“You took so long” are the opening lyrics from the song Leon, which totally describes the wait up to the release of Bebey. Theophilus London’s highly anticipated album Bebey dropped Friday, 6 years following his sophomore album “Vibes”. London had teased the release of Bebey back in 2018. Drafting Giggs and Tame Impala for now popular single releases. Only leaving us wanting more from the genre defying artist.
Until Friday I was listening to Theophilus back to back because he makes music for old souls. He portrays what it takes to be a young black rapper, and not follow the wave of pop rap sounds. That is what originally made me become a fan . London gave us “Flying Overseas”, the Rose Island mixtape and worked with Ye on his sophomore album. These were a key moments in his discography. A personal favourite moment was the All Day live performance at the Brit awards in 2015. The energy created that night ignited British press.
Theo wanted review’s for the single Bebey from “cute black girls that writes blogs and shit”. The whole album is a lovers mood, perfect for stepping into Valentines. The song Bebey in particular struck out. There’s just something about the way Giggs hops on, that is exciting, just like an uncle ready to bust his best move at the dance. Rewinding back to his Drake collaboration on More Life; his KMT verse left most Americans confused but only brew future UK and US collaboration in hip-hop/rap.
The lyric video was more iconic. London celebrates black hair, it’s safe to say the rapper himself hasn’t been shy experimenting with his own. As a black woman I know beauty is pain and time consuming. Capturing those moments from the perspective of a black male rapper, reinforces the normalisation of the process of getting black hair done. The embracement of black women at their most vulnerable shouldn’t be overlooked. Most rapper’s warp our characteristics in music videos, using hyper sexuality not allowing a different perspective of black women.
The calypso beat and layered vocals in “Leon” transmit the mood of the song. At first listen, if you close your eyes you can picture a retro yet futuristic themed Caribbean Coachella. In the crowd black poster hair styled women, are being chirpsed by men in Off-white cowboy boots, sipping Hennessy from coconuts.
There are a few bops that stand out, like Whiplash which could have been the theme song for American Horrors Story’s 9th season “1984”. London’s sound ranges from soul, rap, electro to R&B, where another one of my fave’s “Give You” dips into each of these genre’s. The song has a flirtatious feel good vibe. With the highlight of Gemaine’s vocals, who sounds like a mesh of Ginuwine and Lloyd. Ian Isiah’s vocals at the start of Pretty is kinda heavenly and is incredibly catchy.
The rest of the album is composed of singles that were successfully released from Summer 2018 – 2019 so for most of the album “you know what the fuck going on”. The order of the album is more cohesive and you’ll most likely be drawn to previous singles you weren’t feeling the sound of. Summer Theo thank you for your return to music.