Friday, July 1st, 2022

Tion Wayne ft. La Roux – IFTK

Elly Jackson revisits views on rap: “it’s fine thanks, kerching!”


Oliver Maier: Every time I put on “IFTK” I’m struck by how vibrant Tion Wayne’s flow is; relaxed but still taunting, smug but still hungry. In three minutes he puts every montone UK rap star stringing together contrived punchlines to shame. Most impressive is that the La Roux sample, great though it is, doesn’t feel like a gimmick. A great fucking thing, this.

Scott Mildenhall: The Skream mix of “In for the Kill” has called out for this for years. Alone, it remains as powerful as ever, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that all Tion Wayne can do is dilute it. While he’s taken it in a ripe direction with a good amount of gusto, the tension feels more forced. If the source was Gianfranco Zola, this is Fabio Borini.

Aaron Bergstrom: As someone who (a) loves random athlete mentions in rap songs and (b) just finished watching both seasons of Girls5Eva, I might be the perfect audience for “IFTK”: up-and-coming young rapper reaches for a hit of nostalgia for the recent past by sampling a song that feels like it came out both yesterday and five thousand years ago, shouts out maybe the third-best goalkeeper in the Premier League. It works.

Thomas Inskeep: This is really all about hearing Elly Jackson singing the La Roux classic “In for the Kill” over a stripped-down UK drill beat — and then, and then, with about 30 seconds left, that beat turns into drum and bass, and yes fucking please. If I have to listen to Tion Wayne rap about gunplay for this, I can deal.

Edward Okulicz: “In for the Kill” is a song I don’t like in any form, but one thing it did have going for it is that if you didn’t like Elly Jackson’s voice, there was at least a bit of room to move around it, if you wanted to take in the spacious synth pop of the original. In sampling it, Tion Wayne cuts up and repeats it so much you actually get Even More La Roux Than La Roux, and I can’t love that. But I like what he brings to the rest of the song, while wishing he had the confidence to carry it with his own hooks.

Nortey Dowuona: Tion is a bland, uncomplying vocalist with bland lyrics. La Roux literally carry the song with four lines from a song that is 13 years old. The bassline is pretty flat, lurching underneath the chopped vocal sample; a brief two-note rise on the third bar and one note on the fourth forming the only semblance of movement. That’s carried by the shuffling percussion, lowered beneath the kick and snare whenever Tion needs to make a point and raised whenever he wants to appear skillful. The piano is sprinkled in at those times while being hidden from view by the primacy of the bassline, so much that it barely matters, since Elly Jackson isn’t harmonizing with it and Tion doesn’t need it. By the time the song switches the kick/snare programming to a more garage tempo it’s too late. The plane has flown the coop.

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