D.Ni.L. is a 33 year old hip hop artist, musician, producer and Emcee hailing from Yorkshire. Having played with bands growing up in York, he developed the ability to compose in his head and play by ear. He has battled alcohol and drug addiction since the age of twelve, and spent four years living in hostels and sleeping rough. These tough life experiences give his music an edge and intensity, and his record label Musication specifically uses music as a tool for recovery for people who face issues like homelessness and addiction.

This has led to collaborations with Buttercream 87 and Wasabi Fire Alarm as part of the band (who I recently reviewed). As a solo artist he released two albums in 2017, This In’t A Party and the more guitar influenced Suicide In Sips. He regards Deftones and early Manic Street Preachers as his inspirations, and these rock influences are apparent on this single Glue. It’s the first track to be taken from his EP The Boy Inside.

D.Ni.L. has an intense and direct lyrical and rapping style that gives his music a force which brought to mind hip hop rapper/singer Plan B, who also mixed hip hop with rock on hit songs like Stay Too Long and Prayin’. While Plan B certainly keeps it real, D.Ni.L. has an edgier sound, with hard hitting guitars reminiscent of Royal Blood combined with atmospheric synths, providing the perfect backdrop for his rhymes.

Lyrically, it’s a celebration of his increased creativity after achieving abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Over a brilliant guitar riff that Muse would be happy to call their own, D.Ni.L. bares his soul with admirable honesty: “Gonna be someone I’m proud of when I’m older, I might not have the uniform but I’m still a soldier”. It’s that stoic and positive attitude that defines D.Ni.L. as an important role model, particularly for those who have faced major issues in life.

Overall, this is a hugely inspiring fusion of hip hop and rock that shows how personal struggle and overcoming problems can result in creating art that has an emotional power and vitality lacking from most of what you will hear in the mainstream. D.Ni.L. is a hugely talented rapper and musician, injecting new creative energy into an art form that is having more influence and success than ever. D.Ni.L deserves to share in that success and this brilliant track should open many doors.

VERDICT = 9 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

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