Far from a simple arrangement of tracks, Saint’s Black Sheep is a project that encapsulates its underlying intentions in a hard-hitting, theatrical manner, from start to finish.
The opening detail and grit of Ali Vibes (Reasonable Madness) kicks things off on a high, driving with breathless bars and refreshing references, amidst a simple, fairly minimalist yet hauntingly classic hip hop beat.
All at once you get this contemporary feel from the vocal and a sort of raw, home-made aura from the space and instrumental simplicity. And right the way through, Saint holds attention – his story grips, his voice easily handles the weight of the words, and his personality stands tall every step of the way.
From big dreams to rejection, friends to enemies, no page is left un-turned, and this is what makes Black Sheep such an interesting, honest and compelling portrayal of modern life as an indie rapper.
Therapy & Video Games follows on with the same vocal intensity and captivating story-telling. The voice is familiar now, the beat too has a certain recognizable style.
Things then get far more creatively unpredictable as King David pours through. A synth-soaked backdrop and an industrial, tripped-up beat meets with a Alt-J vocal chorus, to pave the way for a fast rap and a conceptually intriguing hit of writing and performance. Defiantly the most unusual and perhaps memorable for the same reason.
Throwing in another complete curve-ball, Saint adds a piano-led cover of Billie Eilish’ unforgettable hit When The Party’s Over. The raw and intimate ode is far from expected on a hip hop record, yet Saint sings the renowned and difficult melodic progression with clear passion and appreciation for the original.
Then we get an EDM-like uplift from Waves (Kanye West Remix). Saint’s singing takes the front seat once again, and the beat combines creativity and space to offer equal parts experimentation and soul. It’s an ambient, mildly cinematic hit of escapism that highlights yet another side to the artist.
Bringing things to an again recognisable, powerful finish, is the intensity and darkness of Me, Myself, And I. That unmistakable Gothic church choir sound backs up a heavy rap verse that lays bare a few different flows and takes full advantage of this last chance to impress and engage an audience.
Black Sheep is an aptly titled, out-there EP that effectively marches to the beat of its own drum. Saint proves to be a dedicated, intriguing artist, with unwavering passion, smart rhymes, and plenty of potential for standing out from the crowd.