It’s been two years since Mancunian emcee and Grime veteran Blizzard dropped his 2021 EP ‘Fresh Start‘ and for anyone who follows Blizzard on social media, you’ll know that he has spend the past two years facing various obstacles in regards to his mental health and personal life. Despite dropping a handful of tracks and producing for other artists here and there, it’s clear that Blizzard has taken a step back over the past two years to not only work on himself, but work on his new project; ‘Demons Living Rent Free‘. The entirely self produced project is an honest deep dive into his journey with mental health and spares no detail in how it has affected his life. This project provides a vulnerable side to the 29 year old emcee that not only shows his growth as an artist, but also as a person.
With Blizzard making a name for himself on the rap battle circuit and Grime scene all the way back in 2009, he has been a household name for close to 15 years now with frequent appearances on SBTV, JDZMedia and Don’t Flop Entertainment to name a few and the fans that have followed him from the start will be able to appreciate his evolution as an artists in this new project.
“Life has ups and downs but you just keep going“
As I stated earlier, this project clearly acts as a journal for Blizzard to finally lift the weight off of his shoulders and get some things off of his chest with regards to addressing his mental health, particularly ADHD and depression and uses the opening track ,’Opening Act‘, to reflect on his childhood in order to investigate where his struggles with his mental health may have stemmed from. This is a theme that runs frequently throughout the project with tracks like ‘Demons Living Rent Free‘, ‘Therapeutic Ones‘ and ‘Sleeping In The Spare Room‘ touching on how his daily life and relationships with loved ones and friends are impacted by his mental health struggles.
What I think makes this project unique is that due to the vulnerability and honesty shown through Blizzard’s lyrics, the project is very relatable. Everyone struggles with their mental health from time to time and the entire project creates a sense of reassurance that we’re all in the same boat.
“Doesn’t matter where I live or where I’m from I still rep for Didsbury“
Despite spending a large portion of his career living in London, Blizzard is never shy when it comes to representing for his hometown of Manchester and this project sees a full track dedicated to the city with ‘M20‘. The synth and horn driven Grime track acts as an origin story for Blizzard and details how the South Manchester suburb of Didsbury was integral to the rise of Blizzard as an emcee, from battling in the local parks to honing his craft in the local youth club. If you’re from the area, this track is certainly going to be a trip down memory lane as Blizzard reminisces on local spots that shaped who he is today.
One thing that I think may be easily overlooked with this project by the average person is the quality of the project sonically. Blizzard is well established as an emcee, but the fact that the whole project was produced and mixed by Blizzard in his home studio just goes to show not only his talent as an artist, but also the vast amount of effort that has gone into the project to ensure it’s professional sound. The production really shines on this project and I feel it has a vibe to suit everyone, wether you’re an old school Grime fan, Hip Hop / R&B fan or both, Blizzard manages to merge different Rap sub genres perfectly with this project.
The standout track for me is ‘Sometimes‘, the sparse Hip Hop production creates enough of a groove with it’s haunting piano melody, periodic bass stabs and R&B style percussion whilst leaving enough of a pocket for the vocals to shine.
It seems the typical ‘Grime sound’ is becoming less prominent in the 2020’s as UK rap continues to develop and evolve, and whilst Blizzard represents Grime to the fullest with his music, he is able to modernise the sound in his productions in order to cater for both OG UK rap fans as well as the new comers. This is evident on the track ‘Say My Name‘. The Grime production features contemporary instrumentation and percussion whilst featuring a sample that every Grime fan is bound to know. Introducing “The new Grime sound“, as Blizzard calls it.
Despite discussing more serious topics on this project, it is still packed with the witty, sometimes comical punchlines fans of Blizzard have come to expect and boasts some of the best one liners I’ve heard in a long time. Tracks like ‘Time‘ and ‘Warm Up‘ give Blizzard an opportunity to demonstrate his lyrical ability and show people despite being in the game for so long, he’s still got a lot to prove and he’s far from finished.
Overall, It’s clear that Blizzard really poured his heart into the project and used it as a form of therapy in order to accept, understand and better himself as a person, leaving the listener with an appreciation for his progression and signifying the next chapter of his career. The lyricism and production throughout the project is first-class and clearly demonstrates that he has no intentions of slowing down anytime soon.
Words: Marv https://www.instagram.com/harveybishopaudio