Returning from a four-year music hiatus, Devlin makes his comeback with his third studio album, The Devil In.
Devlin is a veteran in the UK rap scene. From releasing his debut mixtape in 2006, to being picked out by Kanye West for his lyrical skill, Devlin has become a permanent fixture in the UK.
Releasing The Devil In at the beginning of the month, his third studio album, this album marks his return after a four-year music hiatus, since his previous 2013 release A Moving Picture.
Within this period, Devlin has seen a lot of change in his career. Leaving Universal Music, arguably the biggest record label in the world, Devlin has gone independent. With the reigns let loose, Devlin has gone on to create arguably his best album yet.
Firstly, this album doesn’t shout out Grime. If anything, Devlin, generally known as a Grime artist, has moved away from Grime to pure Hip-Hop.
With this, we see a wide-range in the beats on the album, ranging from heavy hitting Cold Blooded to the soulful Blue Skies. The variation in production produces a well-rounded and engaging album, a quality that is often missed on traditional Grime LPs.
Furthermore, the quality and variety in Devlin’s lyrics across this project truly stand him amongst the best lyricists, if not the best, in the UK. The slower Hip-Hop-esque beats allow him to recite both creative and topical lyrics, something that is not replicated enough on fast, 140 bpm, traditional Grime beats.
50 Grand, Corned Beef City and Blow Your Mind are most definitely the stand out tracks. With the only guest rapper featured on the entire album, 50 Grand sees Skepta, as expected, bringing a fantastic, direct and aggressive verse to the track.
Corned Beef City has a banging and captivating beat, whilst Blow Your Mind is the closest thing to a commercial track on the album. Yet, it features some of most inventive and controversial lyrics on the entire project, particularly with some sly references to the Boston Marathon Attack in 2013.
In the game for over 10 years Devlin has grown tremendously as a rapper, and developed into an artist who can create topical and well-balanced music.
The Devil In is the personification of this. Although the album does slowly begin to lose some momentum as it progresses, particularly between Just Wanna Be Me and Stay, these tracks allow Devlin to truly vent his emotions and frustrations, and it creates a well-rounded album.
Devlin has fantastic lyrical ability, and now after even making his full-feature acting debut in 2015, Devlin is going from strength to strength in his career. With his new-found independence following his departure from Universal Music, I am sure we shall be seeing more quality content from him very soon.