Knucks gives fans a deeper look into the man in the machine with his lavishly futuristic EP London Class. Coming into this year, the Northwest London rapper showed that he was ready to dive deeper into his sound with his commemorative single “Julibee”. What many did not know is that the single was going to set the tone for his forthcoming project. The 12-song EP is a detailed story of an artist that treads the line between the rough streets and progressive aesthetic-inspired lifestyle of London.
While he is one of the various talents to emerge from the U.K, he isn’t necessarily a grime artist. At the same time, his obvious sense of awareness of today’s political climate wouldn’t have him classified as a pop star. His accent is native but his sound is something that’s aimed to be felt far across British waters. The way Knucks is able to deliver on London Class is with the utmost sincerity and confidence.
“If my words got you hurt, then they meant to,
if I ever did you dirty then I meant to,
pandemics happen cause it’s meant to”
The project’s opening lines from the first track “Thames” defines the mentality Knucks lives upon. Not only has he become as blunt as he is assuring, but he’s even more conscience of the realities he lives within. The guitar and saxophone that grace this instrumental really makes this track something rather scenic.
Following up is the EP’s second single, “Fxxked Up”. This song isn’t an alcohol ode but a warning to watch the thin line you walk on within his hometown streets. The glamour behind London and its culture is not without violence that nobody is exempt from. The second track plays like a portal into the dimly lit streets of the city’s nightlife. Knucks and House of Pharoahs rapper Sam Wise take the stargazed production and creates a startling message for anyone naively wandering out late. His sound is conceptual and his sophomore release shows a great of maturity building upon his abilities. He doesn’t just paint the picture for you, he grabs you and brings you into the art within the frame.
That is exactly what he does as he arrives as the life to the party on the ultramodern “Hugh Heff”. Layered within the instrumental are the swanky piano rifts that uplift his cool demeanor to give it a breath of fresh air. The distorted vocals help the “Home” lyricist make a grand entrance for his artistry’s persona to make its acquaintance. It’s a beat cold enough to make you see your breath but it’s his undeniable charisma that gives the track its swagger.
Knucks’ level of confidence shines throughout the tracklist and is what really makes this project whole. It’s also the main inspiration that keeps the rapper progressing on deep cuts like “Standout”. He sounds polished but his determination is what has potential to really make an international figure to watch for. This song embodies the London artist’s vibe on this EP to a tee: soulful, brass production that makes it easy for the rapper to dispel an array of emotions building inside of him.
Made within that same spirit comes a very politically charged track entitled “Your Worth”. The hysteria-filled instrumental is fitting for the mirrored perspective Knucks gives regarding recent injustice issues making global headlines this year. While it’s the slow point for the EP, it’s also where we find Knucks illustrating at his best. Trauma from this year’s racially-motivated events has been felt across the world and the rapper hasn’t been blind to it.
“Take your hands off my neck, what the heck,
I’m just trying to breathe,
when it get so casual making casualties,
Kind of makes you think, hatred is their favorite drink”
What really drives the anger out of this song is the deep saxophone under a passionate Dave Chappelle clip. Pain salts the open wound as the comedian touches on the George Floyd death and the officers involved.
“Muva’s Life” featuring South London rapper kadiata features an uptempo melody and blaring 808s personifying the spirit of Knucks’ No Days Off collective. For the rapper himself, it’s a manifestation for his music’s constant evolution and the many levels he aspires to reach. In regards of the project, it’s a fitting closer for an EP that ends too fast.
London Class is a purposeful, ear-pleasing project that incorporates who he is and the city that inspired him. The choice to blend jazz-influenced horns and futuristic sounds is a chef’s kiss that shouldn’t go unnoticed. It also highlights the growth that he has made in his executive producing skills since he first dropped Nrg 105 last year. This EP is a wonderful offering for Knucks, whom is only beginning to see his potential success.
Favorite songs: “Muva Life”, “Thames”, “Hugh Heff”