Rapper’s who use their influence and creativity as a vessel to campaign about political issues are few and far between. Supported by his highly acclaimed single Brixton First, Potent Whisper recently made national headlines for his resistance to the gentrification of Brixton. Hosting and featuring in spoken word performances, lectures and music workshops are just a handful of the ways he backs up the statements he makes in his music.
In today’s world, it’s commonly considered cool to brag about guns and money, but Potent Whisper offers something refreshing in our materialistic society. Often challenging the listener’s morality by raising important, real-life issues without comprising the quality of his music. Check out a previous interview we conducted with Potent Whisper here, that took place during a review of his last project, Love: The Mixtape.
“The definition of “radical” in the Cambridge Dictionary is “believing or expressing the belief that there should be great or extreme social or political change”. So it would seem that in Britain in 2017, the belief that everybody should be entitled to a home, to health care and to have our basic needs met, is radical. We are New Radical”
New Radical is a Grime based EP that begins with the track Deep Cuts ft. Tagz. The opening track focuses on government cuts and how its time to rise up against the establishment, with Tagz singing the hook;
“They said they loved you, but then they cut you, they never loved you, they only fucked you”
As usual, his variety of flows are impressive throughout and the hard-hitting lyrics he utilises cut straight to the point. The busy opening beat features dramatic choir-like vocals and lots of claps in typical Grime fashion, setting the pace early on, emphasising the severity of the issues in question.
Us The Workers ft. Fola starts off with a more minimal introduction, opting for the build up of tension with an opening verse from Potent with his lyrics very much the focus point;
“Prison is a privilege, when inside your fed lots, but outside you’re nibbling, its poverty, there’s lots to feed, me, I haven’t got the P, it’s a war, I’m living poor, I can’t afford the cost of peace“
After the opening verse, the track explodes into Fola’s first feature on the microphone, as she sings “We’re the ones who give sweat and blood, we’re the ones who don’t get enough”. Additional background elements such as cymbals and rides are introduced to create a more chaotic atmosphere as Potent Whisper touches on various sub-topics. The main theme is fixated on the hardships the working class have to face in comparison to those born into privilege or those who hold government positions. The chemistry between the busy instrumental, the lyrics and the impressive vocals are a perfect match. Especially when things switch from high to low towards the more subdued sections of the track.
Next up, Like David Like May ft. Fola. An opening sample features labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, layered with angelic vocals from Fola, setting the mood before Potent Whisper arrives. In my opinion, Like David Like May feels like the most successful combination of activism and music on the whole EP. The spotlight is placed on the government again as you would expect, touching on how they profit from war, and the poor, with no remorse. Highlighting a variety of recent government controversies and mixing them with responses such as;
“Fuck your armour, our rocks are harder. Out to the younger dons in Gaza”
and statements like;
“When a peace sign is radical and the people fight for capital. Where the weak all die like animals, bruv none of us think that’s rational”
“I won’t calm down, nuh i wont relax. I’m bringin’ arms out and I’ll load the facts. I didn’t vote for you, I didn’t vote for that. No confidence, yeah I’ll vote for that!”
Intelligent wordplay and intricate flows are glued together by yet another fantastic feature from Fola as she sings “You ain’t no leader bruv, you never see the blood”.
Though the first three songs were a lot more aggressive, the removal of all negativity and a focus on positive emotions in the final track was a welcome way to end the EP. The lyrics are directed towards the listener, a pleasant contrast, as opposed to the previous three songs where the lyrics were aimed at the government. Lara Lee, who worked with Potent Whisper on the aforementioned Brixton First single, makes an appearance with graceful, beautiful vocals, reminding the listener to “Breathe and then remember love”.
New Radical is a powerful, thought-provoking EP that provides knowledge and a mix of emotions. I would find it hard to recommend an artist that could match Potent Whisper’s passion and execution when it comes to politically based music. Every track has its own story and the storyteller certainly knows what he’s doing when it comes to creating original, imaginative music. The production throughout is fantastic and always sets the right mood to match his lyrics, however, I feel like the overall mixes could be improved slightly. Purchase New Radical here.