This is Lord Apex’s time. With every passing year, the London-based emcee has improved as an emcee, sharpening his pen and bringing raps that are both introspective, humorous and highly engaging. Releases such as Smoke Sessions, Vol. 2 and Supply & Demand with V Don showcase his talents to the fullest, with sharp verses that float on the backdrop of a soulful and intricate soundscape. Drawing influences from his contemporaries in the US, he brings his own unique personality to his music, a commanding presence that demands attention at all times. He is back with a brand new album titled Smoke Sessions 3, the third in his trilogy, and it might be his most consistent and complete project to date. Released on 420, the talented emcee celebrates smoking with a dynamic, energetic project that proves why he’s one of the most exciting artists to come out of the UK in a while, so everyone needs to start paying attention.
The Blaize Wareham produced intro “Ssv3” sets the tone of the project, with smooth keys and synth melodies that are complemented with dominant and bass-heavy beats, as well as Lord Apex’s dynamic and reflective lyrics. Smoke DZA features on the The Purist-produced “I Need A Light”, an incredible cross-border collaboration that sees both emcees complement each other’s styles brilliantly. His affinity and admiration for New York is felt throughout the album. The other rap feature on the album comes from Wiki, who appears on the Xanmato-produced “Say That” with one of my favourite verses I’ve heard from him in a while. On the Slumfu-produced “Rap Spliff”, Lord Apex flows effortlessly over the smooth and soulful beat, giving this almost spoken-word verse that sees his flex his talents as a writer – “Wrap spliff before he rap like it’s a ritual / Another day against the game to try obtain residuals / Ignorant, clutch my genitals, try rewrite my principals / But envy, that’s off them edibles, my trainer fought elliptical”. The way he’s able to rhyme throughout this track and throughout the album is so commendable and inspiring. The LoVibe produced “Love Me or Hate Me” (also featuring additional saxophone from Venna), he proclaims “Love me or hate me, gonna take a whole lot to break me”. It’s that confidence and assurance in his skills and future legacy that makes his music so fearless and also timeless. The leading single “Like You Know” produced by Angus Luke is an absolute banger. Heavy drums and a slightly more shouty and emphatic Lord Apex verse makes this one of the more memorable tracks on the project. “Chev Chelios” produced by The Kount (who also produced the excellent “Exhale” and “High Forever”), is another stellar moment on the album, mainly due to the crazy production and the heavy, signature drums, as well as Lord Apex’s impeccable flow. My favourite track on the album however is the closing track “On My Way”. Produced by and featuring Maverick Sabre, as well as Finn Foxell and Louis Culture, this dynamic cut is soulful in its sound and hard-hitting with its beat. Everyone does their thing on this track, rhyming effortlessly on the smooth beat.
Once again, the affinity and love that Lord Apex has towards the US and New York hip-hop scene can be heard throughout this project, and it’s just his ability to draw from his influences while simultaneously staying true to his own musical identity is what makes him such a unique and inspiring artist. What I mean by this is that this sound is distinctly London – it’s the energy and references he uses that makes it such, while also taking direct influence from New York hip-hop. Smoke Sessions 3 is a terrific body of work that further cements his position as one of the most important London-based artists working today. His pen game is sharp, the production is textured and layered throughout. Smoke Sessions 3 is definitely an album to listen to and support!