EP Review: Shakka – Lost Boys

Shakka is a MOBO award winning R&B/Soul singer born and raised in London with a talent for songwriting in a cinematic way similar to the likes of Frank Ocean. I first heard of Shakka as the feature on Wretch 32’s single ‘Blackout’, on which I found him to be mediocre at best (don’t shoot me that’s just my opinion). At this point I didn’t think much of him, but then he resurfaced late 2014 with a remix of Ten Walls’ ‘Walking With Elephants’, which did nothing less than blow me away. Using the traction of that song, Shakka created a foundation for a successful year, which saw him release ‘Say Nada’ and the ‘Say Nada Remix feat. JME.’ Shortly after receiving his first MOBO as best R&B/Soul act, Shakka has released his Lost Boys EP.

When I realised this was a concept EP I wasn’t necessarily excited. While a good concept album with great skits can make for an awesome listening experience such as Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, m.A.A.d City or Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange, a concept album with skits just for the sake of it can be cringey. Upon first listen this was the case. I felt like the skits wasted time and I just wanted to skip them and get to the music. However, upon the second, third and fourth listen I began to see the vital role they played and began to quite enjoy them.

The Lost Boys EP is set in a dystopian London where Music is banned hormones are suppressed and there are no girls. Shakka plays the main character that decides to stop taking his ‘meds’ and begins to realise the dystopian world he is living in and realises he has to escape.

Musically this EP is great. Shakka’s vocals are flawless and unique. Also the way he sings is so London, and I feel like this is something missing from the UK scene as still, to this day a lot of UK singers tend to sound like their American counterparts.

“Shakka has a cheeky way of writing lyrics and has a way of making you chuckle while you vibe to his music”

The production on this project is varied and interesting with some drum and bass inspired tracks like ‘Intro’, R&B tracks with dubstep influences  such as ‘You Don’t Know What You Do to Me”’and soulful tracks like ‘Read My Mind’ and ‘Hearts Don’t Lie’  which features the smoothest verse from Wretch 32. Also the mastering on this project is imaginative. I especially like the way Shakka’s heartbeat merges into the kick drum for the song following the skit.

Lyrically the project is brilliant. Shakka has a cheeky way of writing lyrics and has a way of making you chuckle while you vibe to his music. Lines like “I see her smile at dirty lines and jokes, I catch you laugh at people when they fall,” and “my ex left saying she ain’t got the time yo, I double take and pray the e-mail was a typo, called my mate and he’s in the same life boat, the same day his was cheating with a shite bloke come on now, that’s kinda peak! Nice guys should keep all of their receipts.”

Also the way his songwriting blends with the production Shakka is able to create cinematic experiences. The guitar riff from Say Nada along with a charismatic performance by Shakka captures the essence of going on a night out while ‘You Don’t Know What You Do to Me’ captures the essence of meeting a love interest for the first time.

I thoroughly enjoyed this project and would recommend anyone to at least give it a listen.

Joshua Ogunmokun

Currently listening to ‘What Do You Mean’ by Youngs Teflon

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Co-Editor of the Music Section at University of Nottingham's IMPACT Magazine.

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