It’s always exciting to hear when an artist with potential links with key people to elevate their sound. With Polaris, Manchester-bred rapper Aitch has found the energy that highlights him at his best. At eight tracks and a little over 20 minutes, the project hits the perfect runtime to garner repeat listens in its entirety without any one song straying too far from what works at its peak level.
Catapulting off a wave of success on the charts in the UK, as well as a critical feature on Stormzy’s massive Heavy Is The Head album, Aitch began working with a few elite American producers. Before the release of Polaris, Aitch released “Rain,” featuring AJ Tracey produced by Memphis maestro Tay Keith. The track serves as the closer on the project and is a perfect statement of Aitch’s new tone. Keith delivers his now-signature bounce with hard street piano. Aitch on this track leans into where his voice and flow excel. It may be the most intricate flow we have heard from him, yet he floats over the production and holds his own with another of UK raps top rappers. Aitch mid-verse switches his flow as the beat drops out with the bar, “Said I’m too young, and my game’s all talk, but she got buss down like AJ’s chain.” The delivery on this bar can only make you exclaim, “PHEW!”
Aitch opens the tape with a one-two punch of tracks produced by of the most well rounded American producers Kenny Beats. Kenny’s strength is diving into an artist’s style and bringing the absolute best out of them with his interpretation of their genre’s sound. He does this live in his YouTube show The Cave for rappers from every lane. As the first beat comes in, we hear Kenny in his UK drill bag. Whatever the string sample is, mixed with the minimal yet effective bounce, leaves the perfect space for Aitch to relax into a flow that makes it impossible not to listen to what the rest of the tape has to offer. Then Kenny comes right back with another heater in track 2. “Zombie” has a Neptune’s percussion feel with a driving horn sample. The beat creates a new pocket that holds Aitch’s flow like a baseball in a catcher’s glove.
The standout of Polaris is “Triggered.” The Sykes and Nastylgia production flips a Destiny’s Child “Bills, Bills, Bills” sample into a beat you wish Pop Smoke was alive to feature on for a remix. Whoever got that sample approved deserves a raise. Aitch absolutely kills it, rapping smoothly about his new perspective in the limelight, “Used to run late for the bus, but now I just run on the stage and kill it. And I see a lotta man start switchin’, bare fake love gonna get man triggered.” Aitch cleverly links his own nostalgia for his life before fame with our immediate nostalgia upon hearing Destiny’s Child. This one should be on every playlist.
By expanding his production crew and sample reach, Aitch could easily connect more with an American audience. With UK rap being heralded more and more by the day in the states, it’s only a matter of time before a UK rapper blows up on the charts in the states. Aitch proves with Polaris he may have that potential.