Review: Speech Debelle - The Message [Single]

Review: Speech Debelle - The Message [Single]

Big Dada // "A message of unity, strength, persistence and courage"

Review   2098 Views
Last Edited by: Ffion Davies December 9th, 2012.

Speech Debelle passed me by and I honestly have no clue why, she's everything I love and am proud of about British Hip-Hop, her flows are slick and smooth, her lyrics real and raw and her beats exude that old school vibe that just longs to be listened to as you kick back with her solid groove. So, why did Speech Debelle pass me by? Fuck knows, but now thanks to new single 'Live For The Message', that sat for too long in my inbox, I'm in love with her offerings, and plan to delve deeper into her music.

WATCH // Speech Debelle - 'Live For The Message'

Perhaps one of the reasons she remained relatively unknown to me was the curse of her Mercury Prize award, back in 2009 her début album Speech Therapy won her the prestigious prize, but as with so many before her, she soon faded back into the underground and sales failed to push her to the top. Never fearing to shy away from her opinions Speech Debelle let her frustrations with label Big Dada be known, feeling that they failed to promote her and Speech Therapy in the right way. However, she has stayed with Big Dada and February 2012 saw the release of her sophomore album Freedom Of Speech, which 'Live For The Message' is taken from.

From the opening bars of the earthy blues guitar, I'm instantly grabbed by 'Live For The Message', fully unaware to which way Speech Debelle's vocals would turn. I was fully expecting an aggressive take on rap for some reason but actually what Speech Debelle offers with both vocals and lyrics is smooth, smart and honest.

Hailing from South London and raised only by her mother, it's clear from her open and honest music that Speech Debelle (Corynne Elliot) has seen some hardships in her life, and after doing a little background research, I actually have a fair bit in common with her, perhaps this is why I feel such a connection to her music...albeit better late than never!

WATCH // Bonobo ft. Speech Debelle - 'Sun Will Rise'

'Live For The Message' is exactly that, a message of unity, strength, persistence and courage. And I think that's exactly what Speech Debelle has shown throughout her life and especially with her music, persistence to keep going to get to the top, but get to the top her way and not by selling out. "Live for the message, no gain without pain, It’s all about wisdom more precise with the aim. Finger on the trigger, the metaphor is strength, I keep a watchful eye like cameras on the ends. But my hands are tied my job is entertainment, I won’t promote the things I wouldn't put my name with."

For the single release there is also the 'Live For The Message - The Refix' featuring British hip-hop heavy-weights like Akala, Confucious MC and Realism. It's a rich collaboration in which all contributors continue with Speech Debelle's defiant attack on the image obsessed world we've all become so accustomed too. The Refix has more of the aggressive edge that I was expecting, but still with that soulful groove that it doesn't make me feel put out in anyway.

Both the original and the refix of 'Live For The Message' are seriously strong offerings firmly assuring me that not everyone stays down after their Mercury Prize curse. Speech Debelle has risen, and let's hope she keeps on rising, 'cos we sure as hell need more real people and real music like this in our lives!

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