Ouuff, when I tell you this album is HEAVY I hope you all believe me. Rarely do I obsess over an album like I have with this particular one, and it’s definitely a sign that it’s among my favourite releases of the year. Send Them To Coventry is the name of the album, Pa Salieu the artist. The 22-year old British-Gambian talent has had quite a life. Born in Slough, he moved to The Gambia with his grandparents to live for 5 years before moving back to a Hillfields, a deprived part of Coventry, where he spent a significant part of life in. From losing one of his best friends just 2 years ago, to getting shot in the streets of Coventry not too long ago, life has not come easy for Pa. Yet, with clarity over his creativity and an unrivaled work ethic, the gifted storyteller, musician and artist came through with an incredible new album that gives us a glimpse into the future.
Firstly, the production is extraordinary. Influenced by afrobeats, dancehall, hip-hop and grime, the textures and rich aesthetics throughout the 15-track mixtape is what makes it such an engaging, enjoyable and incredible listen. Kwes Darko, Jevon, Felix Joseph, AoD, The FaNaTiX and Yussef Dayes are just some of the names involved throughout this project, and their ability to create a varied yet cohesive and free-flowing project is just amazing. From the dynamic and rhythmic “Block Boy” to the soulful and ethereal “Energy” featuring Mahalia, it’s a sonically eclectic project featuring some of the heaviest tracks I’ve heard all year. “Informa” featuring M1llionz is an example of this. The hook is crazy, the beat is bass-heavy with an infectious groove. He talks openly about his thoughts and experiences with street life. “More Life” featuring Eight9FLY is one of the most introspective and personal moments on the album. He opens with “My name is Pa and I’ve got a lot of enemies / N****s want me dead I wouldn’t blame them / Humble, it’s only right they hating on the energy / It’s only right they envy me / Did this shit the right way, I could never take threats / Young, dark, active”. These contemplative and reflective lyrics give an insight into his thoughts and insecurities, while also projecting a triumphant, confident and inspiring energy that’s almost transcendent. The flawless “No Warnin'” featuring Boy Boy is dynamic, hard-hitting, dance-heavy and gorgeously produced. The synths throughout feel warm and inviting, as both Pa Salieu and Boy Boy bring their charisma to the table with some excellent verses. “My Family” featuring BackRoad Gee showcases Pa Salieu’s versatility as a vocalist. The flows hit different, and so do his vocal inflections. He wears his pride and African accent on his sleeve throughout this album, and it sounds so beautiful. The singing and dark verses on the unapologetic and heavy single “Frontline” is crazy as well, capturing an urgency I haven’t heard in a track in a while. The percussion and wind instrumentation on “B***K” brings this incredible tribal and hypnotic energy, and the conscious pro-black message is inspiring, an ode to his Gambian heritage. There’s still so much to talk about on this album, there are so many more incredible moments to experience – “Flip, Repeat”, “Betty” and “T.T.M” deserve shoutouts.
Pa Salieu is the definition of greatness, and with Send Them To Coventry, he has made a statement like no other this year. The varied production, the dynamic rhythms, the flows, the verses, the hooks, the energy, the rhythms…. everything is produced and done to perfection. This is a true glimpse into the future of music, the possibilities from here for Pa are truly endless. I hope he continues to strive and work towards greatness, because man oh man, Send Them To Coventry might be one of the very best projects of the year.