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Nick Brewer is a relative newcomer to the UK rap scene, but from listening to the lyrics of his debut EP, Flat 10, you can tell that he has been through a lot. He began DJ-ing at a young age by putting his interest in poetry to musical beats, creating his own form of rap that reflects his own life and his own experiences. Flat 10 is breezy and laid back for the most part, but raw emotion lies beneath.
The beats aren’t your typical rap sounds; live instruments are played alongside his sharp rapping style in ‘So Good’, a song about a great relationship and about Nick himself feeling good with his life. It’s an interesting take on a rap song, as they typically discuss more controversial topics such as drugs, sex and violence. But Nick talks more of relationships, of love and heartache. He does discuss drugs in ‘Jail’ but he doesn’t glamorise them like a lot of other rap songs do. Instead, he talks of the outcome of using and dealing – “telling me he’s sitting in prison, got caught with a double ounce” – and it leaves the listener wondering if this is something that happened to a friend of his.
‘In The Quiet’ sees Nick talking about his journey and how he got to where he is right now. In it he talks about his love of poetry and spoken verse, something which he is very open about (“rhyming my thoughts and I’m writing them down”). ‘ET’, a cover of Kano and Mikey J is quite unlike the original. The two versions sound so unlike each other that it is easy to forget that they are the same song; Nick removes all curse words (something which also differentiates him from his contemporaries) and makes the song his own.
But it’s ‘Ashamed’ that is the stand-out track of the EP. In it Nick discusses a failed relationship and you can tell, from the raw emotion in his voice, that this is personal to him. This is something that he himself has been through. The simple production helps emanate that emotion into a flawless, stunning song.
Flat 10 is rather unlike most rap music these days. It’s simple and mellow in terms of production whereas most rap has over-the-top production and in-your-face beats. The personal lyrics run deep and talk of the trials that Nick has been through, rather than any trivial or ego-driven things such as money and fame. It’s this that makes Nick Brewer stand out from the rest. He is certainly one to watch.