Single Review: Wretch 32 ft. Example – ‘Unorthodox’

Usually, it’s the good songs that have the clear musical intentions. Songs can make you think, may you dance, make you cry, may you happy or sad. And it’s a lovely feeling when a song knows what it wants to do for it’s listener and it expertly procures all the listeners’ needs, isn’t it? Isn’t it?

But then again, it’s the artists with clear musical intentions that really convince – examples include artists as diverse as Mumford & Sons, Janelle Monáe, VV Brown or HURTS – all of which have very thought-through musical intentions with every one of their songs and, you could say that, as a direct product of this, their songs make you feel something, rather than just being a bit of music to have on in the background.

Wretch 32 here, has so far released one song, featuring the “I-Spent-Ages-Thinking-Of-My-Stage-Alias”, L. ‘Traktor’ was all about Wretch 32 and who he was; a pretty normal thing to rap about in today’s day and age, where, if the artist’s personality or memorability isn’t there, they could easily be lost in a cross-current of a hundred other artists trying to reach the mainstream. The both of them (Wretch 32 and L) proclaimed how they were something new and better than other rappers of similar ilk and, with the release of his second single, featuring the more celebrated Example, little old Jermaine Scott’s at it again, only this time, his musical intentions seem to be dampened by a very silly move.

First thing you notice about ‘Unorthodox’ is how inescapably catchy it is. Verging on having the merits to form it’s own sub-genre, everything about it really does seem very “unorthodox” and Wretch 32’s conviction to his style is most certainly evident as early as the first verse – “This is all from the heart/Intro, no script/I’m just about writin’ it down’, but all the while this very ironic, very humourous knowledge that he’s only gone a borrowed the guitar riff from The Stone Roses’ ‘Fool’s Gold’ as the song’s main accompaniment keeps niggling at the back of your mind, thus rendering the line – “We don’t follow no sound;/It follows us”, kindly sung by Example, as a bit of old piffle.

Nonetheless, the song is, as stated earlier, absolutely infectious. The production is brilliant, laughing loudly and unashamedly at the typical grime scene’s hyperactive synths and rubbery basslines. In their place, an unconventional production consisting of that guitar riff, a real drum kit, and some kind of cheery-sounding electronic pan-pipe during the chorus lend a welcomed bounciness to the song. And thankfully, even the most uptight pedant wouldn’t feel the need to complain about the use of The Stone Roses’ riff – it works seamlessly within the song.

Here’s the video: It’s council estate chic…


The song’s not perfect by any means, and yes, there is a blatant contradiction in the song’s fundamentals but, that said, it’s musical intentions are obvious, and so are Wretch 32’s. Something about this song really is unorthodox; the sound particularly, whilst using that sample, manages to proudly position itself somewhere between the musical realms of pop, indie and hip hop, and unlike a lot of cross-genre musical concoctions, this one actually works.

Rating: 4.0 STARS

Download: April 17, 2011 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘Black And White’

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