Long Eaton based rapper and poet Alice Short has released her new EP, aN EP iN a dAY.
Using beats by Sik Sense, an MC and beatmaker from Leicester, Short has created a collection of jazz-infused lo-fi hip hop of which she says, “This is an EP of songs that were all created in one day, before that day began I had nothing prepared for this project. I just woke up and decided to go for it.”
Across the four tracks Alice Short tackles identity, gender, personal potential, and the juxtaposition of wild creativity and the ennui of every day life.
Opener I Am draws comparisons to artists, musicians and cultural figures from Patti Smith to Van Gogh, Sylvia Plath and Bob Dylan, to Steve Jobs. Erring toward self-deprecation in recognising that beneath the creative spark of brilliance in each is an ordinary person the overall effect is empowering and falls to pragmatic suggestion that each of us have this within us, that these people are not other-wordly but were unafraid of pursuing their true selves. This is a reflection of seeing the limits but viewing them not as a blocker’s to what we could be but rather walls to kick against.
There’s a touch of Lady Sovereign in the no holds barred and blunt descriptives of current, in the sneered and nasal vowels exploring identity. Passing hip hop audiences are likely to hear Kate Tempest here too, a vital and occasionally vicious cultural commentary underpinned by a weariness at the state of it all. On Halfway Mark Short juxtaposes societal problems against the banality of where outrage is channeled by the masses, jeering with derision that ‘if there’s something good mainstream is dumbing it down, the world’s gone made, they’ve got women as Ghostbusters now, the internet has made us socially profound, but the world’s gone mad now, they’ve got women as Ghostbusters now’.
On Told Myself, the flipped jazz-piano loop adds a twitch beneath the playground sing-song of the chorus, and the old skool nature of the hip hop verse. Exploring further the idea of gender and identity, the line between sanity and madness, dreams and reality and the definitions imposed by society. There is a pep talk in here but there’s also another kick against those limits, a push for the surface to breath the unpolluted air of self.
Closer Round of Applause is a more laid rhythmically and melodically with a smooth funk riff, and percussive beats but the rap remains vital and disparaging, ‘think of all the day’s you’ve kissed goodbye without a thought, this is not a rat race, it’s just an idiot sport’, and commenting on the fallacy of work, the capitalist investment in things rather than ideas. As a straight out call to wake and be true this track works, but it’s also a fitting jibe at the genre it’s pitched in by flipping the commercialised mainstream hip hop for more traditional approach.
There is an immediacy to this collection in part from the spontaneous approach to writing and recording it all in a single day, but also in the themes it covers. These are the sort of thoughts which itch under the skin, which play on the mind in the down hours, and which become a quiet reflection by Alice Short on the menaces of self and society.
aN EP iN a dAY is available to stream now on Soundcloud.
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