His most intimate, personal release to date
Susan Hansen
13:51 17th August 2022

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Aitch’s long-awaited debut album comes at a time when the rapper finds himself at the top of his game. There's been international travel, he's toured the world, he's met new people and enjoyed the experience...but he also knows that Manchester will always be his true home. 

His debut represents Aitch’s most intimate, personal release to date. Truly inviting everyone in, this is a special place where he reveals things of significance. It is a release that digs deep, offering real emotion and insight. 

Called Close To Home for a reason, the record maps and explores Aitch's background, the city and the culture he grew up in, his family — everything that is close to him. It is an honest account that touches, while catering for those who are after rap that is full of confidence and skill too. 

Utilising an iconic sample of The Stone Roses’ ‘Fools Gold’, track ‘1989’ is a perfect example of a part of Aitch’s vision for this record, and you can’t help but think it should have been the opener: with attitude in abundance, it is a genuinely irresistible highlight. 

‘My G’ is a special moment too. The inclusion of a song about his sister (who has Down's Syndrome) shows the intimate element of this record. With a resonant, emotive chorus written by none other than Ed Sheeran, a unique moment is delivered. “Heart broke when I found out there's a hole in yours/Had me stressed out for weeks but I cope of course/No way you would have left us”.

Elsewhere, ‘R Kid’ has a fulfilling hook. Featuring friend and collaborator AJ Tracey, it is a breezy, catchy tune. The infectious ‘Baby’ with Ashanti nails the global pop banger category, then title track ‘Close To Home’ reflects on how things are changing for the artist, altering his outlook on some situations, while few things may have changed for his friends back home. 

The quality of Aitch’s debut shines through. An authentic young voice from Manchester, he knows how to articulate what’s relevant and important here and now, while also acknowledging the city’s cultural heritage. It is a winning formular that is likely to resonate, not just with his hometown, but with the rest of the world, too.

Close To Home arrives 19 August via Capitol.

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Photo: Press