Album Review: Fem Fel - 'eyes Closed'
'Eyes Closed' is an open and honest debut from the south London’s Fem Fel. But really, who would've expected anything different? This is the same artist that has been going 'H.A.M' all year, freestyle after freestyle, video after video, performance after performance and release after release...
For a debut album, there are no signs of music by numbers, no obligatory affiliation features, absolutely nothing mainstream or compromised, although Fem does admit that he waited to drop 'Hero' because of the style being so far away from the tracks he had been doing on the underground scene. Saying that, produced by one half of The Elite, Dan Dare – who produced a good handful of tracks on the album – it’s hardly going pop, is it?
Add to that beats from the likes of Flukes, J Flowz and Rymez, 'Hero' does stand out in the respect that rather than focusing on the man himself, relationships with other people (namely a bitch of a girlfriend) come into play – which isn’t a common occurrence on the album based solely around Fem’s life experiences. When we heard the unmastered album for the first time back in March, Fem warned us: "This goes deep! Don’t cry."
Whilst music by numbers this is not, the album doesn’t stick to rap exclusively for example Shy One makes an appearance for a kind of stripped back, slowed down grimey number and newcomer Sibling does his thing on 'Magnificent', complete with a dubstep remix removing his production disguise.
M Dot E provides the simple and smooth banger 'Floating', where Wretch and Fem talk about their current success. A fitting feature, as Fem explains: "With this whole album, it’s called 'Eyes Closed' because I put the beats on and let whatever was in my heart come out, without having a strategy or some sort of plan. That goes with the features as well, whoever naturally fitted on it, they went on the song."
This debut is not about dropping bangers, although we all know 'Put It In A Bag' pretty much took over the blogosphere – with everyone and their mum dropping a freestyle and Fem offering unknown MCs the chance to do the same in a competition. The Kurt Collins-featuring 'Hero' had the same impact and no doubt 'Magnificent' will do the same soon.
If you’re a fan of homegrown rap, there is everything you need right here: hard-hitting beats, real life lyrics, flashbacks to the past, plans for the future, hints of grime and dubstep and the ability to make extremely competent songs. A lot of underground artists find it hard to translate their fire freestyles into a full concept, but Fem does it well.
Fem Fel's album, 'Eyes Closed', is out now.
Stay up to date with Fem Fel on Twitter – www.twitter.com/FemFel
Words: Nardene Scott (@NardeneScott)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)