The word ‘masterpiece’ is banded about all too liberally these days. Case in point: the press release for the new single from London’s Axel boldly stating said release was a “truly remarkable masterpiece”. I know rap is supposed to be hyperbolic, but come on!
Just because something isn’t a masterpiece however, doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Case in point: ‘Solitude’, the new single from London’s Axel. Coming in at a little over two minutes, it’s a short sharp foray through the mind of the rapper as he muses on ideas of solitude; the lyrics approaching the idea from various perspectives that provides the track with a level of intelligence and introspection not often seen across the more melodic and mainstream rap that Axel can be compared to.
Indeed, ‘Solitude’ itself is backboned by a chilled instrumental, hinged on 808 beats and an understated melody that allows Axel’s lyricism to really stand out. At least most of the time. There are occasions when the production feels a little muddy, and the vocal delivery gets lost within treble-y percussion.
It’s a small price to pay for what’s otherwise a smart, slick track that prides itself on the lack of posturing that so often goes hand in hand with heavier subgenres of UK rap. Instead, Axel prefers an almost lazy, stoned delivery that’s bolstered by the understated instrumental.
All in all, press release hyperbole aside, ‘Solitude’ is a track that highlight’s just exactly why Axel’s popularity is starting to snowball, and with each release stronger than its predecessor, he’s definitely a prospect to keep an eye on across 2023.