Exclusives 18 March 2022
Author: Joe Simpson

GRM Exclusive: ArrDee Makes A Splash With His Debut Mixtape ‘Pier Pressure’

18 March 2022
ArrDee pier pressure review

It’s tough to find a UK artist who has had a more meteoric rise to success in the past 12 months than ArrDee. The self-proclaimed ‘cheeky chappy’ accrued international recognition from his performance on Tion Wayne and Russ’s “Body” remix. His geezer persona has given him his own niche in the UK scene, and ArrDee helped that song bridge the gap to a mainstream audience, as Aitch did on “Keisha & Becky” before him. The Brighton man has since proven on his Daily Duppy that there are more dimensions to his talents, and his latest release, Pier Pressure, starts to peel back these layers. 

Working in particular with LiTek, ArrDee has found a winning formula in terms of production. Their work together on both “Flowers” and “No Biggie” prove that there is a chemistry between artist and producer, as the instrumentals allow the rapper to play up to his outgoing persona. Furthermore, on “Flowers” and “Come and Go”, samples are used cleverly to make the tracks are instantly recognisable, while the vocals from the instrumental takes the pressure off ArrDee on the hooks. Elsewhere, guitars are used to create a Latin-inspired summer track on “Fruitella”, while the piano keys on the outro track, “Who Woulda Thought”, allow ArrDee to describe his journey so far with a more serious tone.

Lyrically, the Brighton rapper gets off to a great start on the opening track, “Locker”, asserting himself as a product of his environment with a hunger and drive for success. On this track, ArrDee uses the names of Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder to create a witty and understated bar, which is demonstrative of his growth in terms of wordplay from the start of his career. There are other moments on the tape where we can start to hear a newfound maturity, in particular on the outro track, and on “Pandemic”, one of the highlights of the project. 

All of this however, is not to say that ArrDee has left behind the infectious identity that has got him so far, as can be heard on the notorious “Flowers” hook, as well as his performances on “Fruitella” and “No Biggie”. We also hear a melodic performance from the rapper on “Early Hours”, which might give us a glimpse into any experimentation in ArrDee’s future sound.

For an artist with such mainstream success, it is perhaps surprising to see only two features on the tape. As discussed earlier, some instrumentals on the project already have a built-in hook through sampling, which minimises the need for a feature on the track. Having said this, it is testament to ArrDee as a rapper that he is able to carry his first solo project with relatively little help. Lola Young brings an excellent vocal performance to the final track of the tape, “Who Woulda Thought”, which perfectly complements the tone of ArrDee’s lyrical performance. The other feature comes from Aitch on the hit single, “War”. While there are undoubtedly going to be comparisons between the two artists for the rest of their careers, they prove on this track that they can exist in the same space, and actually have good chemistry together across a horn-heavy beat.

With the inclusion of previous singles on the project, Pier Pressure feels as if this is only the start for ArrDee. The south coast rapper has already achieved resounding success, and has found an ability to bridge the gap between the underground and the mainstream through his quintessentially laddish personality. 

There are however moments on Pier Pressure, where we can glimpse into the progression of ArrDee as an artist, whether it is through more melodic performances, or changing tones in terms of subject matter. It also bodes well for his lyrical progression that he holds Potter Payper as one of his biggest influences. ArrDee’s rise to the upper echelons of UK music success is undeniable, and Pier Pressure certainly consolidates that.

Be sure to check out our in-depth interview with ArrDee right here, if you haven’t already.