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Working in his laboratory to perfect his musical formula, the singer “ForMula” expresses his desire to pursue fame and riches within his stage-name alone; you could even say he is creating music for the money, or ‘for-the-mula’. There is a popular trend in urban music for artists to express the quest for money in their names, whether outright incorporating a currency such as TY Dolla $ign. There is a reference to money, also in the lyrics, and I believe this sort of reference doesn’t necessarily come from a vulgar place, which some people may believe. To me, the use of these words try to depict the struggle the individual themselves have gone through, something they have observed or are striving for. Often in subtle and brash ways artists refer to difficult circumstances in their music, financial, romance or other, they try to tell a story. I admit this storytelling isn’t always done in a polite manner, but life doesn’t treat most of us politely. ForMula treads the tightrope carefully, and incorporates some adult themes that you would expect in urban music.

ForMula has a tendency to tell stories about romantic interactions, not in a Shakespearian sense of romance, but he sings about a mixture of casual encounters, money and drugs.  This is a popular format amongst urban music listeners, mainly because it doesn’t shy away from the illicit subjects, and as vices are a common part of most of our lives in some way, they shouldn’t be ignored. Urban music has the power to address these subjects in an uplifting manner, not just through the eyes of an observer, but also through a musical re-enactment of this reality. That being said, I suspect his name as well as his music will emit a sense of collective understanding to his listeners; his songs are catchy and likable, and he covers several subgenres of the urban style, ranging form; my favourite of his songs ‘Bumpa Round’ that has a distinctive afro-swing vibe, with lyrics that compliment the dance rhythm, we could be incorporated seamlessly into a nightclub playlist, to ‘Wine & Dine’ that echoes a sound similar to that of the UK grime scene. His song entitled ‘Time’ on the other hand as a smooth and softly, and lazily sung rhythm and blues feels, and then he jumps a distance to ‘Forever’ which is a fast-paced, ‘shot’s fired’ rap.

With the genre experimentation in the early series of songs, I get the impression that ForMula is trying to establish the direction his sound should head by covering the urban genre as a whole. I think he has tackled each genre brilliantly well, and his music diversity in the early stage of his career aims to give broad appeal. Perhaps as a means to attract listeners from a broad range of forms within urban music, similarly seen in the early albums of many other artists that have shot to fame. For me, I see ForMula’s future success coming from attacking one specific style aggressively, or merging the styles into one unique montage and owning that space. Drake for example in his album ‘More Life’, the ‘No Long Talk’ featuring Giggs, is arguably one of two songs were rappers successfully bridge American hip-hop and UK drill with a profound result. The other is Sketpa’s grimy chorus in A$AP Rocky’s ‘Praise the Lord’, and so the next objective for ForMula could be to get himself on stage with an up and coming UK artist, perhaps creating another afro-swing tune or an intense hop-hop tune but with a catchy chorus provided by a grime artist? At this stage to possibilities are endless thanks for ForMula’s ability to delve into a range of styles, he is definitely one to watch.

Words Oly Hamilton

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