For many, they will immediately associate Not3s with some of his huge singles. From ‘Butterflies’, to ‘My Lover’, to ‘Addison Lee’, Not3s has proven his ability to make a hit, time and time again. But, with ‘Son Of The Soil’, there is a noticeable artistic progression.
One thing that stuck with me throughout listening to this project, was how it felt like Not3s was making the music that he really wanted to be making. There was a distinct naturality to this EP. Upon discovering how this project came into existence, this impression makes complete sense.
The story of how this creative direction was taken is fascinating. Upon visiting the grave-site of music legend Fela Kuti, Not3s happened to bump into Bankulli, another Nigerian afro-beats artist. Bankulli told Not3s he should continue the Afrobeats legacy, as a ‘son of the soil’. This inspired Not3s to more deeply connect with his Nigerian heritage, and infuse these sounds with his signature London flourish.
The results are fantastic. We begin with ‘High Fashion’, a stand out track of the project. This is in part due the contribution from Nigerian artist Odumodublvck. Both artists were on top form for this track. The production employs an Amapiano bass sound, something that has garnered great popularity recently. However, the plucked strings and vibrant vocal delivery contains a distinctly West-African feel. ‘Son Of The Soil’ is off to a brilliant start.
‘Who Dey 4 U?’ arrives next, with a hook that will be spinning around your mind for a long-time post-listen. That track is unequivocally a vibe. The second verse exhibits Not3s rhyming ability, with a sharp verse delivered before jumping back into the hook. Not3s questions the motives of those around him in his lyrics, contemplating who will be around in the hard times.
Next up we have ‘Offering’, which has one of Not3s’ best vocal performances of the project. The layers of the hook provide an almost gospel feeling. This is combined with the continuation of African influence in the instrumental. It is rich in substance and content, containing romance and braggadocio in equal measure.
It takes us into one of the singles released in the run-up to the project, ‘Start Me Up’. Through the velvety production and lyrical content, a night time atmosphere is created. Not3s is in his bag on this one, exhibiting his natural flair over soulful production.
Following this, Hamzaa makes an appearance on ‘Take Me Away’. In this one Not3s details some of his experiences growing up, with Hamzaa excellently executing a scintillating chorus. The depth in this song is plentiful. It really showcases Not3s’ creative diversity. He manages to perfectly strike the balance between discussing important topics and creating sonically pleasing music. That is no small feat, but seems to be the organic progression that has been made on Not3s’ musical journey.
Another track that was released as a single is ‘So Far Gone’, featuring Nigerian artist, Mayorkun. The beat in this one has a sparkling bounce that inspires movement, again showing an Amapiano influence with an Afrobeats distinction. The two artists complement each other beautifully, their respective inputs melding into a delightful fusion of talent.
Then, to close the project, Not3s gives us ‘Unexplainable’. He provides us an insight into struggles he has experienced and past traumas. Again, proving his versatility between hit-maker and thought-provoker. The main theme of the track, that being certain situations are unexplainable, really hits home. It inspires reflection on the randomness of life, and how so much can be beyond your control.
A highly effective ending to an enthralling project, Not3s has really delivered on ‘Son Of The Soil’. Representing his first longer project since 2021, fans will be waiting in eager anticipation. I believe Not3s has more than delivered. He gives us growth and development, combined with his signature ability to put the listener in a good mood.
This project contains some of my favourite Not3s work to date, with him proving once again why he is deserving of our praise.