Nottingham based C-Mone releases her fourth album ‘Herstory The Autobiography‘ on independent imprint Dark Whisper Records, a wonderfully minimalistic offering that leans heavily on the lyrical merit of the self proclaimed ‘undisputed Queen of UK Hip Hop’. The beats, in many cases are stripped completely back to allow the words to breathe and sit with the listener for contemplation. This is clearly a very personal piece, described as an “an epic journey throughout my life, on tracks”, with tributes to both parents, a nostalgic journey through her childhood years, a little vitriol for an ex-partner, new beginnings and self-betterment through academia. It is entirely produced by long term collaborator Barbie Analogue, although the beatwork does come secondary to the wordplay but there are some interesting ideas here. We previously caught up with the Out Da Ville veteran, whilst writing the 25 year restrospective article about her in 2020, where she named two planned projects (at the time); “Knock, Knock”, a comedy hip hop album inspired by legends like Dawn French, released earlier this year and this one. There is obviously a lot of History here but how was Herstory? We had a listen..
The album opens with ‘Once Upon A Time’, a fond look back at a childhood lived and some early memories, layered over an almost metronomic beat. A standout track early on in the album is ‘Music’, which has a nice synthwave soundscape, electronic samples mix over steady beats and lyrics like “I’m that Mike Skinner chick” (a reference to her work on The Streets ‘A Grand Don’t Come for Free’ album) and “Hip Hop is my element” get laced throughout. ‘Cinderella’ has a harder sound, using similar synthy samples and some snappy soliloquies (try saying that five times!). The production picks up pace on ‘Operation X’, C-Mone moves up gears with double time bars and nicley placed thoughtful pauses, a decent hook and an overall ethereal feel, the beat on ‘War’ is fairly punchy also, it’s worth a listen. The album ends on an uplifting number ‘Most Educated’, which has some warm keys and gentle cymbals, lyrics that encourage the listener to educate themselves and go to University, setting their sites high and describing her experience of a mature student as ‘enriching and a blessing, it’s not only the topics you study but you learn a lot about yourself. You can achieve much more, it is a wonderful experience where you can meet amazing people’, couldn’t have said it any better if I worked for the LEA.
This is an interesting piece of work, great wordplay although some of the hooks didn’t work for me, but overall this is a quick burst of lightning from the seasoned journeywoman, I want to see more of this from C-Mone as she has a long tenure and can produce quite the fiery dissertation.
‘Herstory The Autobiography’ is out on all digital channels, grab your copy now.
As always, these are just my opinons but what did you think of ‘Herstory’?
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Words by Theo Specone
Photography credit: Damian Brown