Now or Never
In his early rap years, due to his stealthy and uncomplicated demeanor, SN1 frontman Giggs picked up the nickname “Hollowman.” Leaning into this alias—lifted from the 2000 slasher flick—for a relentless run of gut-busting, anthemic mixtapes, Giggs etched himself into the early folklore of UK rap. But following prominent features on Drake’s 2017 playlist project More Life, Giggs opened the 2020s by reversing the trend and going back to blank. On Now or Never, the self-styled “Landlord” (another nickname) calls time on a year-long period of near silence with a stunning, unannounced reentry. Separated from the noise and chatter of the moment, he boldly reasserts his fluid, trademarked style. Undemanding punchlines are layered with a swaggering demeanor, resulting in slow-burning, infectious trap anthems “All Spinach” and “100 Reps.” “Straight Murder (Giggs & David)” throws up a majestic collaboration of playful flows, Jorja Smith steps into her own rap alter ego for “Im Workin,” and NY’s A Boogie wit da Hoodie lands the transatlantic feature now a staple of Giggs releases post-2010. Emeli Sandé assists for “It’s Hard”, a blazing indictment of institutional racism in Britain, with a weary and tired Giggs reminiscent of the hungry and pained specter that rose from the Peckham outskirts all those years ago. “I’m a living legend, cuz, I’m back forever,” he declares on the opener and title track. Emerging everywhere and nowhere at the same time for “Now or Never,” Giggs remains as much of a riddle as he’s always been.