UK Hip Hop does realness better than anyone. It’s rare to find a decent UK act flashing a car, jewellery or a hired & oiled-up pair of buttocks. In a video you’re more likely to find the protagonist pushing a shopping trolley through a park, or scrounging money for a Travelcard. Mr Key is a fine example of this willingness of British rappers to rhyme from the heart – even be vulnerable, exposed or show hurt – talk about how rotten their teeth are. Key’s flows are poetic, painful and thrumming with life.
His album ‘Yesterday’s Futures’ with the brilliant and unusually emotive vibes of producer Greenwood Sharps came out in June last year on High Focus. Material continues to emerge from this exceptional project including this new video to ‘Missing You’ and a new single ‘Ugly Duckling.’
The team up is an inspired juxtaposition that enhances Mr Key’s stark honesty and beautifies the brutal reality of some of the wordplay. It’s a rare case of producer and emcee delivering 50/50 on impact.
When you remove the ferocity of the production that normally accompanies raw rap like this, something incredible happens – you can find a clear way through to the tragedy of what’s being said and the inherent sadness of the situation that made those words need to be said. It even works with videos – check out Mobb Deep’s ‘Shook One’s Pt II’ & watch the sadness in Prodigy’s eyes when you juxtapose it with Greenwood’s sad, soaring remix.
While you’re here you might as well check out this sublime video for ‘Icarus Instinct’