Hak Baker – ‘World’s End FM’ review: live and direct from the edge of the apocalypse

With appearances from Kurupt FM's MC Grindah and Connie Constance, Baker's songwriting doesn’t lose its intoxicating touch on his debut

Hak Baker calls himself the ‘three island man’ – his mother was born in Jamaica, his father in Grenada, and himself on east London’s Isle of Dogs. On his intoxicating debut album ‘World’s End FM’ – presented as a pirate radio broadcast transmitting from the edge of the apocalypse – the Londoner brings all these perspectives together for a record that aims to provide a comprehensive portrait of the artist’s journey so far.

Since emerging in 2017, Baker has dipped into ska, reggae and punk, though his MC beginnings still permeate the energy of the music he makes today. Over the last year, he has supported The LibertinesPete Doherty at the Royal Albert Hall and will link up with Jamie T at his huge Finsbury Park gig this month (June 30), while Skepta and Celeste also consider themselves fans.

The significant jumps between genres and energies on ‘World’s End FM’ sometimes make the album feel unfocused and erratic, but it also feels true to both Baker’s cultural and musical backgrounds. On single ‘Doolally’, he sounds like a cockney Mike Skinner, throwing out observational quips and guiding the listener through a messy London night out with the same brilliant nonchalance as classic-era Streets. A minute later, he’s swapping dirty beats for breezy acoustic guitar and singing passionately of the abandoned Windrush generation (‘Windrush Baby’).


On ‘Windrush Baby’, he plays the role of traditional protest singer well, before bringing his gaze towards the technological age on ‘Telephones 4 Eyes’, a song that feels suitably itchy and anxious as he discusses the invasive role of smartphones. The sentiment is nothing new, but it’s the clear agitation with which he sings that makes the message cut through.

While all sides of both Baker’s taste and upbringing feel represented here, the overarching concept of ‘World’s End FM’ could be carried through a little more cohesively. Across the album, artists from Baker’s universe call in to the radio station to chat with him. Kurupt FM leader MC Grindah spits over a reggae/d’n’b hybrid on ‘Babylon Must Fall’, before indie star Connie Constance has a bone to pick with people stuck with their heads in their phones on Watford high street (‘Watford’s Burning’). Between these small interludes though, the concept feels, at times, lost.

While ‘World’s End FM’ itself falls an inch short of its lofty conceptual goals, it does successfully introduce Hak Baker as a 21st Century troubadour speaking to modern problems with empathy and requisite anger.


  • Release date: June 9
  • Record label: Hak Attack Records

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