The mathematician Andy Hildebrand might have made his name designing an algorithm to help Exxon find oil drilling sites, but his greatest gift to the twenty-first century has to be Antares and the delivery of Auto Tune. Sure, it might have originally been designed as an aid to correcting ‘bad pitch’ and make vocals more expressive, but – like most music and production technology – artists soon realised the potential for its use as an artistic effect in its own right; through Lil Wayne and Kanye West to the master exponent extraordinaire – the ‘T-Pain effect’ – Auto Tune is to hip hop what the overdriven Marshall is to rock n’ roll.
Here, on ‘I Feel Like The Man’, Ligor Stepanov – a.k.a. 4N – takes that sound – added to a dash of beautifully applied slapback vocal echo – to a slamming, trappy hip hop statement of intent. Thunderous gated bass, cracky, snappy hi hats, snare rimshots, and handclaps sit in a deep, driving backing track behind Ligor’s freestyled rhymes, alternately poetic and melodic and rapidfire and fractious.
“The whole world’s gonna hear my sound” snaps 4N on ‘I Feel Like The Man’; on the basis of this, he’s probably absolutely right.
Review by Alex Holmes