Midway through his latest mixtape, a prelude to his second LP hitting the shelves in May (do shelves have a place in music distribution these days?), we hear Sway in a conference call with his stateside namesake (of Sway and King Tech, apparently); and this hilarious aside, which took place on BBC 1Xtra, tells us a lot about the man. Content-wise, Sway UK’s dissection of his counterpart’s evangelising is in fact quite muddled. But his delivery is so effusive, his comic timing so on-the-money, that you feel compelled to join in the sniggering at the longer established, possibly hard-done-by Sway USA.
As for the rest of Dotted Lines, it’s a joyous, breezy session with tons to offer. You should be able to cope with the one annoying skit and a couple of poorer tracks – his New Skool take on Dizzee Rascal’s Old Skool is a bit of a drag, and despite having rethunk his 2006 rethink of Lily Allen’s brassy tour de force LDN, it just sounds kind of old.
But forget that, because most cylinders are fully firing. An early highlight, Black Stars, shows his scope, cleverly and comprehensively outlining his Ghanaian pride over a Bashy instrumental. As is the norm, helping hands abound on the vocal side as well as the production side, and the guests are pretty good. A few join in the B.E.T freestyle, but it’s $tush who steals the show with her brilliant appearance on F Ur X which, despite ploughing age-old jealousy territory, bites harder than supposedly loftier or darker subjects.
Ultimately though, Sway is a man unto himself. Quotable quotes and well-thought out disses are everywhere
(“If he drops another album, it should be over a dustbin” as he levels on his Myspace Freestyle), and it’s not just whimsical wordplay. It’s clear that he’s a natural performer and a true comedian; and as with all the best comedians, his mind dwells on higher, more elaborate plains. Though he hasn’t quite turned this into anything genre-defying as yet, Sway certainly knows how to express himself, and when he incorporates some bigger ideas (hopefully in the new album), world watch out.
To download Sway: ‘The Dotted Line Mixtape’ for free, just click here.