Enlish is a well-known, well-respected figure in the productive Brighton hip-hop scene. He’s had some quality mixtape, EP and album releases over the past decade, and his stature in the battle-rap scene a few years ago will have certainly gained him some fans too. ‘Slumdog Hundredaire’ is his third LP (his previous album releases ‘Cold Lazarus’ and ‘Rap Ain’t Real, My Life Is Real’ are hard to find these days; I’m glad I purchased these way back in 2011 when they dropped), and it’s a concise, short twelve track collection with no guest features and a whole heap of scathing self-analysis.
The thumping, slow-paced production of ‘Kenneth’s Heartbeat’ definitely sets the tone for the soundscape that is found across ‘Slumdog Hundredaire’, and Enlish’s multisyllabic, precise flow switches up in a variety of rhythms and structures. ‘Penny Sweets’ is a definite standout; the jazzy, funky instrumental is a perfect match for Big Dave’s witty lyricism and unashamedly slobbish outlook, which is delivered with a charismatic delivery and hard-hitting rhyme schemes. He really switches the pace up with a tongue-twisting second verse, and his experience shines through across this latest LP. The vocal snippets on the aforementioned track are a really great addition as well, and basically sum up what I’ve just said anyway.
The pounding beat that provides the backdrop for the gritty ‘River Phoenix (Caution)’ is dope, and Enlish spits a drug-infused, rowdy anthem. The ability to rap about such a basic concept with such entertaining results is a testament to his ability; the Brighton MC matches humour, punchlines and storytelling on this track. The depth and thought-provoking nature of the raw, insightful ‘Cold Lazarus’ makes it my favourite track on the album. It’s well needed too; I enjoy the hedonistic tales a lot, but this track goes that extra mile with brutal honesty and introspective writing. The smooth, honest closing cut ‘Time’ is another highlight; Enlish raps ‘Time keeps tick-tick-ticking away/Now the hairs on my head-top are littered with grey/Brain aged past the years of my physical frame/Being crushed by the weight but I’m still in the game’, and this self-deprecating approach is what makes the ‘Slumdog Hundredaire’ album such a success.
‘Slumdog Hundredaire’ is unashamedly open, and it’s a really enjoyable listen because of this. Enlish’s distinctive style and outlook makes for a memorable project with dope rhymes and dope beats. The short run-time also adds to the success of the LP, making for a tight-knit, concise musical journey that is to-the-point and cohesive. Enlish marks his return to the recording game with a heavy release, and with a few more project’s in the pipeline this year he shows no sign of slowing down yet.
By Sam Bennett