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After hitting us with an array of quality singles over the years, South London R&B talent Ray BLK has finally shared her debut album, Access Denied.
Housing 14 tracks, the album features the previously released Ashanti and Biggie-interpolating “MIA” with Kaash Paige, the slick, Giggs-assisted banger “Games”, and the moving and pensive character study “Dark Skinned”. Additional features come in the form of Kojey Radical, Stefflon Don and Suburban Plaza, with Fred Ball, Rymez, Tay Dex, Wes Singerman, JD. Reid and Rogét Chahayed on production duties.
The title track, a downtempo, piano-backed ballad, sees Ray ponder a past relationship with visceral honesty and emotional integrity. “Lovesick”, another highlight, shows a different side to the singer, as rapper Ray Blizzy steps in and melds the worlds of rap and R&B effortlessly. The Stefflon Don-assisted closer, “Over You”, is also worth a mention; featuring a lavish, dancehall-backed beat, both artists drop lush vocal harmonies to close the LP on a party-ready high note.
“Access Denied is for those who, like myself, know disappointment too well and have learned to put up walls as a coping mechanism for self-protection,” says Ray. “I’ve opened up about how my childhood made me guarded, how disappointing relationships made me fear love and how being told no so many times in the music industry kicked me down, but I got back up. I hope people listen to this album and value themselves enough to deny access to those who are undeserving and to also believe in themselves enough to keep saying yes to themselves when the world keeps telling them no!”
With no frills or misses, Access Denied is a sterling effort from the British R&B star and will no doubt make many end-of-year lists as of 2021’s finest. Listen to the album in full below.