A very exciting listen
Adam England
12:43 9th March 2021

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When you play around with multiple genres on one record, the result can either be great...or very much the opposite. Fortunately for Tiggs Da Author, Blame It On The Youts, with all of its innovation, is the former.

The Tanzanian-born Tiggs takes the music of the African diaspora in the UK along with some more direct influences from the continent and from across the Atlantic too. Tanzania might be the opposite side of Africa to Ghana, but there are highlife and hiplife influences here, along with a bit of jazz, reggae and hip-hop too. 

Opener ‘Enough’ kicks off proceedings with a burst of acoustic energy - almost folk-pop in nature - and there’s some jazz in there, all accompanied by smooth backing vocals. A good reference point would be Michael Kiwanuka’s acoustic-soul sound, but Tiggs is definitely no imitator - this is very much his own thing. 

He definitely doesn’t shy away from this sort of stripped-back approach; ‘Chasing Love’, situated towards the end of the record, has Tiggs’ vocals front-and-centre, accompanied by simple instrumentation that becomes a little more ‘jazzy’ as the track moves on. 

‘Enough’ is followed by the excellent ‘Zulu Gang’, marking a change in style with an off-beat reggae feel, and the groovy ‘We Ain’t Scared’, one of the singles already available. It has all the makings of an island party anthem despite the lyrics touching on some pretty serious topics. “You don’t want us to feel alright/You don’t want us to read or write” sings Tiggs pointedly on a track that looks at his life, moving from Tanzania from the UK and manoeuvring life in south London without a father figure.

On the philosophical ‘Suitcase of Sins’, we slow things down a few notches. A gospel-infused anthem, Tiggs ponders whether he’ll “still get to heaven/with a suitcase of sins”, the lyrics still hitting hard and feeling incredibly poignant. 

Tiggs Da Author manages to combine quite a lot into eleven tracks, and it doesn’t feel as if there’s much in the way of filler; every track stands out, which is testament to the variety on the album. ‘Brand New’ is a highlight, a funky disco-inspired track reminiscent of the Daft Punk/Pharrell Williams/Nile Rodgers collaborations a few years back, while the album closer ‘Fly ‘Em High’ featuring English rapper Nines has a more typical British hip-hop sound and, released as a single last month, looks to have plenty of commercial potential.

Effortlessly combining afrobeats, afrojazz and afrosoul with a touch of contemporary hip-hop and a spot of reggae too, there’s enough about Tiggs to firmly set him apart from his peers. Make no mistake: this is a very exciting listen.

Blame It On The Youts arrives 12 March via Alacran Records.

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Photo: Press