Take note of the magical fusion of African, Caribbean and UK Sonics, that Not3s brings through on his latest project
Let me start by saying that as a first generation UK don, originally from West Africa- I’m loving the strong afrobeats influence that’s been permeating swathes of the UK rap spectrum in the last couple of years. Self serving but useful, accurate labels such as Afro-Bashment, Afro-Swing and more have been thrown out by the frontrunners in the scene to stake claim as progenitors, but one only has to look at the seminal album of genre torchbearer J Hus to see how deep this well of experimentation runs. Naturally such co signs from top artists have given the young genre a solid stamp of approval from the masses. If J Hus is the king of this rising genre, then I’d have to say that Not3s is definitely the crown prince of this UK mix of afrobeats, bashment/dancehall and rap.
Not3s first came to our attention when he dropped the insanely catchy and infinitely relatable ‘Addison Lee’. I mean we’ve all been in that position, at home preparing the Netflix film, in wait for a damsel in need of some TLC arriving in the Addison Lee; using such a universal experience worked wonders for Not3s and within a couple months of its release, ‘Addison Lee’ was the main feature of every beanie’s snapchat story.
However a bit of controversy came his way when he released ‘Notice’. Although the song was an undeniable scorcher, a lot of people were beggining to say that Not3s was sounding like J-Hus, even going as far as saying Hus would have sounded better over the Nastylgia production. In spite of this, Not3s kept plugging away and answered the way any star should to criticism. He came back with summer time anthem ‘Aladdin’. If I’m being honest, when I first heard the song I wasn’t feeling it too tough. But after a couple more listens I couldn’t get the song out of my head; the chorus is what got me: “I am so fly like Aladdin, I steer the ship I’m the captain”. That hook, along with the synths and luxurious laid-back production is what really carries you away and it’s what gave the young hitmaker yet another notch on his belt as it were.
Following ‘Aladdin’, Not3s had to locate his princess Jasmine, and he achieved this by flying across the world to take it to the roots on latest single, ‘My Lover’. The visuals, directed by Kirx, where shot out in Zanzibar, and the landscape and vibe of the country really comes through, it looks stunning to say the least. Not3s properly brings out his African heritage on this one, and even though it’s a love song, it’s one of them ones you can also vibe to at a party with the squad.
Coming off the back of these fireball hits, and a number of impressive collaborations with the likes of Hardy Caprio and Young Adz, Not3s is taking things to the next level by dropping his debut EP, ‘Take Not3s’. Along with the tracks that we’d already heard: ‘Addison Lee’, ‘Aladdin’, ‘My Lover’ and ‘Notice’; the young rapper/singer is throwing in an additional five tracks of new material. He starts the tape with one of those, ‘Intro/Crank It Up’; a track so big when it comes to overall sound, that you can just picture him rocking the mic with a live band. I’d say it’s similar to J Hus’s ‘Common Sense’ in that way, but Not3s definitely adds his own flavours to the recipe with the intro.
My favourite track on the EP is the appropriately named ‘100 Degrees’, an absolute heater. Not3s rides the ethereal guitar riffs with ease, exclaiming how he’s “hotter than 100 degrees” and with this one, I’d have to agree with you Not3s. Across the tape are some fine guest spots, including another young hitmaker in the ascendancy in MoStack, as well as established veteran and label boss Tinie Tempah. Tinie making an appearance was abit of a given seeing as Not3s is signed to his publishing company Imhotep, and whilst they come together nicely on the agreeable enough ‘No Drama’. I’d say that this cut is definitely one for the radio, not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, but if I’m being honest I won’t be spinning this one in my whip.
However the tune featuring MoStack, ‘99+1’, is car crash music. I mean when you see that MoStack is the feature you know what time it is. If I could make an analogy, Steel Banlglez on production with MoStack on the track, is the equivalent to a world class quarterback throwing a long-range pass to a top-notch wide receiver; basically you know that a touchdown is the certified result of this magical combination.
Not3s wraps up the tape with ‘Hasta la Vista’, which was the correct way to end the project, with its garagey production and smooth vocals. Throughout the tape Not3s take us on a musical journey of the current and past sounds of UK urban music. I’d say the main ingredient in this powerful project, is the fusion of African, Caribbean and UK sonics. To end the EP by bringing us back to his foundations with a garage cut, the original sound of the UK mandem, shows how aware Not3s is off our rich music history and most importantly, how he can add to it.
Words: Denzil Bell