Manchester rapper Aitch teases his debut album with a new single, Learning Curve
The single is the first since the chart-topping rapper's Polaris EP last year, and comes as he continues to tease his forthcoming debut album.
After dominating 2020 with chart-topping singles and triple j Hottest 100 debuts, Manchester emcee Aitch is keeping things a little more quiet in 2021 - thus far. Last year, his Polaris EP solidified Aitch as the name on everyone's tongue while deepening Manchester's impact on the UK's often-London-heavy rap scene, following in the footsteps of pioneers like Bugzy Malone as he continued to prove that forward-thinking rap music can come from scenes away from the capital - something the rapper has always centralised within his work and interviews.
Last year, Aitch proved that Manchester was worthy of a seat at the table. He had a number one single, was heralded as a leading face of hip-hop's next generation, and became one of the country's most in-demand collaborators; the flow-on effects of the latter being felt through to this year as well, with collaborations alongside Morrisson and A1 x J1 emerging in the past few months. Since dropping Polaris, however, he's remained quiet, putting his head down to work on a forthcoming debut album that was teased in a cover story profile with NME.
"[It will be a] 100,000 per cent a proper Manchester album," he told the magazine. "I’m a proud Mancunian, 100 per cent. It always feels good to be in my hometown. It might be a bit selfish of me to say, but I also really like it when everyone from London has to come up north for a change! Manchester has always had a good little scene but it’s never had that proof that things are possible until people like me and Bugzy Malone made it. Now people look at Manchester and people from London want to come here and see what’s going on. So I suppose in a way we pulled that cover off Manchester and made it be seen."
At the end of last week, we received the first tease of Aitch's long-overdue album in the form of Learning Curve, a new song from the rapper that marks return following the release of Polaris last year. Produced by frequent collaborator WhyJay, the single boasts a grinding production that feels reminiscent on his breakthrough AJ Tracey collaboration Rain, capturing Aitch's sound at his most anthemic as his lyrics dart and glide through pounding rhythms and fluttering, playful melodies.
It's in the single's lyricism and video, however, where Aitch shines. Learning Curve "captures the mood of a generation desperate to make up for the lost summer of 2020," he says, and the single's accompanying video clip amplifies that, tapping into the rush of the single in a very high budget-seeming affair. Directed by KC Locke and Aitch, the video is an incredibly slick high-speed chase that's full of thrills and energy, capturing the liveliness of the single in a way that really haves you on the edge of your seat.
There's one scene, however, proving to be the talking point of Learning Curve's visuals. It's a shot of Aitch on a bed alongside a diverse mix of plus size women, which as he speaks on social media, digs into hip-hop's adoration of young, thin model-type women, and the lack of diversity that's infamous within hip-hop video clips and inner circles. "All the man hating on the girls on my new post are iiiiidiots," he responded to critics on his Instagram Story, according to NME. "You could never even come near these girls, they don’t want you. They’re too leng for you."
Take a dive into the video below, and stay tuned for more to come from Aitch as we approach his yet-to-be-released debut album.