Since releasing his Charisma EP in 2018, there has been a real buzz around Che Lingo. This hype around the rapper, from Wandsworth, intensified when he released Sensitive in 2019. He has since been snapped up by Idris Elba’s 7Wallace record label and with that followed the announcement of his debut album, The Worst Generation.
Fans of the rapper have been eagerly waiting for the album to come out, which has been teased with singles such as ‘Dark Days’ and ‘My Block’. He has managed to go on tour before coronavirus laid havoc to live music, has penned a deal to curate his own anime, and has become a proponent figure for the Black Lives Matter movement.
‘My Block’ takes aim at police brutality and touches on the injustice surrounding his friend Julian Cole, who suffered brain damage at the hands of the police. This track provides a powerful commentary on what life in London has been like for Che Lingo and others in his community.
A similar message can be heard in ‘Screwface’. This song shows his serious side, echoing feelings evoked by Kenrick Lamar’s ‘Alright’. His first album really emphasises the sort of integrity that has been missing from the industry lately. His versatility means he can bounce from a rap track to a sentimental R&B tune with effortless flow.
The self-proclaimed ‘Wizard of Wando’ archives his relationship with south London in this album – addressing his experiences with discrimination & prejudice, his battles in love & mental health, and the importance of women in society.
Che Lingo’s undeniable talent aside, the key to the success of this record lies in the fact it tackles serious issues but avoids sounding heavy – there is a sense of humour in his work, which is highlighted throughout. The production is slick, the guest-appearances are intelligent and there is an undoubtedly broad appeal.
The album opens with ‘South’, a fiery attention-grabbing track that wobbles and waves with Che Lingo riffing about growing up as a Black boy in South London. ‘Black Ones’, featuring Ghetts, contains potent beats and carries a compelling message about the value of openness on a young male’s mental health, while the sweet soulful vocals provided by Croydon-born singer Rachel Chinouriri on ‘Perfect Wounds’ provides a break from the social commentary and gives a breezier vibe to the album.
‘Dark Days’ is a lyrical and musical highlight, fusing softly plucked strings with growling bass, and comes with a cameo Kojey Radical. It’s tracks like this where Che Lingo displays lyrical prowess, that raw ability for rhythm and mix which first brought him to the attention of the likes of Ghetts.
The album closes with titular track ‘The Worst Generation’, featuring Samm Hensaww, which discusses the expectations and unfair generalisations that have been levelled at Che Lingo’s generation, with him describing it as a “cry for change and understanding.”
Che Lingo is more than just another rapper. He is an artist who has lined himself up as a spokesperson for his generation. His poetry is reminiscent of Akala, while his passion echoes the likes of Stormzy and Kano. He has a unique sound and this album will become the sound of a generation. Beyond that, Che Lingo has emphasised the importance of visuals in all of his work to date and the album will surely be accompanied by music videos which will force people to sit back and listen.