Friday, October 16th, 2020

Headie One ft. AJ Tracey & Stormzy – Ain’t It Different

Yes, a great many things are different nowadays…


Thomas Inskeep: Headie, AJ, and Stormzy all hit hard most of the time anyway, and this dark, somewhat sinister-sounding track hits especially hard. All three rappers keep it straightforward and serious, befitting the track’s downbeat mood. And UK rap’s love affair with UKG continues: The vocal sample here, twisted so nicely, is from “Bump ‘n Grind,” by M Dubs feat. Lady Saw. Why aren’t US rappers making tracks like this?

Edward Okulicz: When people ask me what my favourite song by Red Hot Chili Peppers is, which is definitely a thing that has happened, I usually say that it’s “Butterfly” by Crazy Town. I’d love to say that this song, which uses the same sample from “Pretty Little Ditty” is my second favourite, but the sample isn’t quite as effective second time around. Stormzy’s verse is terrific just on his enthusiastic earnestness (though: “I don’t do threats/I’m cordial!” — bless him, I laughed). The sampled chorus does hurt my ears.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Who mixed the chorus? The warped vocal effect is so horrendously done, it’s practically unlistenable. It’s a real shame, because what Headie One, AJ Tracey & Stormzy contribute in the verses is solid.

Juana Giaimo: “Ain’t It Different” would benefit from a more flexible structure. Rather than a collaboration, this seems to be three rappers waiting in line for their turns. 

Alfred Soto: Pleasure in performance — in the raps, the flaunting of timbre, the synthesis of two distinct and complementary artists.  On first listen AJ Tracey’s steel sounds like bravado in the same way confidence disturbs many people.

Katherine St Asaph: At least two of these points are from the sample and at least two more are for Lady Saw (they don’t make overdriven vocal hooks like that anymore). But Headie, AJ, and Stormzy boost this, not detract.

Reader average: [10] (1 vote)

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