A Real Pick-You-Up
At 27, Kate Tempest has achieved more than most 20-somethings could dream of. This award-winning poet has decided to mix her rhyme skills with some break beats and electronica on her debut hip hop album Everybody Down. As a spoken word artist, Tempest is no stranger to a microphone, and her style fits naturally together with the instrumental arrangements present on this LP.
Everybody Down tells the story of a girl named Becky and each track shows a different side of the protagonist. “Everybody here has a hyphenated last name,” Tempset explains in the first track, “Marshall Law.” Here, Becky meets a boy who happens to be a drug dealer and thus, the story begins.
Albums with a running storyline often have the flaw of individual songs failing to stand on their own or appearing out of context; Everybody Down is one of them. Tempest has undeniable skill, but in this format her storytelling style doesn’t translate well. As a book, this would be a great read, but as an album there’s too much going on to keep the listener’s attention. With that said, Tempest has a natural ability of letting words roll so smoothly from her lips and her voice is as unique as her verses. On “Circles,” Tempest exclaims “making whirlspools the way I chase my tail.” This track, more so than the others, has stronger legs to stand on its own.
Everybody Down is a great stepping stone into hip hop for Kate Tempest. With a little more practice in creating individual songs telling their own stories, Tempest’s role as an emcee would be as equally good as her role as a poet and a playwright. Everybody Down might not have iconic stand out tracks, but as a whole it tells a good tale, and who doesn’t like a story every once and a while?