With statues appearing across London, Headie One’s first full album has been eagerly anticipated. Despite a nationwide lockdown, Headie’s marketing for Edna has been creative and out of the box. The build-up has been slowly bubbling away, with the release of singles and the experimental EP Gang.
The EP showed that Headie is equally as adept on an alternative and expansive setlist, but Edna reinforces the rapper’s lyricism and is proof that the Tottenham MC is the king of drill. This album is dedicated to his later mother, and is introspective and reflective – it etches his growth as an artist and traverses scenes.
The twenty-track project has an impressive guest list. Headie teams up with Skepta and AJ Tracey on ‘Ain’t It Different’, he connects with Skepta on ‘Try Me’, and Drake jumps onto the M1onthebeat produced track, ‘Only You Freestyle.’
The main concept of Edna is reflection. Headie reflects on his life without the presence of her in it. He also opens up about how things may have been different in his early life had his mother been alive to teach him qualities that he feels would’ve helped him make better decisions. This is explicitly illustrated in the lyrics of the first track ‘Teach Me’.
The second track ‘Psalm 35’ details how the passage that he familiarised himself with while in prison helped him to get through his sentence and difficult times in his life. While ‘The Light’ refers to him now, finding a new path after coming from a dark place. Edna delivers a progressive fusion of UK Drill, Trap and Rap which further highlights his impressive lyrical capabilities, honest lyricism, and ability to transcend the genre by drawing upon international references to deliver an eclectic project.
It is on the feature-less tracks where Headie really shines. Mandra Beatz is on keys on the first track, in which Headie builds to a powerful contemplation and reflection on loss. The song is a snapshot of the impact loss and grief can have on a person – timely in one sense. ‘Psalm 35’ shows Headie’s strength in adversity – despite losing his mother and spending time in prison – he found support in faith.
The tension between music and the road still exists, as Headie explores on ‘Breathing’. The track touches on his friends’ struggles and racial disparities when it’s time for sentencing. Headie intertwines reflection with celebration – teaming up with Young T and Bugsey for the playful ‘Princess Cuts’, while ‘Parlez-vous Anglais’ will transport listeners to a plush Parisian discotheque.
In just one album Headie manages to pay tribute to his late mother, dig deep and relive painful memories, and celebrate his achievements. The album is a snapshot of Headie’s talent and is a much-needed boost in bleak times.