Shizzio – “I Swear (Kasam Khuda Di)” (Featuring Tigerstyle)

Bhangra, Grime, Hindi, Hip Hop, Rap, UK Asian

Score: 6.3

Whilst it would have been a trillion times more fun if this had been Shizzio covering “I Swear” by All-4-One, this is actually a collaboration with Scottish producers Tigerstyle (a genuinely talented duo that hits more often than they miss). It is fair to call it that since Shizzio only spits one verse, and the rest of this short, sharp number is dominated by an electric guitar, Arabian strings and someone singing “Kasam Khuda Di” (with the guitar in particular harking back to Kano’s “Typical Me”). It has strengths and weaknesses, but many of them are subjective. For instance, the first half of Shizzio’s verse is pretty terrible, then he explodes into life. His voice will grate traditional bhangra fans, but the more you hear it, the better it becomes. He is explicit, using phrases like “suck my cock” – this never tends to translate well, with very few Asian rappers successfully using expletives (in the manner of Blitzkrieg or Jesal) without alienating a prudish audience. Shizzio is an ultra-masculine, old school rapper: he’s strong, charismatic, hypocritical, obscene, talented. Unfortunately, he’s arrived 5 years too late, as the new school of rappers are much more moderate, pander to the ladies and are much keener for radio play. Shizzio has talent, but we predict he will be swimming upstream for a while yet.

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