Devlin started working with a collective of Grime Mc's called The Movement. Members included friend and east london Grime MC Ghetts and North London's Wretch 32 and Scorcher. In December 2006 The Movement released their first and only release entitled Tempo Specialists. Devlin's music began to reach commercial radio stations. He made appearances on Kiss FM and BBC Radio 1Xtra with Dj's Logan Sama, Tim Westwood and Cameo. Devlin released his second solo mixtape The Art of Rolling in 2008. US rap star Kanye West posted a video on his blog of Devlin's appearance on Grime DVDPractice Hours when he was aged 15. In December 2009, Devlin was announced on the long list for the BBC Sound of 2010. Devlin signed to Island Records in March 2010, and began working on his first studio album Bud, Sweat and Beers.
While not usually in my wheelhouse, I have a love for every genre including rap. From across the pond we have Devlin, one of UK’s strongest rappers bringing us “A Moving Picture”. He returns with an album that stays emotionally strong throughout and really allows us to evaluate his importance as a rap artist. With powerful verses and some excellent choices for featuring artist, the cohesiveness of “A Moving Picture” is far beyond anything mainstream artist are pursuing. One of the more surprising tracks was “All Along The Watchtower” and even with help from Ed Sheeran, it showcases a very risky move. While it does not stand out as an amazing track Devlin certainly deserves credit for being brave.
There are some missteps with overused piano loops and repetitive beats, instrumentally it is very rough around the edges. Devlin is a talented rapper however the influence of a major label may have him slightly twisted. His next album will be crucial in determining how he is perceived amongst his fan-base. “A Moving Picture” is very strong in terms of comparison to the US rap genre; however the UK scene is filled with superior rap artist and producers. Overall I was satisfied and found myself repeating tracks such as “Off With Their Heads” and “A Gift & A Curse”.
1 Sun Goes Down Feat. Katy B
2 Really Cold
3 [All Along The] Watchtower Feat. Ed Sheeran
4 Off With Their Heads Feat. Wretch 32
5 Ghost Ship
6 Letter To My Boys
7 Mothers Son
8 Rewind Feat. Diane Birch
9 Love Cards Feat. Etta Bond
10 A Gift & A Curse Feat. Chasing Grace
11 The Cast
12 The Garden
Article by: Larry Harris