Album: Ikes - Outside|In
4.0Overall Score

Evolving as an artist is no mean feat in terms of a musician’s artistry; it’s a difficult path to go down, as you risk shying away from everything you’ve created so far to focus on the next step. Someone walking this fine line, and doing so with precision, is Hackney based rapper Ikes, with his long awaited debut project Outside|In.

While this may be Ikes’ debut offering, he is no newcomer to the world of hip hop, with a series of mixtapes and powerful singles building his fan base. Starting out in the UK Garage scene as an MC at the tender age of 14 and moving to Grime as an adolescent, Ikes has now set his sights on a matured, and refined hip-hop sound, and Outside|In pulls this off with finesse. With success overseas, Ikes has an eye for a more international hip hop sound, drawing inspiration from U.S. hip hop, trap music, UK Grime and old-school hip hop just to name a few.

Stand out tracks include ‘Pray for Me’, an introspective and swaggered flow over a forward-thinking and glossy beat that compliment each other in a big way, ‘Clarity’ which features Hayley Cassidy, a hard-hitting nod to both modern hip hop and smooth R’n’B, and “Miracle, which carries ear-catching hooks and substantial bars amidst classic yet unique production.

Working with some big names, such as Grammy Award winning J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League engineer Edward Nixon and producer One Black Russian, Ikes forms a sophisticated thematic venture into the congested hip-hop world and sets himself apart from the crowd with his expertise and stylish approach.

Outside|In is out now via Port Mayfair, and can be streamed below.