With his sophomore album on the way, Northampton’s prodigal son slowthai ransacks his perception and the society that surrounds him on the delicately imposing and profoundly immersive new single ‘NHS’. Having grown to an unsteady level of popularity as an aggressive, full-throttle rapper, fans may have expected much of the same from thai on his new project. However, there has been a real change in gear, first with ‘feel away’ a deft, gorgeous cut featuring the transcending James Blake, and now with NHS. On this track, we see a vulnerability that we knew was there but had never fully developed into a cohesive ideology. This feels like the work of a more mature, rounded artist and person. The writing is genuinely profound, cerebral.
The melancholic instrumental uses a variety of striking sonic textures, with dainty piano and broad, robust bass and percussion offering a fragile urgency. The production is vibrant, yet sparse, with much of the soundscape taken up by slowthai’s signature vocal tone and ad-libs. The writing is full of vivid imagery and structural rigidness, as thai spouts a series of comparisons and rhetorical questions, wondering, amongst other things, what’s a ‘flight without turbulence /a life without circumstance’. The narration is a compelling and benign take on the world and its beauty and flaws.
NHS is a beautiful, focused and progressive effort from one of the UK’s most exciting and interesting talents. With the album ‘Tyron’ coming in February 2021 will be massive for slowthai.