‘RUNT’ is a feverish, concise, and bleak portrayal of Slowthai’s life in the council estates of Northampton, UK.
I was first introduced to UK rapper, slowthai through the music video for one of his singles, ‘TN Biscuits’. The video’s frenetic pace and sharp contrast in color immediately caught my eye; the song’s dynamic, bass-heavy production and slowthai’s unique delivery and sardonic, street-savvy lyricism kept me listening and anxiously awaiting another full-length project. Now it’s finally here.
RUNT serves as a vivid, but the to the point image of slowthai’s life in Northampton, a town roughly two hours from London. The EP is five tracks with a total run-time of fourteen minutes and twenty-two seconds. The production is primarily handled by thai’s longtime friend and collaborator Kwes Darko. Every instrumental is dark and jarring, featuring syncopated rhythms, floor-shaking 808s, crisp kicks, and haunting melodies, which lends to the moodiness and unpredictability of Slowthai’s rhymes.
Slowthai’s raps on RUNT are often biting, but vulnerable. Even at his most cynical on the EP’s busiest song, ‘Drug Dealer’, slowthai shows in spite of the fact that he feels that his circumstances are inescapable, he still desires something more: “Traveled the country, hundreds of trains. Hundreds of lanes, hundreds of lanes. Hundreds of people that all act the same. Think to myself something’s gotta change.” Slowthai’s lyrics on his desire for a better life, as well as his openness about his love for his family, friends, and social class are prominent themes on the Runt. In combination with his blunt and sordid musings on the crime and poverty he’s experienced, Thai’s vulnerability gives a more nuanced perspective.
Overall, Runt is a great listen and a perfect introduction to one of grime’s burgeoning voices.
Check out Slowthai’s latest song ‘Doorman’ here.