Last year Headie One dropped his debut studio album EDNA. The chart-topping project, named after his late mother boasted features from both US and UK talents as Headie explored the progress he was making as an artist as well as in his personal life.
Months after EDNA’s initial release, he’s back with a deluxe edition packed with hits that were in the initial drop such as the infectious Princess Cuts (feat. Young T & Bugsey) and Ain't It Different (feat. Stormzy & AJ Tracey). Leading the bonus tracks on this edition is his brand new collaboration with African giant Burna Boy, Siberia. The track has been described as a stripped-back and reflective release.
In the additional 8 tracks, Headie continues to reflect on his advancements; in some instances he looks back at his journey with regret. With the majority of new tracks carrying an introspective air to them, Headie sounds as if he’s relaxing into his current status and situation. It is clear that Headie feels somewhat assured and confident in where he is now.
The first of the new tracks Hung Jury sets the scene in a court-house as both Headie and another defendant appear at a court hearing. Headie asks “Have you ever felt guilty for being free?” as he had a hung jury and the other person was sentenced. We also hear him reciting the Lord’s prayer as he often did, not wanting to end up in jail.
In the following track, he calls on Rich the Kid to speak about money and living a fast-paced lifestyle. Headie essentially uses the song Bussdown to flex his wealth as he rejects the phrase ‘money can’t buy happiness’ because for him, this money makes everything okay. This is another experimental sound for Headie. And although you could say that he’s gout a lot going on in his life, the business of the track feels unsettling at times.
Headie enlists Canadian artist Northsidebenji for the next track Showed Me, as he speaks about the come up and gaining wealth. Northsidebenji on the hook is a great pairing as he acts as a preface to Headie’s more reflective side, warning the youngsters and anyone else making their way up not to force a life they can’t control.
The lead single Siberia features Burna Boy on a track led by loose guitar motifs and a dependable drum pattern. When I saw these names together this sound is not the first thing that came to mind. Headie chooses a laid back flow, and Burna Boy follows suit as he raps about staying out of the drama and living an easy going lifestyle.
Following on from Showed Me, Headie contemplates on how fame has changed his life; “I was in prison when bro used to visit me, and now they got bro and they say I’m the visitor”; but also the fact that some things haven’t changed because ‘they’ still try to make him a prisoner. The dynamics in his life are shifting but he can never be too cautious.
Level Up explores the pressure Headie faces during his come up. He mentions how (as many young people today) he wanted to essentially do anything it took to get his money up. The production is steady and imports what sounds like a guitar being picked to a grounded and steady beat. Headie once again shares his sentiments on going through court cases and going to jail, all while he was gaining fame through music. Hearing the not guilty verdict felt like an indication of the new level he’s reached; what happened in the past is in the past, now it’s time for Headie to move on.
At this point, I couldn’t help but notice the lack of heavier rap/drill beats, but Dressing Gown came and we got to hear the flow Headie One is known and loved for. He almost mumbles “Might record a bloody album in my dressing gown.” Anyone that taps into his Snapchat story now and again wouldn’t be surprised if he did- we often see Headie laying vocals in the comfort of his own home.
Amidst the laid-back production, Headie refers to Spring/Summer 2019 and the reason behind his Wireless Festival appearance initially being pulled - he got out on bail in time to perform. This track shows the more relaxed side of Headie One, just letting the listener know he’s grateful for where he is now and most of all, where music has brought him.
When it comes to songs about Zodiac signs, titles such as the sensual Signs by Beyoncé come to mind, and has us swooning over the thought of love and compatibility. Headie however, had a different idea. With the help of his friend and frequent collaborator RV, Zodiac is about how he balanced Music X Road while incorporating zodiac signs. I’m here for the production, we've finally got the full Headie One X Kenny Beats track that was teased back in 2018 and it doesn't disappoint! Not only did this make me think of the Headie I was first introduced to back in 2017/18, but he also mentions getting his old flow back and references his 2018 song, Golden Boot. This is definitely one Headie fans from his earlier tapes can appreciate.
The last bulk of these new tracks must’ve been created with Headie’s core fans in mind as we finally hear a drill beat. The Ghosty produced Yet allows Headie to display his slightly more casual attitude to rapping; with the rest of the album and bonus tracks, Headie speaks about how things used to be and where he is now status and money-wise. For me, it rounds off the bonus tracks and deluxe album appropriately because by now, we’ve sort of been on Headie’s journey and to hear him circle back to a developed version of the sound he’s been hailed for is fitting.
I’m sure Headie One fans won’t be mad about getting some of these extras on streaming platforms. And considering that they fit the album, there would be no need to create a whole new project for these 8 tracks. Although this deluxe edition may not be released on CD as they used to be back in the early 2000s, it was a good repackaging of the album that critics and fans already appreciated.
EDNA (Deluxe Album) is out on Friday 12th February.