'I was humbled to be asked by Werd to write a review for his latest project. With the release of his 'Salt n Sauce' video, directed by Omar Al-Zidjali of redtreefilms, I expected a straight hip-hop experience with Alien [PE.2]. Which was a false assumption. The overall feeling of the album is very dark, aggy, reflective and satirical. Lyrically very up front and honest. An aggravated lament. There are several themes throughout the album, frustration and comedy he witnesses in the hip-hop scene, his dis-trust for media and government, his purpose, his moral conscience and concern for the planet. Socially and ecologically. Multiple genres creep in. Making the whole album contemporary and relevant. But perhaps what you might not have expected.
The production on the album is flawless, start to finish. This is hardly surprising when you read the list of contributing producers. Soaring synths, varying grooves and styles all seem to merge effortlessly into an overall sound, feel and atmosphere. Despite the darker feel, there is still a lot of uplifting, funky moments. 'Human Form (Transform)'perhaps the funkiest. Short, sweet and to the point. His delivery skills are very well showcased in this project. 'Inner Caves' displaying his double-time abilities (plus a totally amazing sample) and his lyrical content is unapologetic and hard-hitting. He even sings a bit in 'Spoon-fed with plastic sporks'. A dark but very melodic piece. Tracks like 'Escape the Dying Planet' deliver his storytelling ability, the sense of drama coupled with epic samples leave a real impression. A good impression. The sense creeps in that lately he has questioned his own relevancy, yet also plays with the idea of being a caricature of himself. That his disappointment of what he's heard/seen in the scene has almost driven him to comment, with impact and eloquence. Occasionally tongue-in-cheek, but I note the sincerity of his delivery in some of those cases. Which makes it hard to judge how serious he is being in his criticisms. Part of me expects that this is his means of confronting the subject, but also hopefully making his fellow rappers and mc's think. Perhaps re-think. Perhaps reflect, as he has. As a listener, you feel included in the questioning he does. Almost a vibe of Werd suggesting - "You go think about that".
Overall, it's a very good album. I was impressed. His trademark delivery makes every track passionate in its own way. The final track 'Leave This Behind' seemed to epitomise his alienated vibe, but also acts as a question mark. Has Werd had enough? With quotes from the album like - "Represent, just resent" you could easily believe he feels unappreciated. But the fact is, he is appreciated and valued. An active advocate and supporter of his fellow artists. He's had a break, thought things over and now he's back. I think this project was his opportunity to clear the air and vent his concerns. However, now he has done that, could he be looking ahead? I hope so. Sometimes, we all feel Alien.'
Plus see the video for 'Salt n Sauce' on YouTube Here.
Becca Starr is a talented and respected singer / songwriter based in Scotland. For her music profile page please CLICK HERE