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'Flu Game' AJ Tracey Album Review

AJ Tracey shows us why he's an award winning artist once again with his new album, 'Flu Game'


It took me a while to truly discover AJ Tracey as I was still digging deeper into US Hip-Hop. I first became aware of AJ Tracey in 2017 when he released 'Secure the Bag!'. However, at the time my taste in Hip-Hop was very simple and so his music didn't resonate with me. When he released his self-titled debut album I began to gain more and more interest. I distinctly remember my brother showing me his track 'Butterflies' (the single with Not3s rather than the remix from his debut album) and feeling annoyed that I hadn't discovered the song before him. Once again, whilst I did enjoy AJ Tracey's debut album, it wasn't memorable for me. My attitude about his music changed when 'Secure the Bag! 2' dropped. That EP resonated with me. I haven't gone back to it too many times, but 'Yumeko' and 'Triggered' really stood out to me. The energy in 'Triggered' in particular, that song has gained a lot of replays from me!

This leads me to 'Flu Game', the second studio album from AJ Tracey which sees him raise his game once again to deliver a project that, in my opinion, shows a number of improvements on his debut album.


Anxious

The album opens with the hard-hitting single 'Anxious'. The recording serves as a great opening track, demonstrating the energy and lyrical precision you can expect over the rest of the album. He flows with his typical fast-paced lyricism, gloating throughout the track. For example:

Five top tens ago my people asked me "where's the hit?" Now every quarter I drop songs that could've won a BRIT I smell like oud, babe, you know this one's Saudi (Mashallah) I'm in 1OAK gangin', locals know I'm clouty (Yeah)

Kukoč

Following 'Anxious' is 'Kukoč', featuring Nav. My personal taste stops me from being a fan of this track as I don't like the autotune wave in Hip-Hop at the moment. I'm also not convinced the feature compliments the song. I found the transition from AJ Tracey's fast flows to Nav's autotune didn't make sense. It felt like two incompatible tracks merged into one.


Bringing It Back

I went into the album knowing this track and loving it as it previously featured on Digga D's album 'Made in the Pyrex'. AJ Tracey and Digga D collaborate brilliantly on this track, trading bars back and forth, including:

I locked up the food for the kids like Boris (Like Boris) And then I let it go like Rashford (Whee) Free SQ, Free Shankz, that's standard (Free) Feds take the mandem, got the block angered (Whee)

AJ Tracey and Digga D's chemistry on the track was impressive, I'd love to see more from the pair soon!


Next are 'Cheerleaders' and 'Draft Pick'. In 'Cheerleaders' AJ raps about his success in his hometown and the rivals that success comes with. The beat contains some faint vocals floating around the track. 'Draft Pick' follows, with a very strong beat, and a hook from AJ Tracey that flows perfectly over the beat.


Eurostep

AJ Tracey raps fast over this track, with a very strong hook:

I been ballin' out for a minute See a hater tryna bring it, I just hit him with the eurostep If you post up with the opps, you an opp now Can't nobody back it on a hero flex Been in every city 'round the globe Picked up with my hitters, when I move, I take zero checks Same brother always get got, steady talkin' 'bout my name Sorry, n****, I don't hear those threats

Following 'Eurostep' is 'Blossom', with heavy bass, claps and drums everywhere. The recording feels cramped, resulting in a slightly clumsy track. However, AJ Tracey flows well over the beat. The result is mediocre.


Glockie

'Glockie' is a slower track with some nice drum taps in the background. In his lyrics, AJ Tracey reflects on his impact within the music industry:

Got your career on my wrist Walk in the club, see my name on the list Without me, these rappers wouldn't exist

This track serves as a nice switch of pace. Before this, in the tracklisting we had banger after banger, with a few misses. 'Glockie' serves as a slight change of pace that, generally, maintains over the rest of the album.


Little More Love

'Little More Love' picks up the pace a bit. The beat for the track is hard, with a nice vocal sample hiding behind AJ's vocals. AJ flows very well over this beat, with a strong hook that is made for the charts.


Top Dog

This track sees AJ go for a more melodic hit, with strong verses, and an up-beat hook that gives off tropical vibes. I feel that the lyrics of the track don't match up with the vocals perfectly. While the melody of both the beat and the hook makes me think of summer, the song is about AJ Tracey being the 'Top Dog'. Which is a message I'd suggest would match up better over a more aggressive beat. However, the track sounds great, it's definitely not to be skipped!


Summertime Shootout

Unfortunately, this track is a miss for me. T-Pain seems like an odd feature, with his 2000's vocals and outdated style. With very little positives to say here, let's move on.


'Perfect Storm' sees AJ Tracey return to his normal formula, giving off a similar vibe to the opening couple of tracks.


After this are the tracks: 'Coupe' and 'Numba 9'. Both of these tracks feel like fillers. The features I can give or take, and on 'Numba 9' I didn't even notice AJ Tracey's input on first listen because his vocals have been edited. His contribution simply went over my head.


Closing the album is 'Dinner Guest' and 'West Ten'. Both tracks had been released prior to the album's release, and gives off a club hit vibe. 'Dinner Guest' feels like it could be another cut from AJ Tracey's debut album. AJ Tracey and Mostack both contribute well to the track, returning the album to it's previous highs. Finally, there's 'West Ten', featuring Mabel, who offers up a lovely melodic hook. AJ Tracey once again flows very well over the beat, resulting in a great up-beat club hit.


'Flu Game' comfortably surpassed my expectations. AJ Tracey has taken his typical style and honed his craft brilliantly. While it may not be an album with a strong concept or theme, AJ Tracey has delivered a solid body of work. I would strongly recommend 'Flu Game' to anyone who enjoys UK rap.

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