UK Hip Hop: Artists & Discographies www.low-life.fsnet.co.uk
www.low-life.fsnet.co.uk
Intro Early Doors:
1979-1985
False Dawn:
1985-1990
Underground Years:
1990-1995
The Renaissance:
1995- 2000
The Future:
2000 & Beyond
Artists &
Discographies
Artists and Discographies index
Estelle - The 18th Day CD [V2]
Est'elle - The 18th Day CD [V2]
Tracklist:
01. 1980
02. Don’t Talk
03. Dance Bitch
04. Change Is Coming
05. Go Gone
06. Free
07. I Wanna Love You
08. Maybe
09. Crazy
10. Hey Girl ft. Baby Blue & John Legend
11. All Over Again ft. Royston
12. Dance With Me
13. On And On
14. Gonna Win
Estelle's album entitled "The 18th Day" will be released on 18th of October. The number 18 is particularly significant for Estelle as it was the day she was born. However, it almost never happened. On the 18th of January 1985 Estelle's mother had a near death experience while giving birth, but fortunately came back to life. Since then Estelle has never taken her life for granted. It was on her 18th birthday that she decided to take to the mic and embark on a rapping career that has made her one of the hottest new urban artists in the UK.

This whole album is actually quite different to what I had imagined it would be like. I had anticipated more from Estelle of what I am really used to. What I am used to from her is guest spots on UK Hip Hop acts tracks. This usually means a really rugged track and quite often in a semi backward looking mid '90's production style. This is actually what I like and therefore it took me a while to realise that Estelle is so much more than that.

The LP is quite standard in that there are no skits, it is short-ish in today's age of 24 track albums, but at 14 full tracks long it is full enough and can be a bit more focussed than some. The main thing I took from this album is that it is quite personal and Estelle doesn't shy away from expressing her feelings. Additionally she also chooses to rap intelligently on serious topics and for me this is something Hip Hop needs to get back to. As Estelle demonstrates it doesn't need to be done in a preachy way or be super hardcore, but in recent years Hip Hop as lost its way in search of sales and it is a perverse irony that it is an act so blatantly primed for commercial appeal should be removing the unedifying bling and portrayals of totally wasted lives.

The LP is well structured and flows through moods. It starts off with the clubby more upbeat tracks and as the LP progresses becomes both more soulful and RnB influenced. There is a great deal of singing on here from Estelle and that s one of the main things I was not expecting. One thing you would expect is the tales of Love troubles and there are a few of these.

Estelle states, “My mother always told me to finish what I started. I didn’t come this far, or go through all the shit I have been through to flop now. Give me a reason why I can’t and I will give you ten reasons why I can” .

The first single “1980” displayed a sense of familiarity and girl-next-door character which the nation immediately tuned into. It is a real life story about growing up, and relates the kind of experiences many of us had to endure. Living in an overcrowded house, boiling water for a bath and eating porridge so she could afford Nikes, are not tales of abject poverty, but simply how life is across much of the country.

It’s this kind of humble confessional which sets Estelle apart from her contemporaries. “The album is real personal”, she admits. “It’s about people that have hurt me, and people that have made me happy. Everything I write about has actually happened to me”.

Perhaps that’s what makes this album so refreshingly inspirational and upbeat. Estelle is not one to play the pity me card and will not go along with the “rising above the ghetto” template which has been laid out for her as a British black artist. The positivity of her music shines like a beacon and is somewhat different from the grime, crime and perfectly justified “tryin’ to make a pound” stance of the remaining talented UK acts who have not been as fortunate as Estelle and are still looked over by the major labels.

“Free” is a real call to the nation’s youth to do something with their lives. A disappointing track, but with valid sentiments, as Estelle sees it, the youth have been given the freedom to make their own choices in life, and for that they should be grateful. The same encouragement is given in “Change is Coming”: “From the age of 13 you got the choices, it’s your life, don’t let the past rule you, choose your own route”. And in the gospel-inspired “Gonna Win” her self-belief wins through as she heeds the inner voice which tells her to keep pressing on with her music, despite what others say.

It’s a strength which has also helped her through difficult relationships. “Crazy” and “Hey Girl” will appeal to anyone who has ever been driven mad in love. Which is most of us. These are revenge songs to rival Millie Jackson and show no mercy to those who have hurt her. “The song basically says, ‘you’ve pissed me off and I have to write about it, because if I don’t I’m gonna kill you’”, she spits. And yet the toughness melts away and she becomes vulnerable again when she finds new love in lo-slung ballads such as “All Over Again” and “Maybe”.

“Hey Girl” features the utterly irresistible vocals of John Legend, Kanye West’s current protégé and soon-to-be-massive soul singer. In fact the album has soul in spadefuls. “Go Gone” is pure Motown and it will surprise many that this girl can belt out pop-tinged R&B tracks and slow jams that make your knees tremble, as well as the kind of breezy laid back hip hop for which she is loved. To the non believers “Go Gone” gives a stinging retort:

“I see you watching me, and I know you’re looking deep in my face,
You just can’t wait, can’t wait to beat me down,
But I ain’t going down no way,
You see me rising higher and you’re trying to put some rocks in my way,
But I’m bigger and stronger, I guess I go faster, and you’re never gonna get in my way”


Estelle does have a bit of difficulty with some of her rapping and I couldn't really put my finger on what was going wrong, but after speaking to one of my friends he said that simply she had too many teeth in her mouth, and I think he could have been right! The tracklisting and cover of the version I have is different to the one at amazon.co.uk, so you may have to check what you are getting. Four of the tracks on here have already been on the two singles (five if you believe Amazon) and being a short album and bearing in mind that there will be another single, those on a tight budget may be entering the zone as to where they have to choose whether to purchase or not, even if they want this. At the moment, if what I have described sounds like your bag, then the answer is that you have to pick it up, but if you wear an un-washed hoodie, just grunt and don't dance either, maybe it isn't for you.

“Estelle has truly arrived. It’s not about potential anymore. She’s on the pathway to fulfillment.” Echoes
“Woe betide anyone who in future makes the mistake of not taking this young woman very seriously indeed… Estelle is the real deal. Just watch her go.”  Sunday Times

http://www.estelleonline.net :: http://www.v2music.com
 

Intro Early Doors:
1979-1985
False Dawn:
1985-1990
Underground Years:
1990-1995
The Renaissance:
1995- 2000
The Future:
2000 & Beyond
Artists &
Discographies

Send all comments, suggestions, & questions to: (QED)
© 1996-2003 Peter Low. All rights reserved

Web design and administration by:
QED 


Britishhiphop.co.uk