Editors’ Notes The UK hip-hop pioneer presents his powerful state of the nation address. Where once his arresting, twisting rhymes would focus on personal hardships, now tracks like “Hard Bastards” and “One Thing” present class polemics dressed up as bangers. His sixth album is unrelenting stuff—the disturbing “Crying” literally cuts up the wails of women and children for its chorus—and it’s thrilling to hear the 42-year-old so turbo-charged with purpose. There are more easygoing moments (“Don’t Breathe Out” combines a Barry White sample with a mindful flow) but this is his darkest, most vital work to date.

SONG
Hard Bastards
1
5:18
 
Crying
2
3:03
 
Facety 2:11
3
2:43
 
Don’t Breathe Out
4
3:20
 
Cargo
5
4:15
 
Stepping Hard
6
5:19
 
Me Up!
7
3:46
 
One Thing
8
3:48
 
I Know Your Face
9
5:22
 
Fighting For?
10
3:46
 
Knee-Jerk (Japanese Bonus Track)
11
3:31
 
Like a Drum (Japanese Bonus track)
12
3:38
 
On a High
13
4:19
 
Iron Shirt
14
3:30
 
Body Hot
15
3:28
 
Watch
16
3:12
 
Crying (Kode 9 Remix)
17
3:03
 
One Thing (Champion Remix)
18
4:22
 
Don’t Breathe Out (Pinch Remix)
19
4:53
 
Fighting For? (rLr Remix)
20
4:07
 

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