OG ‘Bow’ Grime veteran, Flowdan (of Roll Deep), has released a single and a video from his forthcoming album ‘Full Metal Jacket’, due for release 24th May, on Tru Thoughts; ‘One Question’, and jheeeeze it’s a cold, well executed concept.
Coming with an exploration into his motives for doing up road, contrasted against the driving influences for taking music all the way, and the inner conflict this crossroads has created, Flowdan asks himself some serious questions, and bares his conscience and soul confidently.
Muszolini provides a threatening backdrop, with a full, heavy track. Making use of a continuous synth melody pattern, which he changes every 4 bars (along with Flowdan, in order to match the style and tempo of whichever character he is currently portraying), laced with a hard, but empty kick/snare pattern, fully skippy hihats, a simple, deep sub bass, with an occasional floating synth accent, the listener is moved to tune in as though heeding a warning, by the music alone. Clever.
The visuals, produced by Ruffi, are outstanding. The whole vibe is fresh, crisp, and aesthetically in sync with the bars throughout.
Representing all the different, dark characters and the heavy motivations for doing road, as well as his musical aspirations, and the very real cost of doing road to his peace, Flowdan takes it deep with this one, and spits real and raw, with that unmistakable, OG Veteran level flow. Using filters on the vocals to show contrast every four bars, this adds weight to the opposing forces and motivators at play in his life. Flowdan shells the good and the bad, the dark and the light, the pure and the evil, and shows the struggle he has faced to rise above what was already laid out for him.
To kick of the track, and the video, Flowdan asks ‘Ask yourself this question, next time you see your reflection/Is it me or my ego, who’s name’s getting mentioned?’, and throughout the video there are images of statues, going by on the screen, representing the different pressures and characters being levied on Flowdan, as he navigates his way through both necessity and dreams.
For half of the track and video Flowdan is seen in all black against a white background, and spits in his usual low, low tones, characterising the voice of reason, and representing the draw towards leaving road behind and focusing on music and family. On this side of the track, we get bars like ‘It don’t make sense any more/I don’t get rest any more/Gonna need more than a draw/Can’t work with the stress on my chest any more’, and ‘I know it ain’t nice when it’s on/I seen head roll like dice when it’s on/Everyone’s gotta pay the price when it’s on/I wanna make sure my yute dem are nice when it’s on’, with Flowdan spitting facts about the gritty reality of the weight you really end up carrying, doing road. Later he shares an insight into his dreams for a positive lifestyle, his music career, and peace in his life ‘They say home is where the heart is....Trying to focus and be an artist’. Deep.
For the other half of the riddim, Flowdan is seen in all white, against a black background, with filters on his vocals to distort them, and bring life to the opposing forces and characters in his life, who have played the roles of the tempting, coercive voices of doing road. On this side of the track we get bars like ‘Shut up, nobody don’t know you/It’s ‘cause of me that they’re letting you go through’,and ‘We don’t skin teeth any more/We don’t need rest, we don’t sleep any more’ and ‘Joke, that’s why I should take over/Nuttin ain’t too much for me, man are soldier/I send the enemies up to Jehova/You’re home chilling with your wife on the sofa’, and ‘Bad man ting from morning till evening/Put down them books that your reading/Right now the yute them need feeding/So we got no time for your dreaming’, representing the draw from road and the pressures from elsewhere getting at him. Deeper still.
The hook is a clever duality of the positive and negative influences in the track. With both characterisations taking half the hook each and having a little back and forth over which of these approaches to run with, and each side being equally frustrated by the other, Flowdan has both voices overlap ad-libs and bars, in a clever call and response style pattern; ‘Dealing with (wha?),what am I dealing with (deal with them)/Dealing with (wha?), nah I’m not feeling it (watch how I deal with them)/(Wha?) Watch how I deal with them, (Wha?) watch how I deal with them/(Wha?) You know man don’t want agree with them/(Hear that) So watch how I deal with them’. The level of creativity here is a next ting.
This riddim has got levels to it. Flowdan has represented both sides of this coin so well, that the choice between necessity and dreams, between pressure and hope, between following the pre-established path, or building your own off-plan, and the inner conflict created by such a crossroad is most definitely present, real and raw.
The first release from the upcoming album ‘Full Matal Jacket’. Deep, dark, wavey vibes, fr, don’t miss this one! Cop it!