Chuck Inglish - Convertibles

So secure in its foundations yet still so out of place.

Label: Federal Prism

Rating:

Stepping out of acclaimed duo The Cool Kids, Chuck Inglish delivers a solo debut to slot nicely into the shelf of mass appeal rap alongside Macklemore and go kart larker, Asher Roth. There’s definitely not a Yeezus level of abrasion or the haunting harrowing tales of the likes of Kendrick Lamar as Inglish creates an atmosphere the Fresh Prince of Bel Air could breathe deep in. Retro, hook-led and unashamedly showy ‘Convertibles’ lives up to its name as a fun Sunday drive but without the power or substance to tackle any tougher terrain.

As most rap albums do, Inglish brings a high quality stable of guests with hotly tipped rappers, Vic Mensa, Mac Miller, Ab-Soul and Chance The Rapper all taking duties on the mic. The leftfield inclusion is sleazy electro duo, Chromeo, who lend their irresistible electro sheen to ‘Legs’. Chuck lays out his preferred attributes in the opposite sex with “She gotta have legs”, which surely leaves most women in the running. The album shines brightest with ‘Came Thru Easily’ which sees the seamless rotation of Chuck, Mac Miller and Ab-Soul against a simple “yo, yo yo” sample. Lyrically, ‘Convertibles’, doesn’t often tread new ground, mostly choosing to shuffle around on long-dead grass of bravado and the perks and pitfalls of female attention. As Action Bronson joins Inglish on ‘Game Time’ the difference in the personas becomes all too obvious, Bronson pushing a high intensity flow against Chuck’s largely one-paced delivery.

All things considered Chuck Inglish hasn’t offered enough that’s new or high quality enough to truly make a mark. Without slipping into reverse or stalling, the album never makes it beyond third gear, with safe choices, tested patterns and throwback flourishes proving the order of the day. At no point is it sub-standard, but it has the misfortune of existing in a space which is seeing the ‘standard’ constantly pulled apart. While many major rap artists are innovating with a swagger only they possess, Chuck Inglish is presenting something that is so secure in its foundations yet still so out of place. Neither going big, nor going home, Inglish is instead circling in the Convertible, just hoping to find some legs.