The 22-year-old Manchester rapper Harrison Armstrong, AKA Aitch, has had a meteoric rise. His breakout, tongue-twisting 2018 observe Straight Rhyme introduced him to the eye of Stormy, and singles Style (Make It Shake) and Rain each reached the UK Prime 10. Recent-faced, with a cheeky grin, Armstrong gave voice to teen innuendos whereas toting the gold chains of success.
His debut album has been a lot anticipated. Boasting options from Ed Sheeran and AJ Tracey, these 16 tracks are Armstrong staking his declare to the mainstream. The outcomes are largely predictable: singles 1989 and Child interpolate samples from Ashanti’s 2003 hit Rock Wit U and Stone Roses anthem Fools Gold, with Armstrong’s verses as embellishment. Unique manufacturing In Disguise performs like a pastiche of the Streets.
These are simple wins – a sonic sugar rush that crashes as soon as every three-minute observe is over. But when Armstrong offers us a glimpse of life away from the party-rapping – exploring his anxieties on Belgrave Street and his relationship together with his sister on My G – he showcases a newfound vulnerability. It’s a welcome new course, suggesting a willingness to confront the darker elements of his psyche as he matures.