Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Central Cee brings the number 23 out of retirement to prove a point with his new mixtape

Release date: 25 February 2022
Central Cee 23
25 February 2022, 10:05 Written by PJ Somervelle
Currently one of the most recognisable UK artists on the world stage and having mastered the means of communicating his music to the masses, Central Cee returns with 23, a quick-on-the-draw follow up to his breakout mixtape, Wild West.

He might have been around for longer than people think, but the latest embodiment of Central Cee was arguably one of the biggest breakthrough acts of 2021. One track heavier than Wild West, Central Cee’s 23 is the next stage in his smoothing of the gritty UK drill tradition, bridging culture, class, countries and running rampant on every online social platform available. An immortalised number in competitive sport as well as Cee’s age, 23 aims to surpass any expectations (or criticism) for this young talent from West London.

Central Cee’s musical diplomacy can be found on the aptly named “Eurovision” which features a seismic wave of European talent. Born out of relationships that he has cultivated over the last couple of years, the track offers a darker take on Cee’s more palatable blend of UK Drill. Accompanied by the inimitable aggressive enunciation of Rondodadosa and the cosmopolitan voices of Spain, Italy and France’s heavy hitters of rap: Baby Gang, Morad, Benny Jr, ASHE as well as rapper A2Anti from Cee’s own neck of the woods, this is an international showcase you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

Cycling through the rapid bursts of tracks, many lasting only a couple of minutes and four of the 15 songs lasting less than two, it’s clear that this is fast music for the TikTok/streaming generation. While some may state this approach lacks substance, Cee and his team are keen to ensure that the message still rings true. Standout tracks on the mixtape include the fan-favourite “Obsessed With You”, using the queen of viral short-songs PinkPantheress’ “Just For Me”, and the more introspective “Cold Shoulder”, but the last two tracks demonstrate just how much potential we are yet to see from Central Cee.

“Lil Bro”, is a musical dialogue between Cee and Lil Bro. The pair’s conversation covers the ups and downs of the fame game, misconceptions and dangers, and the advice from the more seasoned Cee to his ‘lil bro’: “it’s London city / not Compton.” With the final track “End Of The Beginning”, Central Cee breaks the mould of his present discography and raps over production more akin to the modern trap infusion the UK knows well, where voice notes from people in his close circle echo that “patience is a virtue” and how he might retire to the countryside once he’s achieved all his success. “I’ll do a lot more this year,” the artist promises.

While the subject matter and approach to his music remains largely consistent with Wild West, it’s clear that Central Cee will keep his foot firmly on the accelerator this year delivering moment after moment keeping the attention of the public and the industry firmly on his next move.

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