“Unadulterated empowerment” from a rising star…

Ray BLK is just a ball of raw talent and emotion. In 2017 she won the BBC Music Sound Poll. The first unsigned act to do this. Her debut EP ‘Durt’ laid the foundations that new album ‘Empress’ was built on.

The standout tracks on the album are the ones where Ray BLK’s message is matched by the music. Opening track ‘Run Run’ tackles youth crime head on, but instead of wagging a finger at the characters, BLK uses empathy to explain their actions. As expected with the subject matter, the music is made up of murky bass wobbles, crisp drums and an overriding feels of urban grit.

‘Mama’ is a touching song for all mums out there. Instead of sounding unconvincing, the touching vocals really hammer the message home: Mums are great!

Title track ‘Empress’ is just unadulterated empowerment. The music is an understated guitar, but this gives room for BLK’s vocals soar, roar and get her message across: “I don’t want to settle for less, Cos I’m an empress. Got to big up your chest, Even if it hurts. When a woman knows her worth”.

‘Empress’ is that rare breed of album that is entertaining and says something worth saying. Once you get past the tight production and bass blips, what you are left with is a way to live your life. BLK is effectively saying that if you are true to yourself, strive to better yourself, be a positive element in your community and don’t get taken for a mug, you’ll be ok.

Don’t forget that BLK stands for Building. Living. Knowing. In 2018 this sounds like sage advice.

7/10

Words: Nick Roseblade

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