AJ Tracey has just dropped his highly anticipated, fully independent, self-titled album, and the newly converted ‘country star’ has delivered a project with plenty of different sounds and energies for his ever-growing fan base.
The 808-King opens up his album with what he claims to be his oldest song on the record. ‘Plan B’ is two years old according to the Tottenham man, but it opens the album well, with a darker, and intense sound that we have been missing from the MC recently.
This song is targeted towards a variety of emotions that the rapper was going through at that time, with AJ first experiencing some real money and success. It all ties in together nicely to bring us into the next track.
Track two is ‘Jackpot’, coming with a light, smooth sample on the beat, AJ Tracey tackles this one with an iconic, catchy AJ hook.
AJ is lyrically solid on this one, with multiple references to his lavish lifestyle, which still seems to be slightly intertwined with his life before all the fame and money.
“My wrist look like a Skepta ad-lib, but my fans love me ’cause I’m interactive, you sell tracks ’cause of who you rap with, givin’ beef, how many of your features backed it?”
– AJ Tracey, Jackpot
‘Wifey Riddim 3’ comes in for track four, as the third part of the Wifey Riddim trilogy.
The hook is catchy, with what sounds like a slight afro/carribean influence on the samples, the boy from Ladbroke Grove puts this one together nicely. Sharing vibes and good energies as the album progresses.
Track five is ‘Double C’s’. This is one of my favourites off the album, one that can be listened to for any mood.
It rings off well, with another very catchy hook to get stuck in your head. The beat is so nice for this too, where it ends with a short interlude from an answering machine – which seems like the go-to thing to do when dropping a project nowadays.
AJ Tracey told Beats 1 that his album would include his take on Country Music, and he wasn’t lying. Track six comes with a Country sampled beat, which combines the classic AJ Tracey flow, with arguably some Nav-influenced vocals on the hook.
I wasn’t sure on this one at first, but it slowly seems to be growing on me.
AJ Tracey’s latest single off the album, ‘Psych Out!’ arrives on track seven. This has been received well by his audience, although I really can’t deny that I think this sound has taken a massive influence from Nav, especially in the video.
But, it fits into the album nicely and transitions really well from ‘Country Star’.
I like that AJ Tracey has switched up his sound as his career has progressed, but I can’t be the only one that misses the heavy Grime, ‘Packages’ AJ Tracey.
Track eight comes with an American collaboration with Jay Critch. Its smooth, trappy and has a slight sound similar to Gunna, which I really like.
From this point in the album I was surprised at the versatility that AJ has shown, a number of different sounds have been put together, and they all some how work as one playlist.
Jorja Smith features on the vocals of song number 11 of ‘AJ Tracey’. The summery, garage sampled ‘Ladbroke Grove’ brings sunshine and just a load of good vibes to the album.
This is my favourite song off the tape, which I’m quite surprised at considering I was expecting something a lot Grimier to take the crown.
Its then followed by another one of AJ’s singles off the record, ‘Doin It’ comes in for track 12, and I really don’t feel like this is one of the South London rapper’s best tunes.
To say this is supposed to be one of the Grimier tracks on the album, its left us all a bit disappointed in that respect.
However, the album doesn’t take long to regain the high standard it has carried throughout the large majority of the album, with the Landlord, Giggs being the next on the feature list for ‘Nothing But Net’.
This is definitely one of the strongest songs on the album, with the beat sounding like it was just destined to be playing into a pair of Giggs’ headphones in the studio.
AJ delivers really well on this one, running the beat well and switching his flows up to 140bpm when deemed necessary.
But Giggs comes and takes this track, and turns it into his own. Coming with an effortlessly sick verse, which just emphasises why this man has been at the top of the game for so long.
Track number 14 takes us back to the AJ Tracey ‘The Front’ EP days, with a beat that could easily slide into that EP if it wanted.
This is a sound that we haven’t heard from the Rapper for a while now, but it works so well, and seemed to bring back so many memories from the times of the up and coming AJ.
The album closes with the 15th track, ‘Triple S’ which teases us for a good minute before the beat actually drops.
Its hard, its one for the car and really does eject high energies out of the speakers. This is one that would be mental at one of AJ Tracey’s live shows.
As a whole, the album is very strong, it comes with so many different sounds and really does captivate a lot of what AJ has been thinking about/going through since his career really blew up.
As an independent album, this one is definitely one that you could back to make some history in the charts.
There are songs that could be deemed radio-friendly, but theres also a lot that just reflect the amount of different influences that AJ Tracey has had during his time as a musician.
AJ has evolved since the start of his time in the music game, and it is exciting to see what else the he has to offer in the future.