From his incendiary Hoods Hottest freestyle in 2019 to his prescient appearance on “Year Of The Real” with Pa Salieu, M1llionz and Teeway in 2020, the Can’t Stop Won’t Stop EP to last year’s “In The Fire” with Dave and co., Manchester’s Meekz has given us some absolute gold over the past few years and embedded himself in some of modern British rap’s most iconic moments. In short, the pressure was on for this debut mixtape.

You’ll have seen that much of the reporting around this release describes it as a new chapter or a new era for Meekz, and not just because he’s dropped the ‘Manny’ part of his name. Although he has dabbled in drill music, he’s never been a drill artist—despite what the bally might have you believe—but on one of the tracks, he makes his thoughts on the genre crystal clear. That plays out in a varied exploration of rap’s much wider potential; there’s squelchy G-funk, frosty road rap, and even some live instrumentation. But has this move paid off and is it a sign of what’s to come in UK rap as a whole?

Having had the weekend to stew on it, some of the Complex UK team—Joseph ‘JP’ Patterson, James Keith and Claudia Valentina Cagna—sat down to share their first thoughts.