Henok Achido first entered the spotlight in 2001 when he featured on the group Fattaru’s debut single “Mina hundar”. Henok, who stood out with his fast rap and different flow, joined Fattaru on their tour through Scandinavia. It looked like he had a bright future in hip hop, but instead of riding on the hype he chose to take a step away from the spotlight to work further on his skills.
Nothing new was to be heard from him until 2007 when he released “That Fucking Guy EP” for free through his homepage. The EP was well received and he quickly gained a reputation as one of the most promising rappers on the Swedish scene.
Two years after his return to the spotlight the debut album is finally here. Henok has managed to build an incredible hype around this album and he even gained the attention of some of the biggest hip hop blogs in the world, like NahRight and RealTalkNY. Because of this my expectations were set very high when I received the album. To my big relief he manages to meet these expectations and delivers confident lyrics with an amazing flow.
The electro-wave that is currently taking Sweden (and hip hop in general it seems) is also present on the album, but instead of club-friendly disco the sound on Almaz Charming Child is instead rather dark and dystopic. The beats and, for such a large group of producers, the surprisingly held-together sound of the album is produced by some of Swedens most talented producers such as DJ Large, Filthy, Astma and Michel Rocwell.
The very frequently used auto-tune effect can also be found on the album, and is used on the dark track “Heartbreak Hotel” which is reminiscing to the sound on Kanye West’s latest album. But whereas Kanye, according to me, uses auto-tune to the point where it’s unbearable to listen to Henok manages to make it almost seamlessly float into the sound and lift the song.
Everything about Almaz Charming Child isn’t great though. Because even if he has a flow that can lift an otherwise mediocre song and he has some of Swedens most talented producers featured on the album I can’t help feeling that the lyrics are a bit repetitive after a while. There’s to many lyrics about his own greatness and to few lyrics with a bit of depth. Henok’s got swagger that some only dream about and because of this he shouldn’t have to tell you that in so many of the songs. It’s in the songs with a deeper meaning he really shines and shows you what a talented artist he really is. Like on the powerful track “High On Life (When The Drugs Don’t Work)” where the beat is scaled down in favor for his voice and lyrics, which reflects what I wished there was more of on this album:
“It seems like everybody loves my flow, but what’s a flow without a heart, I must touch your soul”
Despite all this, Almaz Charming Child is a very strong album which undoubtedly lives up to the hype and will follow me throughout the year!
A swedish version of this review (which is slightly longer) is avaliable through the Whoa Blog!