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This debut record by The Mancunian shows progress, and goes beyond slapping in the lives of the dumb and young.

People have been aware of the what Aitch has to offer. He’s always smiled on his face that is in line with his confident, clear image. Since his breakthrough in 2018 in the music industry, he’s scored eight top 10 singles, and released two projects such as Aitch2O as well as Polaris. In the course of his rise, the music has been predictable. He’s conscious of this. In an interview in the year 2000 the actor said “People were hooked on me being that cheeky boy, but how long before that gets boring?”

Aitch carefully takes a step away from the popular recordsand delivers an album of solid quality that will convince the doubters.

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“Close To Home” is a tribute to Aitch’s hometown of Manchester. Aitch is here to say that he remains rooted to his roots despite the popularity. The concept isn’t necessarily followed throughout the entire album however it is present throughout. The album is the effort to not mix together a collection of predictable tracks, but to create the perfect atmosphere that you expect from an album made in studio. “Ain’t no leaders where I’m from, I gotta fly the flag” Aitch sings on the edgy first track “BelgraveRoad_1”, one of several tracks on which Aitch puts his soul on his sleeve.

Through the 16 track, Aitch takes himself seriously as a musician and rapper. The subject matter is centered in a way that he can pick topics that are about the subject of fame, love and family. The artist surprises us with tracks like “Sunshine” and “In Sunshine” which have an alternative edge in guestlist and production; you are able to believe that these songs might have been the work of Loyle Carner, or Joe James. This is a great selection for an artist who was straight into the popular lane.

However, Aitch is still looking forward to having fun with his fans. Tracks such as “Fuego”, “Baby” and “The Palm” take Close to Home back to the world of gold and glitter. Although they contain some elements of cringe, their hooks and production are undoubtedly appealing and well-divided across the tracks. It’s a relief to know that there are only five tracks that are similar to this; enough to be of music that is digestible.

Close To Home shines brightest in its moments of sentiment. It’s the title track the place where Aitch showcases his talents to the fullest extent by exposing his songwriting over the album’s finest track and beat. It’s not only one of his best songs but it’s also a standout among UK hip-hop in 2022. The intensity of the song is evident in “My G”, the Ed Sheeran collaboration that is dedicated to the younger sister of Aitch who suffers from Down’s syndrome. It’s the most honest album of his career marking an album that cuts through his layers and reveals Aitch beyond the drinking and sexual assault.

“Close to Home” illustrates that Aitch is not just an individual artist. He’s finally become a human being by enhancing his traits enough to create an unforgettable debut album that’s aware of his musical development.

7 / 10

Top tracks:“Close to Home”, “Sunshine”, “In Disguise”, “My G”