I heard about this artist through a chance encounter that one of my friends had with his mum in a pub in Soho. Like all good mothers, in a conversation that turned to music she was quick to mention the prodigious talents of her offspring. Now most mothers of course believe that their sons are blessed with enormous talent and more often than not they’re sadly wide of the mark, as the throng of delusional space cadets who audition for x-factor each year, cajoled by their equally witless parents, testifies to (my man Seedy Ron said it best here). Luckily, this endorsement was an accurate one.
This track is the closer on the album Just Woke Up, released a couple of years back on Hear Today Records. Far as I know there aren’t any copies left, so you’ll have to cherish these youtube clips. It’s reminiscent of ‘Stay Positive’ from the Streets’ never-bettered debut, in the way it so powerfully closes an album with its brutal lyrical honesty and immaculate production. (Not the only parallel – ‘Feel You’ from the same album is the best meditation on Class A drug culture since ‘Weak Become Heroes’). It’s produced by Bonobo to the level you’d expect, from the shimmering piano at the start to the fuck-the-fuck-off bass drops at the close; this one has musicality at its heart but, like all good hip hop, it’s all about the words. “See all families are psychotic, why try and stop it”, Rupert begins, echoing a sentiment universally understood, before moving on to a candid but never mawkish examination of family ties, revealing the squabbles, separations and addictions that have characterised his (“there’s lots of reasons but there’s no reason”). There’s a startling honesty to his delivery – “I say it in a song but not a phone call” he admits, acknowledging the selfish gene that invariably inhabits the artist – which is mirrored in his approach. When you write rhymes like this man, there’s no need for posturing, which is perhaps why he uses the name Rupert (his real one, presumably), perhaps the most un-gangsta name in hip hop.
These are lyrics you could get tattooed on. Nuff respect.