It’s an interesting time for Wretch 32 to release ‘Black and White’: many people noted there was a lack of an appropriate song for the recent riots, and yet here is Wretch 32 rapping about just that.
He is joined on ‘I’m not the Man’ by Chipmunk rapping about a teenager who got stabbed in his hometown, spitting out discontented lyrics about taxes and crime and rising above modest beginnings.
It’s clear from ‘Black and White’ that there’s a lot more to Wretch 32 than his biggest hit ‘Traktor’. He’s obviously intelligent, his wordplay is far superior to his contemporaries and he has something to say that’s more meaningful than going out and getting drunk.
One thing worth noting from this release is that Wretch 32 is a very talented man, proven in the diversity of tracks included in ‘Black and White’. The album spans rap, dance, RnB, and even offers a ballad of sorts with the stunningly soft opening of ‘Forgiveness’.
He’s also a popular lad, with a whole host of musicians featured on his tracks, most notably Example, Chipmunk and Ed Sheeran.
The album, of course, includes the singles that have helped build so much excitement around the release of ‘Black and White’. ‘Traktor’ is given an early airing, followed by ‘Unorthadox’ with current number one ‘Don’t Go’ saved for the end of the album.
I think what makes ‘Black and White’ stand out from most other British rappers is that he seems to focus on the poetry of his observant lyrics and shy away from aggression, ego and excess.
If people want to blame the riots on aggressive rap music (yes, Paul Routledge, I mean you), then maybe they need to listen to ‘Black and White’. This record explains more than any other recent releases just why young people feel so discontent. Perhaps more importantly, it also positions Wretch 32 as the prime example of rap being more than aggression, which I think is important for a genre that is usually dirtied by such ignorant claims.