Review: Enny, ‘Under Twenty Five’

The debut EP by the South London rapper exhibits natural artistic prowess, leaving no room to doubt her talent or trajectory.

Enny’s 2020 ended on a real high. “Peng Black Girls” struck a cord with London communities, securing one of the best UK songs of the year. Accompanied by Jay-Z freestyles, a Colors appearance and a remix with Jorja Smith, Enny was now on your radar whether you were searching for new artists or not. Most importantly, it was a breath of fresh air; a sidestep from the roofing drill scene, and a moment of triumph for the alternative rap scene. Now her debut project, Under Twenty Five, arrives to display what else lies in store for Thamesmead’s shining star.

Under Twenty Five already displays musical maturation, focus on songwriting and supreme genre-blending from an artist who is only getting started.

The South London rapper’s debut EP exhibits exactly the templates needed to evolve the sound in mainstream UK rap. Long has the nation been yearning for a diverse palette, continuously shunning its underground and alternative artists to fend for themselves. Enny’s breakthrough waves a flag of hope for artists like herself. In its 7 tracks, Under Twenty Five plucks from hip hop, soul and gospel to share the vision Enny’s aiming for. She can flow but she can also sing. She can craft meticulous verses but equally nail catchy hooks. Backed by the production of Paya, there is consistent grooves to Enny’s songs, forever in matrimony with the sounds at play.

Its title references the social milestone of approaching that anxious quarter-century. Which is why Under Twenty Five finds a balance between enjoying your youth and being conscious that it’s crunch time. “I’m lost in the stew, I’m lost in a concept of fixing a brew / Identity crisis for me and my crew”, she raps on “I Want”, aware of this point in her life being a pivotal moment of self-discovery. But the same track carries the carefree aura of a 20-something that they should rightly possess. Already, you are understanding Enny and her feelings as a listener.

Identity is also explored on the silky “Malibu”, its chorus proclaiming she knows “Who I am” but also “Who I’ll be”. After a stellar verse by Kinkai, the gospel feel is on full show in Enny’s pristine vocals. The title track unpacks the ever-present feeling of not having your direction in life worked out at this stage (“Do I need it all together before turnin’ twenty-five?”). From the verses and hook, Enny transmits ambition to the listener, revoking any option of becoming stuck in a systemic cycle. The powerful “Keisha’s and Brenda’s” covers stigmas around sexual harassment, its title a reference to Kendrick Lamar’s “Keisha’s Song” and Tupac’s “Brenda’s Got a Baby”. In moments like this and “Peng Black Girls”, Enny masterfully covers key social topics while always maintaining musical heights.

Amongst the 21 minutes, it’s clear that Enny’s ceiling is far from breached. For a debut project, Under Twenty Five carries the aura of a rookie and a veteran, establishing Enny as a torchbearer for the ascension of the alternative UK scene. If Enny is yet to reach her potential, it is certainly around the corner.

8 / 10

Best tracks: “Malibu”, “Same Old”, “Under 25”, “Peng Black Girls”

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