It is hard knowing where to begin critiquing this album. Within the project there is enough contrast in the styles of tracks to have it appraised under the umbrellas of hip hop, or the British founded sub-genre widely referred to as grime. In any case, this does not undermine the quality. Rather, objective perspective would conclude that it highlights either an uncertainty about his preferred niche, or him flaunting his ability to tackle both – well. The fast paced delivery of opening track, ‘This is my Demo’ is reminiscent of Busta Rhymes and provides necessary history about the artists’ origins. Importantly it also introduces us to the humorously depicted character, ‘Charlie Boy’, who I’m certain will be a mainstay on future productions.
‘Little Derek’, possessing the very catchy “Okay” as part of the hook, was rightly chosen as the official single (‘Up Your Speed’ has featured on past mix-tapes), and is supported by similarly likable efforts. It is easy to engage with Sway’s witty lyrics and comedic delivery, but this should not turn the listener’s attention from some of the socially aware content he attempts to convey. Tracks such as ‘Pretty Ugly Husband’ invite you into the home of an abusive father and husband who mistreats his wife. More light-hearted, but similarly meaningful is ‘Flo Fashion’ which portrays today’s trend influenced youths as unrelenting consumer addicts in our modern world of credit cards.
Sway successfully, and I’m sure intentionally, collaborates with home grown talent. Deserving highest praise is the track ‘Still on my Own’, featuring soul singer Nate James. From top to bottom, the album is accommodating to differing genre preferences and moods; a trait that he would be wise not to overdo in future so as to not upset his core fan base. Essentially though, Sway skillfully navigates himself through this debut production that within the UK at least, will generate enough sales and enthusiasm to offer a firm foothold in the industry.
So, maybe you didn’t read it here first, but you did read it nonetheless – 2006 will be the year of Sway. In fact, I would suggest you get comfortable as he could be around for some time. After generating much anticipation through open mic sessions, feature appearances with other prominent UK artists and his well-documented self-promotion, Sway does not disappoint with his debut offering, aptly entitled ‘This is my Demo’. With roots in both Ghana and England, this album is an exaltation of his native lands and, as hinted at already, will likely accord him pioneer status from the UK urban scene for years to come. Marketed correctly, he should make waves across the Atlantic as well. As the chief producer of the project also, to not acknowledge his talent would be ill-advised. I inserted this CD into my player for the sole purpose of critiquing it. After a few days I ejected it as a fan.