typical grime and hip-hop instrumentals but also more low-key beats and, to his fans’ surprise, he flows along country-tinged production on Country Star, which melds the two genres very well with AJ’s simple yet infectious singing on the hook.
Although AJ is known for his bangers, including tracks like Thiago Silva with Dave, he takes a far more introspective and quieter tone in songs like Plan B. AJ’s flow is slow and chill over the similarly chill instrumental which twinkles behind typical trap drums.
The album lacks many features, but the ones that are present bring their best. Butterflies is a typical summer song featuring a verse from Not3s, a frequent collaborator of AJ, although the song’s presence on the album is somewhat of a jarring contrast with the more low-key Plan B and Wifey Riddim 3. Another high-profile feature is Giggs on Nothing But Net, the two stars of British hip-hop coming together to create a banger of a track, with Giggs providing a typical verse for the clubs of the UK.
The most interesting track is Horror Flick, which utilises samples from music typical to horror movies, with AJ’s aggression combining well with his wordplay revolving around said movies.