Jim Legxacy – ‘HNPM’ review: a distinctly unique and thrilling listen

This ambitious new mixtape sees the enigmatic star bend a mix of emo, Afropop, hip-hop and club beat styles to his off-kilter will

Late last year, south London artist Jim Legxacy’s song ‘dj’ stunned with a junction of influences and a tale about an abandoned promise. His Tracy Chapman-like voice paired with a sulky Midwest emo guitar sounds heavenly, and then a pirate radio sample cuts an outline of a rhythm before pushing into an Afrobeats and UK garage hybrid. It somehow fits into one of the most affecting laments for a broken relationship in recent memory.

The NME 100 star’s new mixtape ‘HNPM’ perfects this singular formula, bringing together a patchwork of emo guitar, teen pop nostalgia, rap and and a dice roll of Afropop, hip-hop and club beat styles. It’s an unusual set of influences that meet with no compromise and yet somehow still hit it off. Imagine the Get Up Kids, Headie One and Dexter blended with the mystifying shyness of Jai Paul.

Lyrically, these songs read like the tear-stained diary of an angst-riddled teenager: often addressed to an ex, hopelessly dissecting where things went wrong and pining for her to take him back. On ‘Mileys Riddim’, he chops up and duets with Hannah Montana’s ‘Ordinary Girl’ before the two meet at the line, “The things that seem so simple / you always take those moments for granted”. Ordinarily, this lyric could read as a track-extinguishing cliché, but Legxacy’s voice is a trembling outpour you’ll never become numb to.


Even the most uplifting moments on ‘HNPM’ conceal a deeper desire to find comfort. ‘Ur Marges Crib’ soars with a distant female vocal chop and jubilant saturated bass stomps. Legxacy freestyles over it, leaving no pause between the next line, as though he’s confiding in you with his eyes wet and brain racing a thousand thoughts. “Guess it was too much for us to stick around,” he shrugs.

The mixtape’s few straight rap cuts deliver his story in sober but eloquent words. The title track cruises in psychedelic hip-hop glamour as he raps about music being his guiding light, even if hardship previously prevented him from fully pursuing it. “You might end up moving weight to put pounds in your palms like bodybuilders / I’ve seen that picture”, he spits with both a passion and bleakness in his voice. More than that, the track is also a tribute to Dizzee Rascal, who seems to be a hero to Legxacy. In his 2004 song ‘Imagine’, Rascal ponders how people would react if he “found another way of getting dough without doing dirt.” Legxacy reacts to this in a boundary-breaking way.


  • Release date: April 26
  • Record label: Independent



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