#SPLAM: Leddie & Smoggy – Sorry We’re Late (S2E4)

After I (Lee) exposed my favourite albums, and they were all projects that came in 2000’s or 10’s – I asked Suood, Phil, Akash and Matt to recommend albums from the apparent golden era’s of Hip Hop. The twitter conversation soon led to Phil proposing a Hip Hop book club – and here is SPLAM (we struggled for a name, but using our initials stuck). Using Onyx’s S(p)lam as an unofficial theme song, we are going to take turns to recommend one another an album to listen to, and then post our opinions in a blog post. We are then to debate our opinions on Twitter, and invite other Hip Hop enthusiasts to join in the conversation using the #SPLAM.

This week, we have Lee’s recommendation of Leddie & Smoggy’s Sorry We’re Late. Here are the initial thoughts of the team:

Lee:
“Leddie & Smoggy were two of the first MC’s from the North East I was introduced to. Sorry We’re Late was one of the first albums I listened from an act from my local area, and is largely responsible for my growing interest in North East rappers. The duo’s sharp social commentary mixed with emotionally resonant and self-aware introspection in an accent not dissimilar to mine, this is the album I’d like to make if I could rap. Front Row is a favourite of mine, and I can’t wait until the day I can be in the front row of an L&S gig. Out of the pair, I relate more to Leddie. We’re cut from the same cloth in terms of music, both sharing an unwavering love for Joe Budden, and it reflects in her rhymes. Smoggy on the other hand, is likely to be bigger hit with traditional hip hop heads, looking for depictions of their surroundings rather than themselves. I know that the rest of the group will probably not like this anywhere near as much as I do, if at all – but as far I’m concerned, it’s a must-listen North East Hip Hop album and one of my favourite releases of all time.”

Akash:
“After Dizzee Rascal’s BITD, I was cautious about Lee’s pick. I didn’t expect myself to enjoy this album as much as I did.
Leddie & Smoggy’s Sorry We’re Late hit almost every note right with me. Their hard hitting, often socially conscious and rebellious lyrics reminded me a lot of Bliss N Eso’s work.
Their elaborate flow coupled with delightful production was a joy to listen to. The production on this album was fucking incredible imo. Hard hitting percussion with melodic samples? Yes please. (I was pleasantly surprised when I heard the John Mayer cover/remix)
In conclusion, Sorry We’re Late is one hell of a debut album. No worries, Leddie & Smoggy. The wait was worth it.”

Matt: 

“Matt couldn’t make it again this week”

“One of the key things for me to enjoy listening to an artist is liking their voice and accent. For this edition’s album, Sorry We’re Late, that criteria has not been matched. If we weren’t reviewing it for SPLAM I would’ve honestly stopped after the first song. At least I could say I really enjoyed the production but I feel like it was wasted and this makes me wish other artists were rapping on this album instead. Furthermore, on top of my issues with how they sound, I hated how the bars were delivered all throughout this album from Leddie. Her flow tends to be irritating to listen to. I had a little hope when I heard “What If” but by then it was way too late. On the other hand I did sometimes enjoy hearing Smoggy rap, mainly on “Hard Road.” All those aforementioned reasons had any interest I had to hear what they’re even saying evaporate.
I can’t say there’s any track I wholly liked so I guess I don’t have a favourite but “Good Man” came closest. The worst of the bunch was “Front Row.”

Phil:
“Where to start then? The good points I guess. I like Leddie. I think she’s a very talented MC, definitely the stronger of the two and her solo song is one of the high points of the album. I checked out an acapella on Youtube that I really enjoyed as well as a couple of live performances where both MCs shone.
Some of the vocal samples throughout provide a great backdrop and there are some nice ideas and verses on here as well (Leddie & Smoggy, Front Row). It was also fun recognizing the vocal cuts throughout from some legends.
Unfortunately though, the album suffers from a number of fundamental flaws that really hold it back. The biggest issue that I have is that thanks to a number of contributing factors I find it hard to make out what the MCs are even saying at times. The accents are no problem to me but while Leddie has great enunciation, Smoggy slurs his words a bit and bizzarely the instrumentals are badly mixed and completely drown the vocals on a number of songs.
In fact the producer(s) have a lot to do with my negative feelings for the album, whether its the completely needless overuse of scratching effects, the strange robotic effects on the MCs that make them sound worse or just the fact that the beats in general are below par.
“Sorry We’re Late” opens with the line “This album is my life”, but by the end of it I don’t feel like I’ve got much personality from it and perhaps that is its biggest failing. Despite boht MCs being obviously talented (though they could improve their hooks) and a few highlights that I’ll return to, there are just way too many major issues for me to even call this a good album, never mind a classic.
Best Track: Simple Song/Hard Road
Worst Track: Walk The Line”

So mixed opinions all-round on Leddie & Smoggy’s Sorry We’re Late, which will be probably result in a lot of debate. As for Akash’s pick, we’ll be looking at Nujabes’ Metaphorical Music. Join in the conversation on Twitter using #SPLAM.

Previous SPLAMs
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