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Review: No More Leaks by Central Cee

Central Cee’s new EP is musically respectable but fairly unambitious, and raises interesting concerns regarding hacking in the music industry.

The EP is Cench’s response to his music being leaked before the scheduled release date, as the title suggests. It coincides with the release of the Netflix documentary ‘The Playlist’ about Spotify, which was founded after a number of illegal streaming sites such as Napster and Pirate Bay surged in popularity in the early 2000s. The documentary explores the impact of piracy on artists. No More Leaks shows that the problems artists had faced from the Pirate Bay era persist today. Even with such hugely popular streaming sites, some people just don’t want to pay for music.

Ever the businessman, Cench harnessed this leaking for publicity gains – he posted a video on his Instagram live warning the “creeps” who illegally accessed his music that they would no longer get “one up on him”. He has now spent no money on advertising for this EP, creating hype while maintaining control. His business savvy was highlighted earlier this year with the release of ‘Doja’ which smashed records and topped charts. The viral lyrics “how can I be homophobic, my bitch is gay” were much more calculated than audiences might initially realise. Put simply, controversy sells.

The opening track of No More Leaks, ‘Chapters’, indicates a welcome direction for UK rap. The use of sample ‘You Are My High’ harks back to early 2000s garage house, but the electronic house funk over a drill beat pushes the genre forward. It discusses Cench’s difficult upbringing, which is more insightful than the rest of the EP. ‘Bumpy Johnson’, ‘One Up’ and ‘Crypto Price’ are thematically and musically homogenous – they are about crime, hedonism, and sex (not novel territory for drill artists). Cench has the capability for lyrical experimentation; for example, his recently viral LA Leakers Freestyle explains UK slang to an American audience, taking his music to a comedic and accessible level. Having said this, the classic lyrical themes with vocal cuts, fast paced Tresillo-timed 808, and heavy bass, makes No More Leaks unmistakably drill and undeniably catchy.

Overall, No More Leaks has catered well to Cench’s existing followership. However, as his other projects exhibit, he has the potential expand his fanbase by experimenting more on his EPs. It also provides welcome criticism of hacking and leaking culture that it draws attention to. Cench raises an important question: whether we value the immediate access to art or longevity of our favourite artists more. 

Central Cee (cropped)” by Mixtape Madness is licensed under CC BY 3.0.