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  • Thelma Khupe

Sample Sessions: 'Edna' by Headie One

Updated: 6 days ago

Sam-ple Sess-i-on


1. Noun

No stops. No skips. A one-take review.


“As a debut album, there’s no one else I could really give the name to. She’s a huge motivation behind my journey and my music. She keeps me going.” Headie says on the title of his debut album, ‘EDNA’.


Titled after his late mother who passed when he was 3, Headie One's introspective concept album presents an all-encompassing, cathartic body of records. The 20 track project sees the North London rapper reflect on his musical and personal journeys, as he touches on his relationship with God, growing up without the presence of his mother, emotional intelligence, love and mental health.


Dubbed “the scene’s biggest star” and “Tottenham’s current golden child” by The Guardian, Headie exceeds expectations, stamping his claim as one of the most revered UK rappers of his generation. ‘Edna’ delivers an oeuvre of ground-breaking production by UK and international moguls (M1onthebeat, Kenny Beats, Wondagurl) and guest appearances from some of rap music's finest including Future, Drake, Skepta and M Huncho. The album showcases his impressive lyricism, hard-hitting delivery and ability to transcend genres, as he holds the title as the 'King Of Drill’.


“Edna is my story. It’s what made sense to me and my experiences. I didn’t follow any trends, Edna is exactly what I wanted it to be and I’m proud of it.”


As per the rules, no stops, no skips, no rewinds. This is, Edna.





  1. Teach Me


With orchestral production by Madara Beatz, ‘Teach me’ sees Headie open up about his family life, detailing the hurt from losing his mother, lessons of forgiveness and his experience with mental health and therapy. Headie’s honest, empathetic lyricism invites us into his personal life as he illustrates lessons learned over resonant 808’s. This introduction sets precedence for what is yet to come and the bar is high.


Lyrical Content: 8

Production: 8

Delivery: 8


Highlights: Hook and production


  1. ‘Psalm 35’


‘I'm living proof that prayer is needed’ Headie raps over the Benjamin Lasnier & LukasBL production. On this second track, Headie speaks about his time behind bars and how the passage Psalm 35, which speaks about protection and deliverance, helped get him through his sentence. He also continues the themes of familyhood and mental health touching on his experience as a child from a broken home.


Lyrical Content: 8

Production: 8

Delivery: 8


Highlights: His flow and storytelling


  1. Bumpy Ride (faet. M Huncho)


Bumpy ride takes a more playful approach to its production with QuincyTellem behind its creation. M Huncho’s manipulation of autotune over the hook’s bouncy melodies sets this song aside almost immediately. The song proves M Huncho as one of the UK’s most exciting acts and how well the trap and drill scene coincide.


Lyrical Content: 8.5

Production: 8.5

Delivery: 9


Highlights: M Huncho on the hook


  1. Triple science


The fourth song on the album is pulsating, with its resonant baseline accompanied by Headie’s bold delivery and cutting flow.The production, accredited to Gino and Kylestemberger is an ode to the Headie One we became familiar with when he entered the scene mid 2010’s. know. It’s demonstrative of a typical Headie One sound as he touches on his time in the trap and prison, ‘Times that I had to go flush that grub’, ‘End up on a wing with life-ers’.



Lyrical Content: 8

Production: 8.5

Delivery: 9


Highlights: Hook


  1. The Light

The original production of track five, The light’ composed of Kanye’s ‘All of the lights’ sample. While I can only assume it was changed due to legal reasons, the updated instrumental still meets its expectations. The 169 production illustrates Headies ability to transcend any beat handed to him. His delivery is somewhat theatrical accompanied with signature ad libs. This is one of the strongest songs so far.


Lyrical Content: 8.5

Production: 9

Delivery: 9



  1. Ain't it different (feat Stormzy and AJ Tracey)


Track five cleverly samples UK classics, "Pretty Little Ditty" by Red Hot Chili Peppers and UK garage anthem "Bump 'N' Grind". Toddla T and FRED are the masterminds behind this immaculate production and the song sees each rapper deliver assertive bars comparing their lives now, to how different they were prior to fame. Since it’s release back in August, the song has proved to be commercially lucrative, unsurprising given its features.


Lyrical Content: 8

Production: 8

Delivery: 8


Highlights: Each artists delivery was consistently strong


  1. Mainstream Rapper


By this point, the album begins to pivot from family, prison and early life and focuses on his life with fame. The Eyes and Producerboy instrumental channels rhythms of trap and Afro Swing again demonstrating Headies versatility and ability to deliver a seamless flow over any instrumental.


Lyrical Content: 7

Production: 8.5

Delivery: 8


Highlights: Intro to the songs instrumental


  1. Princess cuts (feat. Young T and Bugsey)


‘Princess Cuts’ merges Latin music with UK Afro Swing, accompanied by the melodious vocals of Young T and Bugsey. The trio have proved themselves as a force to be reckoned with prior to Edna with their collaboration on ‘Don’t rush’, which quickly became viral landing them a top 20 hit on the UK Singles chart. The song is most definitely a party anthem and its accompanying visuals reflect exactly that.


Lyrical Content: 7

Production: 8.5

Delivery: 9


Highlights: Catchy Hook


  1. 21 Gun Salute


In 21 Gun Salute, Headie delves further into the sounds of UK trap with this TSB and IO beat - two of the UK’s most sought after producers. Headie manipulates his intonations whilst layering his punchy lyrics with a skippy flow. Young Adz’s entrance delivers an array of auto tuned vocals that blend with the instrumental.


Lyrical Content: 9

Production: 8.5

Delivery: 9


Lowlights: Young Adz’s verse could have been longer


  1. Five Figures


This is 169’s third appearance on the album thus far and it’s clear why. The instrumentals dark, mellowness accompanied with piano keys that sound like a horror film introduction are paired with Headies infectious flow and boastful lyrics. As well as touching on friendships, Headie speaks on selling out shows and splashing on outfits.


Lyrical Content: 8

Production: 9

Delivery: 9


  1. Hear No Evil (Feat future)


Headie consistently proves himself as one of the greats in UK music, so a feature with one of America’s greats only makes sense. Hear no evil features production wizard Wondagurl, who’s credits go as far as Drake, Jay-Z and Travis Scott. Futures appearance, although brief, is nothing short of his typical excellence. And with a hook so catchy, the two artists go back to back spitting hard-hitting bars over the eclectic production.


Lyrical Content: 9

Production: 9

Delivery: 9

  1. Breathing


Breathing is much more heartfelt and emotional than the last few songs we’ve heard thus far. Touching on police brutality, rectifying mistakes and his love life, Headie delves back into his life experiences bringing us back into his personal life. He narrates his thoughts over the Benjamin Lasnier and Lasse Qvist instrumental that perfectly accompanies the themes expressed on the song.


Lyrical Content: 8

Production: 9

Delivery: 9


  1. Only You Freestyle


Only You Freestyle turned the heads of everyone in the industry as the King of Drill called to one of the greatest rappers of this generation for explosive collaboration. There’s not much more to say about this song that the song hasn't already said for itself.


Lyrical Content: 9

Production: 9

Delivery: 9.5


Highlights: Drake’s 3-beat flow and Headie’s singing


  1. F U Pay Me


Ivorian Doll, dubbed by many as the Queen of Drill, was the perfect feature for this song. Her entrance makes the song a hit, expanding its audience. IVD’s hard hitting punchlines and reload worthy one liners make this song one of the best on the tape. And with production mogul Kenny Beats on the instrumental, it's no wonder why this song stands out.


Lyrical Content: 9.5

Production: 9

Delivery: 9.5


Highlights: IVD’s verse


  1. Parlez-Vous Anglais


‘Parlez-Vouz Anglais’, produced by Ambezza (Future, Drake, Lil Baby, Lil Uzi) is a playful and lighthearted yet hard hitting single. Aitch’s carefree tenor and Headie’s braggadocious lyrics pair well as the two different styles complement each other with ease.


Lyrical Content: 9

Production: 9

Delivery: 9.5


  1. Everything Nice


Everything nice is another nod to the UK afro swing scene. And with Haile’s warming vocals on theADP instrumental, this track is another light hearted party anthem.


Lyrical Content: 8

Production: 9

Delivery: 9.5


  1. You/Me


Headie continues the theme of warming, heartfelt hits with You/Me. A feature from Mahalia elevates the song with her melodic R&B vocals, singing about trust alongside Headie’s love lyrics touching on toxic masculinity and catching feelings.


Lyrical Content: 8

Production: 9

Delivery: 9


Highlights: Hook


19. Therapy


As the album draws to a close, Headie calls to Quincytellem and Nyge for ‘Therapy’. This track encapsulated the rappers ups and downs and subsequent outlook on life, friendships and relationships. The instrumental is a trap-like beat with R&B influences that compliant Headie’s narration.


Lyrical Content: 8

Production: 9

Delivery: 9


Highlights: His delivery


20. Cold


Previously named E.H.F.A.R., ‘Cold’ calls to US singer Kaash Paige for final close-to-heart song. This song concludes the album beautifully with Kaash’s vocals and Headie’s stories about his the ups and downs of his life.


Lyrical Content: 8

Production: 8

Delivery: 9





Final score:


9.


By Thelma Khupe

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