Potter Payper – Regina vs Jamel Bousbaa
Potter Payper's latest doesn’t quite reach the heights of past efforts like Training Day 2 or 24, but still stands up as a fine addition to his catalogue.

A common theme throughout Potter Payper’s music is his antagonism towards the establishment. The fact that on the title of the EP, Potter chooses to share his government name is his way of saying that this EP is “as real as it gets”. That his issues with Regina (latin for queen) are deeper than his frustration at being currently incarcerated for his part in a drugs operation and fighting a one man battle against the establishment. Quite frankly, as a certain rap icon once put it, its him against the world.

The first song “Heat” is a good example of this, with Potter wearily howling how he  “feels like he’s been trappin for a million weeks”  over a smearing hallucinogenic beat sets the tone for what’s to come from the next series of tracks. There is a constant sense of tension throughout Regina vs Jamel Bousbaa, that anything could collapse, a feeling for certain listeners that might be reminiscent of Max B’s last mixtape Walking the Plank, Prodigy’s  H.N.I.C, or Boosie Badazz & C Murder’s Penitentiary Chances; where the anxiety and the dangers of prison seem to seep out into the music. The isolation that comes with being stripped away from usual surroundings and sitting down in a box where life seems to stop for a person in a long time.

Even “You & I” which  is a step in an interesting new dancehall-esque direction and features the fiery presence of Ms Banks has the undercurrent that things could collapse and go wrong at any second. The best two songs on Regina vs Jamel Bousbaa have to be “Getting It” and “Right Now”. The former featuring road rap legend Blade Brown is a gloomy bruiser of a tune with he and Potter talking about the trap game that they know best. But for all their boasting about the money they stack there’s a sense of frustration from the two as if knowing that the good times may soon be over.

Then there’s the latter which could be best compared to Florida MMG rapper Gunplays “Bible on the Dash” but where as in Gunplay’s hands the song comes across as a confession from a soul who regrets decisions he’s made in the past, Potter Payper makes no such compromise. The loneliness is there but rather than point it at himself he aims squarely at those he distrusts and leaving enemies “head by their feet”. The weakest song on the album has to be “All I Ever Wanted”, which despite its police siren pitch beat is a rather generic trap song from a colourful rapper who tends to paint between the lines. The late S36 brings in a couple interesting details like meeting up with “cockneys in their 40s” but it’s not enough to bring life into the track.

While Regina vs Jaml Bousbaa doesn’t reach the heights of past efforts like Training Day 2 or One Time, it is a fine addition to the catalogue of one of the most respected names in UK rap. While his incarceration holds into question the speed at which he will be able to put out new music or even release new music at all, this EP will satisfy the hunger of his most die-hard fans. And judging from the messages of support from the likes of Stormzy and Wretch 32 which appear frequently throughout, there are many people who want to see the Essex rapper win.

Written by /
Published /
August 13
Category /
Album Review