Rejjie Snow’s follow up to his 2018 debut, puts the rapper firmly in a world of his own, as the approach to the tricky second album is tackled.
Baw Baw Black Sheep follows a three year pause, punctuated by the release of four new album singles as well as the birth of his daughter, as Rejjie Snow (real name Alexander Anyaegbunam) returns with a record so laid back it is best appreciated horizontal.
The Irish born rapper delivers 14 new tracks which build on the accomplishments of his 2018 studio album debut, Dear Annie, particularly in terms of flow and technique.
The album is notably laced with the influence of drugs. From the cocaine induced ‘Oreos’ to the jazzy hallucinations provided by ‘Mirrors’, Anyaegbunam admitted much of the album was written two months following the consumption “a lot of of shrooms”. But it was also the consumption of confectionary that influenced the album. Anyaegbunam expressed his desire for the album to be seen as a kind of ‘un-official’ soundtrack to his favourite childhood film, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. Baw Baw Black Sheep is a self-proclaimed attempt at “making a short film through music”, as Anyaegbunam leads the listener through a journey which follows his protagonist to fame, highlighted in closing tracks ‘Star In The Making’ and ‘Shooting Star’.
The record features vocals from a variety of artists, including Cam O’Bi, Tinashe, and the late MF DOOM. The latter appears on album highlight and early single, ‘Cookie Chips’ which along with the jazz influenced ‘Disco Pantz’ brings positivity and colour to a record which nearly suffocates with mellowness.
In the mellow moments Rejjie Snow still finds room for playfulness, best demonstrated in the Chance-The-Rapper-influenced ‘Grateful’. Anyaegbunam allows room for self exploration on the album too, as he reflects on what it means to be both an Irish rapper and a part of the country’s small Irish-African minority.
Baw Baw Black Sheep is more than just a Willy Wonka themed trip. If you search hard enough there are moments of honest self reflection. These moments can be disguised in the overwhelming chill which haunts the album and can obscure their importance. It is left to the listener to decide on how to enter into Rejjie Snow’s world of pure imagination.