Featuring instrumentals like funky guitar and ’90s garage band beats, Slang’s newest EP “Terms and Conditions” unexpectedly combines melodic rap with upbeat yet mellow choruses. Despite its innovative production, “Terms and Conditions” lacks the vulnerable storytelling and lyricism of Slang’s previous music.
Slang, a somewhat undiscovered alternative indie and rap artist, started his career in the underground grime scene of his hometown of Southall, west London. In both his 2017 “Slang” EP and 2017 “fwENDZ” mixtape, Slang artfully tackled themes like adversity and self-discovery.
His ability to make interesting, diverse music led him to create music for other artists as well. Before the takeoff of his personal career as an artist, Slang entered the music world as a producer and songwriter under the name of Dan Dare, working with artists like Charli XCX, Marina and the Diamonds, and Wiley.
Through his work as a producer and recording artist himself, Slang showcased his talent and indicated he is more interested in making meaningful music than conforming to industry norms. Yet his latest EP “Terms and Conditions” is far from original, focusing each song’s story on an unattainable hot girl.
The EP’s first track “Dancer” is a funky rap jam: Its upbeat rhythm drops listeners in the club scene that Slang describes through his lyrics. The song hooks the listener with a nostalgic guitar riff, and authentic scratches and muted tone make the song sound like it came straight off a vinyl record.
Almost immediately, “Dancer” adopts a modern vibe, with which Slang’s singing mirrors the melodic rap of Ed Sheeran’s work, once again focusing on a girl in a club. Although the story is already tired, Slang keeps listeners interested by adding musical elements like drawn-out notes in the beginning of the chorus and the subtle bongos toward the end of the song.
The next song, “Believe Me,” is a surprising departure from the retro dance vibe of “Dancer.” It starts with a Maroon 5-esque guitar strum but soon becomes innovative as the juxtaposition of melodic but assertive rap pairs with a beachy reggae chorus. Though the song is a fun listen, it carries the theme of talking about a pretty girl and lacks lyrical creativity.
Similarly “Prang,” the EP’s third track, follows a similar storyline but stylistically contrasts the first two songs. “Prang,” which refers to a car crash in British slang, unexpectedly shifts to a ’90s grunge sound, with high-low guitar parts helping to form its retro style.
Slang gives the song another original spin with the addition of piano in the middle of the song. Though compelling given the song’s theme of unsteadiness, the piano is not different enough to disrupt the song’s continuous flow.
In his last track, “Better Off Alone,” Slang again demonstrates his diverse repertoire of musical genres and ability to make his songs dynamic, but he fails to talk about a theme other than himself in the context of a relationship — or lack of one.
Like Slang’s other songs, the basic structure of “Better Off Alone” pairs rap verses with contrasting melodic choruses. This time, however, Slang incorporates new instrumentation, forgoing his usual guitar riffs with electric violin.
Musically, “Terms & Conditions” is incredible, showcasing Slang’s ability to maintain the interest of his listeners through original combinations of funk, reggae, grunge and alternative pop. Slang shows his talent as a wordsmith but lyrically, the narrative of his newest EP lacks originality. Its laser focus on Slang’s relationship trials is disappointing in this sense, deviating from his previous work that reflects his diverse set of experiences honestly and impactfully.