Charlie Sloth – In The Spotlight/It’s Hard Being Good

4 stars (out of 5)

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Charlie Sloth – In The Spotlight/It’s Hard Being GoodFirstly, I must say that this is not my personal choice in music so when approaching this album I did so with some trepidation, although with an open mind.

Charlie Sloth is a hip-hop artist who has been making music for around 9 years. He has won awards for his videos and has been highly acclaimed by some of the most well known rappers in the U.K.

However he remains unsigned and possibly the most impressive aspect about this album is that it is entirely self produced.

As I have mentioned, this genre of music is not my particular favourite, however I found this album to be a breath of fresh air in terms of its themes. This is a particularly honest album without the usual brash, hip-hop trappings. The impression given is of a normal guy from Camden just rapping about his life and day- to-day events.

The usual staple of girls, cars and guns, and how great all these are, hardly features at all and for that alone Charlie deserves a great deal of credit. It’s easy to reproduce a certain type of music, but much more difficult to do something different, and in this case Charlie has departed from the norm. This makes the tracks much more credible and you get a real, gritty feel for where this album is coming from.

Several of the tracks from this album are quite critical of the lifestyle that goes hand in hand with hip-hop and the negative effect that gang culture is having. “Slow Down” in particular highlights the realities of living the gang culture. Another of my favourite tracks is “Mr Rapman”, this track is basically a laugh at the expense of the “50 cent prodigies”. This is a really refreshing thing to hear on a hip-hop record when many artists in this genre take things so seriously.

Many of the tracks on this album are far more melodic than perhaps I would have expected and I must admit that this was a pleasant surprise. “Think Positive” and “Come Back To Me” especially are very easy to listen to, in comparison to many other songs of the same genre.

One of the negative aspects of this album is its length. Although there are 18 tracks on this record, that, could probably be cut down to about 13. Those tracks noted on the cover of the album as “Skit”, in my opinion, could be removed. Except for track eight which is more of an intro to “Mr Rapman”, these skits are samples from interviews etc, which basically compliment Charlie and whilst many of these are accurate, I really do not see a place for them on the album. (If they were printed on the sleeve that would be fine.) Even without the skits, the listener will draw the right conclusions from listening to the album.

In brief: this is a very good British hip-hop record that certainly begs the question: why isn’t this bloke signed to a label?