The man who never gives away too much is back again with his latest project PURPLE.
A2 is a mysterious character within the scene – an enigma if you will. Almost as if intentionally counter to current industry patterns, he has dropped music sporadically. But more than just being sporadic, he never gives us too much. His releases either having been singles dropped over periods of months or EPs that are rarely longer than five songs.
PURPLE falls into this same pattern being five tracks long, but for this drop we had some warning of it coming. This is also where arguably the biggest problem with the project came as it ended up being delayed. PURPLE had been teased shortly in the aftermath of A2’s last release, BLUE, he promoted marketing for it as well as fuelled fan speculation in the build-up to announcing the project. Now granted the delay was only a week, but it is still always disappointing when an expectation is not met. Or is it? Arguably what this delay did was actually reignited fans eagerness for the project, and had fans clamouring all over his social media asking for the project.
“If you got a problem, you better solve it/ I had some problems, that was some old shit”
Now the project has finally dropped, fans are not disappointed. Just check A2’s Instagram and you will see people across the world enjoying this latest release with ‘All In All Out’ seeming to be an instant favourite. What we can also see in this release is a continuation of the progress A2 has made since working on BLUE, there is that same level of production value even on this shorter project.
If this is the new direction for him then both old and new fans are in for a treat, as it suggests that he is still experimenting with his sound. This experimentation merges well and we can see he can do a range of styles even in singles released before PURPLE; like ‘GSD’ which take a departure from the hip-hop/R&B blend of production he usually works with. Whilst ‘GSD’ doesn’t feature on the project it is clear that cues have been taken from it in the production of tracks like ‘All In All Out’ and ‘Southside’.
Now to address what stands out the most about the project when just looking at the tracklist – ‘Flair’.
‘Flair’ boasts an all-star line up of Suspect, Octavian, of course A2 himself, and fellow Disturbing London label mate Yxng Bane. Individually, every one of these artists has star quality and a cult following that consistently does numbers – yet all are so different.
Octavian has been seen to be for the most part experimental and melodic, Yxng Bane has been the rock star of Afro-Swing, Suspect has been the unique voice of the streets yet somehow they come together on ‘Flair’. Somehow A2 and co. managed to find production which worked for each one of these unique artists – and some of them even proved that we haven’t seen all that they have to offer just yet.
In this regard, the verse from Octavian is the most surprising due to its departure from his melodic style which shot him to stardom with the likes of ‘Party Here’, ‘Hands’, and ‘Little’. Yxng Bane also delivers a nice verse without relying on melodies rounding off the lyrical sparring of the track, whilst Suspect provides a catchy and attention-grabbing hook. A2 being the versatile artist he is, shows some of his patented lyrical abilities in leading the track off before leaving his all-star cast to have their individual moments to shine.
The project shows progression in A2 as a musician and writer in terms of content as well. What the project also boasts is one of, if not, the best line up of the next wave of UK talent all on one track – and it doesn’t feel forced at all. If we take BLUE as A2’s magnum opus, PURPLE is the magna carta – the promise of what’s next to come from the elusive star.
“You know I always take the risk / Win and never miss”