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theguardian - 28 days ago

AJ Tracey: Flu Game review – a confident slam dunk

Ladbroke Grove meets the NFL as the London rap star eyes the US market on a basketball-inspired album of nonstop bangersWest London rapper AJ Tracey’s ambitious second studio album doesn’t just nod to the p it references a 1997 NBA game when a visibly unwell Michael Jordan overcame food poisoning to help the Chicago Bulls to victory. Tracey is also digging deep to triumph over the odds, the title implies, with a US audience in his sights on this “sophomore” album.What follows is a three-pointer taken with poise and verve. Despite the many basketball references – tracks like Draft Pick, Kukoč and Eurostep – plus the presence of US guests such as T-Pain and Kehlani, Tracey’s output remains reassuringly hyperlocal, not diluting his flows but rather taking plenty of familiar UK specifics international. West Ten, his terrific garage-revival hit with Mabel, is most obviously sited in Ladbroke Grove, but granular references to Tracey’s “opps”, upmarket restaurants and Vimto also litter these confident, irresistibly rhythmic verses. Continue reading...

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