News 10 November 2016
Author: Cam Donald

1st Listen Review: Shakka’s ‘The Island’ EP

Author Cam Donald
10 November 2016

Fresh off of his MOBO win for Best R&B/Soul Artist, Shakka has been going hard with recent Beats 1 appearances and the release of the video for “I Love the Way” featuring Mr. Vegas.

Shakka is possibly the most innovative artist to be gracing our scene at the moment. He produces the records, mixes them and masters them. Not to mention he writes killer top-lines for every song he drops. There are only a handful of artists in the country at the moment that have the sort of natural talent that Shakka does. It’s only a matter of time before he takes on the wider world.

So, without further a due, let’s get into this 1st Listen Review of Shakka’s The Island, the spiritual successor to Two K’s Lost Boys EP.

“I Love The Way” (ft. Mr Vegas)

Shakka’s The Island starts off with a bouncy sub that sits beneath some trademark melodies that are delivered with the confident cadences we’ve come to expect from the MOBO Award winner. The drop on this track is exhausting, each time it comes around it’ll have you tryna bust a move. This track definitely draws from Shakka’s heritage (as showcased in series Homelands) by holding a certain afrobeat twinge. I mean, it’s more than a twinge when Mr Vegas starts the final verse towards the end of the track. I love the outro to this track, the guitars are so delicate.

“Don’t Call Me”

Oh, s***! This is crazy. Too crazy. Shakka is such a genius with melodies, it’s not even fair on other artists sometimes. This is an anthem. The Lost Boys singer is doing something different with this song, a song for his exes. A song for everyone’s ex, really. “I’m doing fine, doing fine, doing fine on my own” is the hook line and it’ll definitely resonate with the romantics out there. This track would do great over the top of a badass Ted Mosby montage, that’s the type of feel I get from the track. Empowering stuff. Not to mention the production is stellar, it duets so perfectly with Shakka’s falsetto topline.

“Turn Off The Lights” (ft. Wretch 32)

Okay, now this one isn’t for Ted Mosby. No way. This is Shakka moving on to the club after “Don’t Call Me” and finding a 10/10 spice. His delivery on this track is, again, super confident. “I dont wanna talk ’bout all that” is a recurring line in the verses and is a clear nod to “Man Don’t Care” by JME and Giggs, who makes an appearance on the next track. Wretch comes in with a dope flow that is sandwiched between some cypher-esque adlibs. These two link up quite frequently on tracks and each one of them is a banger, “Turn Off The Lights” is no different. 

“Inner London” (ft. Giggs)

“Now my neighbourhood don’t recognise me” is an awesome bar, jeez. This track is Shakka capturing his own nostalgia. “I was born in ’89, Shola Ama made me” is a bar that sums up exactly what I’m talking about. It’s weird, actually, this EP is very different to Shakka’s last release. It’s a bit more intense, a bit less pretty, but still just as dope. A more braggadocios side to the artist is highlighted by the more subby and less organic production. Oh wait, hold that, here’s Giggs. “Every day in the jungle with the knuckle duster” – wow. Just, wow. I love Giggs’ way with words, it’s so uniquely hard. The feature is puzzle-piece fit for the track.

“Yo Babes”

This sounds like Lost Boys Shakka. The melody is just a bit cuter. The hook line is fantastic though – “You had me at ‘Yo Babes'” – awesome. Booming drums fill out the instrumental here, and they compliment the drop into the hook so well. Shakka sings “Ain’t no better you than you” on the bridge and highlights the romantic nature of this track. No-one does sharp, story-focused love-themed bangers quite like Two K’s does. 

To round up then, The Island is sick. As if anyone went into this project expecting anything other than dope tunes, hot melodies and banging production, though. I’m eager to hear a Shakka full-length, especially given how consistent he’s been with his releases since Tribe dropped in 2013.