It’s often said there are only seven endlessly reworked stories in fiction. Here 23-year-old east London rapper Devlin has stretched to just one – that of his rise from the streets to become the voice of a forgotten generation. Admittedly Devlin’s version of this now-familiar tale is smart and visceral – ‘Pour more blood in your cup / Take a sip full of sin and let your taste buds savour the buzz’ he raps on the Hendrix-sampling ‘(All Along the) Watchtower’, featuring Ed Sheeran. But while the topic can stand to be covered again, the rock classic can’t – it’s a pop-rap bludgeoning.
By the Eminem-aping melodrama of ‘Rewind’ the tone feels like a one-note rant. ‘It’s like everybody wants me to live a lie,’ Devlin spits. That’s what you get for turning your life story into a dross pop album. Jonny Ensall