Exclusives 26 August 2021
Author: Joe Simpson

GRM Exclusive: Morrisson stakes his claim for the top spot with his latest EP ‘Guilty’

26 August 2021
Morrison guilty ep review grm

The career trajectory of Morrisson has been unorthodox to say the least. Having blown up in the late 2000’s after releasing his legendary Ruthless Records freestyle and collaborating with Giggs, his musical output was nonexistent for a large span of the 2010’s. The East London man however burst back onto the scene towards the back end of the decade, and is now seeing his level of popularity grow across the board, both from fans of UK Road Rap to a more mainstream commercial audience. With the likes of Aitch and ArrDee dominating the charts and streams over the past few years, it would be easy for an untrained ear to put Morrisson in the category of ‘another white rapper’. 

However, Morrisson has instead laid the foundations for his success long before he dropped his latest EP, Guilty, and serves to be one of the realest rappers to ever come out of the UK. It is somewhat of a cliché when talking about rap music to describe an artist as ‘the realest’, but Morrisson really is able to portray his trials and tribulations on his topsy turvy journey to becoming one of the most relevant UK artists.

The EP kicks off with “Bottom of the Bottle” where Morrisson skips over a smooth drill production, a beat with a similar sonic style to early SL tracks. The track centres around a hook where Morrisson raps, ‘They all wanna share my wins, but none of them wanna share my losses’. This runs as a theme throughout the project, where the rapper seems to feel isolated through his work on the streets, as well as his success in the rap game. This is further emphasised by the lyrics, ‘I’m surrounding by leeches, I’m feeling drained, I just want the money you can keep the fame’. It can therefore be seen that there is a lot more to Morrisson than merely surface level flexing, as his music is tinged with the emotions of struggle, pain, and grief, especially concerning the death of his brother, Stephen.

The project is demonstrative as to how Morrisson is able to mix up his style, both in terms of subject matter and production. The mellow, tropical vibes of the production on “Bottom of the Bottle” are suddenly switched up into a darker drill beat composed by Harry James and Steel Banglez on “Eastender”. On this track, there is a constant refrain of ‘Gangsters’ from a female vocalist, while Morrisson reworks the ‘Daily offender, crazy Eastender’ line made famous by J Hus, and Dave in Top Boy. One of the highlights of this track is the lyric, ‘I nicknamed my AP Uzi, because it’s really loaded with a diamond face’.

We also see a movement into a more old school summer sound on “House and Garage”, which features Aitch. Both rappers complement each other well on the track, as Aitch kills his verse with his usual playful charm. It is important to stress though that just because Morrisson is jumping from genre to genre, there is no sense that any of his lyrics are watered down. It can be easy to view projects such as this as an exercise of maximising streams through making tracks that can feature on different Spotify playlists, but Morrisson will alway be spitting truth on whatever backdrop you put him on. 

One of the highlights across the tape is the titular track “Guilty”. Here, Morrisson goes into detail about his relationship with the streets, as well as his Uncle’s difficulties with drug abuse. There is also a moment of reflection in terms of the difficulties of growing up on the streets, as the Newham man raps, ’I just consigned my YG an ounce of coke, to me an ounce is nothing but to him, it’s an ounce of hope.’

All of this is pulled together with a glitzy piano beat and a polished hook from Kelly Kiara, whose smooth vocals work well against the grit of Morrisson’s raps. The other two features on the tape come from Jordan and Loski. Jordan lays down an emotional and searing verse on “Brothers”, one of the lead singles for the project, and is able to match the same grit and realness that embodies Morrisson’s music. Furthermore, Loki glides perfectly over the beat of “Bad Guy”, delivering killer one liners and demonstrating himself to be in his element on the track. 

This EP for Morrisson sees the East London legend open up a new chapter in his rap career. His hiatus from the music scene means that he is one of the few people to have progressed from the road rap days into the UK Drill era. The project is demonstrative that the rapper is comfortable on any beat, and with any feature. There is no doubt that Morrisson is one of the realest to have ever come out of the UK, and this EP makes it clear that he will have no trouble staying relevant for many more years to come.