Skittles – Problematic
Words by Ant Christou
Liam Kelly AKA Skittles and his pet project Propatop return for their second release, and this time he’s taken a step back from the production to focus on his true love, speaking with passion into a microphone. Unlike the previous offering ‘Mr Song’, this avoids the halftime drum and bass sound and settles into the soulful hip-hop that Skittles can most often be found waxing lyrical over.
The beat is a delight, crafted by Ben Price and Bricky T Mortar, who in Liam’s words are ‘two other guys what play the instruments in the band and that.’ Shuffling drums meander along with a healthy dose of saxophone and a fresh warm sub holding it all together, and it’s very reminiscent of the live band he often plays with and took me soaring back to lovely memories seeing them perform in a barn at a local festival back home. The lyrics are what make this shine though and Liam takes us on an introspective look at the things he’s had to sacrifice to make the music he loves. Relationships take the centre stage and his words are tinged both with regret but also a conviction that the sacrifices he makes are necessary: ‘Though I see blurred through a tear, I hurt everybody dear to me, so I let nobody near, still I’m here.’ He looks back at the struggle to maintain something that’s slipping away and also lets us understand how despite that, his city, his legacy and his music are always going to end up victors.
It’s good stuff, and gels nicely with the style he set down as his foundation on his LP ‘Poor with £100 Trainers’ while also re-enforcing the fact that northern MCs are here to stay, his definitive vocal style and pronunciation working to wicked effect.
There’s a lot to like here and given the contrast to what preceded it, it’s exciting to look forward and see what’s to come with the next release on Propatop.
Problematic is out now on Propatop, and you can purchase it by clicking here.