Skeme takes a ton pride in his hometown, so it’s only right his solo debut album gives listeners a hearty taste of his native Inglewood, California.
On Tuesday (December 17), the raspy Los Angeles spitter released Ingleworld on iTunes and over the course of 15 tracks, he gives an unrefined look into west coast street life. “If you grow up where we come from, then you have that certain sense of pride in where you come from,” Skeme told MTV News during an interview in November. “Since it is my hometown that’s why I feel the necessity to bring it to the world. I think that was the reason we showcased that in the title itself.”
The album, which was released independently through MADE Headlines, could’ve come out on Top Dawg Entertainment, the same label responsible for Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and the rest of Black Hippy, but Skeme decided to do things on his own. “TDE; Top Dawg and Punch, Ali, Dot, all of these people were around me, watching me grow,” Skeme said of the label’s popular cast of executives and artists. “That’s my extended family for sure, so that’s how that conversation came up. I always hold the utmost respect for them, but I think at this point — I dunno, I’m weird like that, I like being by myself.”
The label is merely a formality as Skeme emerges as one of hip-hop’s top prospects for 2014. On the album-opening “We Against the World,” the Duke (as he calls himself) begins to run down his resume. “The unofficial fifth member of Black Hippy/ Interscope showed me interest, but those numbers weren’t jiggy,” he spits.
On “Over Sick,” he relentlessly drops bars on top of bars exhibiting the rawest of rap skills. “Pocket full of guap, now look what I got/ I got no brakes, so I chase cake non-stop/ Eyes locked on the top spot, you is not hot/ Stash box, full of crack rock, n—a why not,” he flows, barely taking a breath.
With “Different,” Skeme goes another route, showing that he is also skilled at songwriting. Rather than try to out rap his competition, he slows things down and opts to use a more sing-a-long type flow over a sunny instrumental.
Wale shows up for “Ain’t Perfect” and Iggy Azaela for “High Level,” but Skeme does a real effort to make Ingleworld all his own. By the time he wraps it all up on “WhatYoLifeLike?!” Skeme and Nipsey Hussle punctuate his arrival with one rhyme. “What yo life like, mine’s great/ Made it out despite my city’s crime rate,” Nip raps as Skeme chronicles his growth over a somber piano drop.