Skengdo X AM – ‘Back Like We Never Left’ review: a triumphant comeback for the drill duo banned from performing

The Metropolitan Police aren't fans, but these young stars have reclaimed their place in UK drill with a versatile record that proves their status as big dogs in the genre

Their 2018 came to a turbulent conclusion, but Skengdo X AM have reignited their careers with this latest album. They never asked for the  title, but this south London duo have become pioneers in drill.  They don’t just works to counteract the public’s perceptions of the genre, but also those the police, who stifle their freedom of speech: they were indicted with a suspended sentence for allegedly breaching a gang injunction charge at a gig last year, And with everyone’s eyes on them, they’ve now delivered a triumphant record.

There are two different sides to Skengdo X AM: their renowned, cocksure drill – and a softer, melodic side. Out the gate, they show off over hefty drill beats, full of clashing piano notes and 808s . They follow up in their abrasive style, the duo showing off vivid metaphors on ‘No Shade’. They hit every beat on the classic UK drill track, letting their lyrical abilities shine.

‘No Shade’ espouses a positive sentiment, as Skengdo begins his verse off, “Little man stay in colly / Choose the wrong path, you’re dead man, probably“. The sentiment may be about the hard gang life he comes from, but Skengdo’s warning to young listeners offers a glimpse of hope and light .

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However, on the afro-swing closing track, ‘Brixton Boy‘, the duo rep their ends with Sneakbo, as these Brixton boys rap about their lifestyles. Featuring Lagos-based singer Oxlade’s catchy vocals, this danceable – and very different, for them º track shows the melodic side of drill that is often lesser explored. Proving their versatility once again, the slower ‘Tugg‘ sees AM croon over the spacious beat as he and Skengdo weave a thug’s love song: “Babygirl, come with wine with a thug, ay, ay-yeah”.

Merging aggressive drill tunes with R&B notes, Skengdo X AM show their ability to rise to the occasion. Working around police charges, they prove that drill’s big dogs can’t be held down, and if this is how they came back to the rap game, then they’ll be wrecking the scene for the years to come.

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Details

  • Release Date: October 4
  • Record Label: MOVES Recordings
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