Skepta, Chip & Young Adz - Insomnia (Album Review)

Three different UK rappers from three different generations: Skepta, Chip and Young Adz (half of the duo D-Block Europe) all join forces for their new studio release 'Insomnia'. With three big names attached to this album, it had high expectations that to be honest, weren't met. The production on this album isn't very good. While there are some great beats, there's a whole load of generic, bland beats and a few that just seem very watered down. The 808s that are prevalent seem pretty generic as well for the most part, and a large chunk of it is boring. Skepta was pretty disappointing this project, while his standard flow was still solid and his delivery was as aggressive as ever - he had few decent lines and lyrically it was a downgrade compared to previous projects. Chip stole the show (although there wasn't much of a show) on this project, because like Skepta, his delivery was menacing as well as his ability to glide through every beat so effortlessly. He also had the best punchlines and bars of the album and it's not even close. Young Adz has a good hook in him, but lyrically he's very basic and his bars seem weak and lazy. His delivery can be a bit lifeless at times too, and he was evidently the weakest of the project. The trio only really talk on drugs, girls and their status in the project - and even then they struggle to stick to topic. Content wise, I was just expecting a bit more.

This album begins with 'Mains', a reference to Skepta's clothing line yet is a real low of the project. The beat is a bit weird but not too bad, it just comes across a bit watered down as I mentioned earlier. Overall, it's a boring track and neither of the three rappers were saying much. 'Golden Brown' is much better, as is the chilled production with soft strings which really suit the atmosphere. Skepta's melodic hook sounds nice, and his verse is decent enough. While Adz is basic and the more lifeless part of the track - it's Chip who steals the song with his verse full of bars and wordplay, "She's staring at my Cuban jewellery, ain't no biggie // I'm glorious, notorious up in my city (Baby, baby)". The only single of the album 'Waze' is a high point, while there's nothing crazy about the beat it's the trios performances which save the song. Adz is at his best on a hook with a decent melody, Chip hits us with his classic punchlines in his mean verse and Skepta came at us so hard despite the fact lyrically he was a bit meh. It has replay value at least. 'Demons' is another boring track with tame 808s and a bland beat overall. Once again it's only Chip who stands out with Skepta and Adz bringing forgettable cameos. The only feature of the project, other half of D-Block Europe Dirtbike LB is on this track and he's alright, he had a funny line or two he just sounded too similar to Young Adz.

'St Tropez' is a cheat code. It samples 'Paper Planes' by M.I.A. and I love that song. The sample is great, the bass is hard as is the 808s, and from that point on the track was never going to lose. The rappers themselves didn't talk on anything new - but the cadence, flow and delivery was on point from everybody and it's the best song of the album no doubt. The title track 'Insomnia Interlude' kills the hype of the last track straight away. I appreciate what they're trying to do on this track, talking about why they can't sleep at night whether it be to drugs or their work rate - but it wasn't executed well. The beat again is bland, and tame while all the rappers sound bored on this track - literally putting me to sleep ironically. Also, this bar from Young Adz is horrible, "Yeah, how do I make you smile? I already know how to make you cum". 'Star in the Hood' is another forgettable song with a bland beat, boring performances from all the rappers and a really lazy hook from Adz - making it yet another low point of the album. At least 'Mic Check' is good after that slug-fest. It has a great, old school kind of garage feel to it, and for the first time this album it's Skepta who stands out the most with his delivery colliding with the beat sensationally. Everyone else has short but dweet verses, and it's just a great track with a nostalgic feel overall. 'Traumatised' isn't too bad of a song to be honest. The beat isn't special, but it's not boring and bland like a few other instrumentals here. The hook is catchy and of course Chip's verse is very enjoyable.

Again with 'Sin City' it's a bit meh - not bad, not great. The rappers talk on their sins in life as the title suggests and none of these verses stand out - but I wouldn't go as far as to say they're special. Again, just like the song, the beat isn't horrible but it doesn't stand out either. The beat on 'High Road' suits the atmosphere well and is one of the better beats on the album as we get a more emotional side from the rappers covering a whole range of topics. Once again though, it's hard to stay interested because the flows are basic, stale and don't change once. For some reason, this project finishes on 'Intro' and it seemed a bit pointless. It's only a minute long, and neither of them say anything new - it would've worked as an actual first song but as the outro it seems unneeded. The beat ins't bad to be fair, the 808s go hard and the melody of the instrumental is decent.

To conclude this album, it was disappointing. It had its moments - but it's just a forgettable album really overall. Skepta wasn't horrible but for his standards he was underwhelming here. Chip was by far the best and was my favourite part of 11/12 tracks on this thing, while Young Adz' verses are boring and I think he just needs to stick to the hooks.

FAVOURITE TRACKS: Golden Brown, Waze, St Tropez, Mic Check



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