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Essa - The Misadventures of a Middle Man
CD Album
Out Of Stock
Vinyl LP


The Misadventures of a Middle Man

First Word Records

Released: 2nd May 2014 | 12 track alternative rap/hip-hop album
  • Track used on Soccer Am | Sky Sports
  • BBC 6 Music - Support from Tom Ravenscroft and Huey Morgan
  • Kiss 100 - Support on Hip Hop Show
  • Rinse FM - Studio appearance Alex Nut Show
  • Bandcamp Home Page - New and Notable Records
  • Live Session for The Selector/British Council
  • Radio interviews with Itch FM, Kane FM and Fuse FM
  • Reviewed by Clash Music, DJ Magazine, Bonafide Magazine
  • Interviews with Wordplay Magazine, Raw Roots, K Mag
  • Video support: SB.TV, 1 Song A Day, UKHH, Grindin'

First Word Records proudly presents 'The Misadventures Of A Middle Man', the new album from Essa. Despite being a firm fixture in UK rap for over a decade, this will be Essa's first full-length since 2006's 'Grown Man Business' with DJ Mr Thing. Early releases 'Liquid Love', 'City Breaks' and 'Dancing Shoes' (under former name Yungun) established him as one of the UK's most insightful MCs. Collabs with Guru (Gang Starr/Jazzmatazz) and praise from Nas and Mark Ronson followed. All of this whilst pursuing a parallel career as an entertainment lawyer.

The collision of these two worlds, plus his mixed race heritage, are the inspiration for the new album, as Essa explains: I've always been a middle man - walking within widely different circles (racial, social, cultural, musical) but never quite feeling like I belong in any one of them. That's a gift and a curse - I've written about both.

Few MCs can convincingly tackle such weighty topics - 'The Middle Man' is a strikingly honest examination of mixed-race identity; 'Prayers of a Non-Believer asks what belief means to those without religion; 'Well Spoken' is a witty take on the class system - but Essa's laid-back charm and effortlessly smooth flow keep the tone light and entertaining. Not political, but personal. Not preachy, but perceptive. With an enviable roster of producers including Waajeed, Eric Lau, Tall Black Guy, Ta-Ku, Budgie and Flako, the musical backdrop reflects Essa's broad outlook, with elements of neo-soul, latin, afro-beat, electronica, spoken word and of course hip-hop. Essa sums it up neatly on key track 'The Middle Man':

When you stand in the middle there's a hell of a view, and all I want to do is share it with you

"One of the UK's most intelligent rappers"
The Independent
"Think Charles Dickens meets Common, but better."
"“Cheers for the record. Its diverse and a real step up. Will play!”"
Gilles Peterson, BBC 6 Music
"Played Well Spoken 18/04/14"
Huey Morgan, BBC 6 Music
"Played Nothing to Say 19/04/14"
Tom Ravenscroft, BBC 6 Music
"Studio Guest 26/04/14 - Performed Easy & Well Spoken"
Alexander Nut, Rinse FM
"New and Notable Records Homepage 06/5/14"