Today, September 15th, Slowthai released his new single Feel Away on all major platforms. The track, featuring James Blake and Mount Kimbie, is a tribute to his younger brother who died of muscular dystrophy when Slowthai was eight.
Yesterday Slowthai took to Instagram to commemorate his brothers passing, writing: ‘today is the anniversary of my baby brothers passing. This is one of the biggest days of the year for me and my family, and with my whole heart I can say I’ve never missed anyone as much as I miss him’.
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today is the anniversary of my baby brothers passing. this is one of the biggest days of the year for me and my family, and with my whole heart I can say I’ve never missed anyone as much as I miss him, I know you’re looking down on us everyday with your smile. i’m doing everything in my power to live for him and also make him proud… tomorrow i’m dropping a song featuring @jamesblake + @mountkimbie called ‘feel away’ and i’m dedicating it to my little brother Michael John. rest in paradise little brother I love you more than life itself
Slowthai, whose real name is Tyron Frampton, grew up on an estate in the outskirts of Northampton. He describes his childhood varyingly, speaking of anger management issues and an absent father but also of a loving mother and a housing community that felt ‘like a big family’.
One thing for certain is that Slowthai’s deep-rooted connection with Northampton is a thread which runs through both through his personal life and his music. He is still based in the midlands town, stating that living there keeps him ‘grounded’ and also hinting at a dislike for the London-centric nature of the music industry.
Despite this love for Northampton, Slowthai’s feelings toward Britain on the whole are pretty negative. In his 2019 debut album, Nothing Great About Britain, he examines what it is to be British with lyrical intelligence and instrumental texture. The album is a punk-rap triumph, reminiscent of the Sex Pistol’s 1977 hit God Save the Queen.
At the end of the title track, Slowthai imitates Prince Philip, asking the Queen to ‘respect him’ and finishing with the words ‘Elizabeth, you c***’. In his 2018 breakthrough track Tea n Biscuits, Slowthai dispels any ‘quaint…old fashioned ideas you might have about the UK’s countryside.’
It is Slowthai’s realness about the state of England that has earned him two NME awards this year and countless collaborations with established British musicians like the Gorillaz, Mura Masa and Disclosure. He is expressing a disenchantment that most young Britons feel in the wake of Brexit and three back to back Tory governments.
Slowthai’s new song, however, is not about politics but about relationships. He has shed his usual shouting vocals for a more subdued tone, singing in the chorus: ‘It’s not you// so I guess it’s me’. Mount Kimbie’s beat is hypnotic and James Blake’s voice gives the voice a soothing feel. Slowthai is going in a new direction, and proving himself a versatile musician worthy of his accolades.