Perhaps in preparation for his sophomore album, Slowthai dropped three singles in the past week, with “BB (Bodybag),” “MAGIC,” and “Enemy.” Fans looking for the aggression and wackiness they found abundantly on “Nothing Great About Britain” will find themselves satisfied here. Slowthai’s trademark enthusiasm for jagged ridiculousness is in full effect on each song.
My favorite of the three is “MAGIC,” a collaboration between the Northampton MC and Kenny Beats. The two of them have been friends for a little while now, and the track redeems Slowthai’s disappointing appearance on Kenny’s YouTube show, “The Cave.” “MAGIC” is spurred by a trunk-knocking beat, per Kenny’s standard, as Slowthai yelps and screams about the misgivings of being a “magic man.”
“Enemy” is almost a diss track against himself, positioning himself as an enemy of the people after his aggravating appearance at the NME awards. The track opens with Matt Healy cancelling Slowthai. And Slowthai takes every cue from Healy, both owning up to his actions and furthering the perceived damage with equally inappropriate and offensive bars. Its lyrics provide a thought-provoking take on cancel culture: “We all make mistakes / But I make my own, to each is his own.”
“BB (Bodybag)” continues the villainous narrative from “Enemy” with a tricky, snapping beat. He opens the track aggressively: “Mom said, ‘Son, don’t play with guns’ / But the voice in my head ‘kill everyone.’” Of the three, Slowthai shows off his rapping most effectively in this track, speeding up and slowing periodically, at points disregarding the rhythm of the beat, choosing to express himself at his own pace. It’s a stripped-down instrumental, providing Slowthai plenty of space to do what he does best: silliness and aggravation.
One of grime’s newest enemies, Slowthai’s dirty attitude and willingness to continuously push buttons makes him one of my favorite artists. He might not deliver on every track, and sometimes his flow is downright bad, but he’s an action-packed character ready to burst at a moment’s notice.