An artist like Guvna B, a double-MOBO award winner who still has everything to play for but firmly keeps his eye on the truth of the world, rather than opting to take a road more popularly travelled, is a rarity.
“I thought the faith I had was in all in vain”; throughout words so filled to the brim with honesty and self-reflection that could easily have stayed internalised, but instead appear front and centre on “Bittersweet”, everywhere + nowhere shows the journey to this point has been one that has been a test on every level.
A gospel rapper by nature, while moments can appear more relevant to a grander society, when phrases such as “I don’t know what the future holds / but I know who holds the future so I’m good to go” appear, Guvna is always putting his faith front-facing. Much like his peers, the Christian faith is dear to who they are and helps them front the struggles they face and they refuse to sugar-coat any references.
But it's the wider cuts, such as single “Cushty”, a celebration of the forward motions black culture is making, away from the incorrectly normative stereotypes that have plagued for decades; “‘Sis just got in Cambridge / bros in Oxford’ Yeah G more of that!”, Guvna asserts.
Even using a sample of a Sky News interview he was asked to participate in from last year to contextualise “Mazza”, the fine balance of emotion and fact keeps the propelling rhythm of his rhetoric spotlighting the societal state is damn near perfect.
The impetus with which these three heavy-hitters come balling in gives such weight to Guvna B’s cause that you almost forget to listen to the beats giving life and rhythm to the subject matter.
Throughout, dark undertones shadow the brushing and pounding beats, thundering forward, taking hold of every piece of sonic space available. Occasionally making way for more tender moments, the fight never wanes but it does encourage space for a heightened sincerity. When the beats fall away to a delicate piano line, with accompanying backing vocals (“Fall Away”), it all moves to an emotional cadence enough to elevate the heart-on-sleeve messages to higher levels.
Even a spot of jazz makes the cut (“These Are The Days”), giving wind to influences from near and far, no stone is left unturned on Guvna’s journey to preach his gospel. Even guest spots are perfectly positioned, never taking away from the central purpose, Wretch 32 coming in on “Fall Away” to add some reflection as opposed to a focal point.
But the true soul of everywhere + nowhere appears when Guvna speaks of his transgressions and the pitfalls that being in environments that both encourage the religious mindset but fall to the harsher truth of urban life, as documented on "Safe Place". Recognising these moments as education, and not herculean tasks that follow forever is where the wisened Guvna shines.
Truly, in its complete form, everywhere + nowhere is a series of lessons pulling from nowhere but the bottom of Guvna B's heart and soul. Ones made to open eyes, minds and hearts alike, all with a motive of peace and understanding, no bar is used to push Guvna to a hubristic level, but to keep channelling the same cause for good he always has, and it's precisely this which makes him a truly unique, and consistent, artist.