Akala - It's Not A Rumour
Akala’s breakthrough raw free-style on inner city deterioration furiously rapped from the top of a police car on the War/Banga 4 Da Street video introduced UK hip-hop to an MC who was provocative, convicted and resolute. His debut album It’s Not a Rumour encapsulates this energy and fire on starter track Stand Up, as he crashes in like an apocalypse over a Van-Halen incendiary riff.
Lyrically, Akala is superb; matching the skills of some of hip-hop’s greatest. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah cleverly pokes fun, with remarks you could imagine Eminen making: 'Got more lines than Whitney’s nostrils'. Cold has great insight into society – from his bitter attack on former teachers: 'turn an innocent kid into an ignorant pig' to his perceptive view of life’s problems: 'Yeah, I had to struggle, but it’s all sugar-coated if you think about the millions barely living and hopeless'. The message of hope and possibility running through Nas’ early hit If I Ruled the World is echoed beautifully on Carried Away.
This diversity in rhyming is also found in his sample use. Akala enters a territory normally unfamiliar to rap: elemental guitar rock complete with distorted chords and thundering drums. Although, hip-hop has dabbled with guitars, few explore it to the extent of Akala. He goes from hard, edgy rock; to 60s style Jimi Hendrix riffs on The Edge into soft, folk rock on Carried Away. The use of Tomcraft’s trance smash Loneliness on Shakespeare is inspired and the rolling Isley Brothers soul groove on the autobiographical Hold Your Head Up has that classic old-skool feel.
Akala appeals because he is so fearless, his ease in spitting his thoughts over a turntable or an electric guitar display a talented and imaginative MC with no boundaries in expressing his dissatisfaction with London, UK, hip-hop, politics and the world. A new street prophet has emerged.