Album Review: Akira the Don – The Life Equation

By on Thursday, 12th May 2011 at 2:00 pm

Since releasing his first EP back in 2004, Akira the Don has transcended from an underground singer with a message to a fully fledged hip hop star in the making. Despite not being as famous as some of his other counterparts, Akira the Don is a prime example of the UK hip hop scene.

Equipped with his opinions on love, drugs and terrorism, as well as his Jarvis Cocker-esque voice, Akira the Don’s latest LP stands out from the crowd in both his message and music. The music itself is something quite interesting, not just a simple bass line but there are some fantastic pop hooks to sink your teeth into.

His new album, ‘The Life Equation’, opens with a message backed by ambient music, which asks the question “why don’t we fit in?” and talks about the notion of individualism. This then fades into the very poppy ‘Video Highway’. If britpop rap isn’t already coined as a genre, then this is it. The music is so reminiscent of Pulp, yet it’s also laden with hip hop tendencies. There’s even elements of drum ‘n’ bass at times, albeit quite tame, the influence is there. This is followed by the funkier ‘All The Right Things’ which is more minimal in its sound, but the vocals are just as Britpop as before. It’s also an example of just how catchy the lyrics can be. Akira the Don has nailed down the technique of writing a catchy chorus and uses his talent throughout the LP.

Despite the vocals being the stand out focus of the album, the music is different for each track. ‘I Am Not Dead Yet’ (video below) begins with a ’60s psych feel before heading into a deep bass line groove, whereas ‘We Are Not Alone’ sounds almost like an ’80s track with endless vocal effects. Sadly, despite the interesting music, meaningful lyrics and Britpop influence, there’s still something holding the album back. At times the lyrics can get repetitive, especially in ‘We Are Not Alone’, and ‘Babydoll’ sadly doesn’t pack the same punch as other songs on the record.


However, one of the most interesting pieces of music on the album is the almost 14-minute epic title track ‘The Life Equation’. The song seems to comprise of various ideas that Akira the Don has had for songs and various rhymes which have been stitched together with music. Themes include drugs, Christianity, his daily routine and even the famous ‘mad as hell’ sound clip from the film Network. At 14 minutes, it’s quite a long hip hop track, but the constant flow of separate ideas keeps it fresh and interesting.

The album on the whole isn’t one to spin at a party in the background: it’s music to sit and listen to. The messages Akira the Don tries to deliver to the listener are obviously important to him these messages should be heard by all. There’s the odd weak spot on the LP, but ultimately it’s an album to listen and chill out to.


‘The Life Equation’ from Akira the Don will be released next Monday (16 May).

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