Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

AJ Tracey ft. Not3s – Butterflies

The artist, in his own words: “In my opinion, honestly, in U.K. music now, if it doesn’t sound like ‘afroswing’ – definitely in quotations because I know a lot of artists don’t like it being called that – it’s not gonna get a certain level of success, which is quite sad.”


Micha Cavaseno: Former grime wunderkind realizes the bubble has burst and abandons his scene for glaringly commercial afrobeat fodder. AJ sounds more generic than ever (which, even on his more “pure” material like “Naila” and “Spirit Bomb” wasn’t hard), while Not3s appears to be either happy to grab a feature check by providing the least effort possible or to be remarkably undependable for quality verses outside of his own singles. The production is fine, albeit too glaringly edged to stand out in a mix, but between the weaker hook and verses, “Butterflies” is more of a pest than anything.

Alfred Soto: “Trop-house grime trap” must be hell on the label’s A&R department.

Iain Mew: There’s not much of the AJ Tracey from Sound of 2017 left, his energy taken away to fit in with the UK’s chart-conquering sound of 2018. Even toned down, his harder rapping is still something a little different in that context, but it sits at odds with the sweetness of the sound without making much of it. Trying to make the extra-possessive approach of the lyrics sweet would be a challenge even without that. 

Abdullah Siddiqui: All the tropipop-trap fusion banalities of the last few years lazily pasted together to make a piece of music so mind-numbing it borders on psychotropic. If all else fails, Tracey can rest assured that his music may serve greater purpose in the field of hypnotherapy.

Crystal Leww: AJ Tracey and Not3s put together a track for relaxing on a Saturday afternoon at the block party or for the quiet, close face dancing moments at 3 in the morning. This doesn’t set off the dance floor, but it’s good for keeping up a vibe, which is sometimes all you need to fill the set. 

Jonathan Bradley: This is on trend for the UK right now, but it’s easy to enjoy wine bar synth pads when they’ve been re-gifted to kinetic Afrobeat rhythms. Probably this vibe will soon get as played out as did the whole two-step/garage thing, which occupied a similar space a couple decades ago. Until then…

Ashley John: A breezy, sunny track that comes and goes quickly without much stick. AJ Tracey might have more to say than “Butterflies” lets on, but I wouldn’t blame any of us for this not motivating us to dig much deeper. 

Reader average: [5] (1 vote)

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