It took one of the UK’s biggest secrets in hip hop circles a jaunt across the pond to the States to finally get her name noticed with any consistency. She’s been around for a while with releases dating back to 2002. However it’s her recent work that has solidified her reputation. It’s never going to hurt having the likes of Kanye West guesting on your work, such is the case with her recent number one ‘American Boy’.
The album ‘Shine’ is the fruit of her transatlantic labours and you only need to look at the names involved to see that Estelle has already an impression with the right people. There is work here that involves the aforementioned Kanye West you can also see collaborations with the likes of Kardinall Offishall, Cee-Lo and John Legend.
As a whole it’s a very slick piece of work, the influence of Estelle’s heritage growing up in London is always present but her relocation to the United States has undoubtedly served to smooth out some of the rougher edges that are often part and parcel of any number of UK scenes she adhered to. Her vocal style alternates between sweetly cooed melodies before she kicks things up a notch for her aggressive rootsier raps.
The styles blend effortlessly, if only as a result of collaborating with people who are essentially at the top of their game. Blending her newfound US sensibilities with her UK origins. Yet while it might be a well produced album its not the most exciting prospect on the market. There are singles waiting here to do the business chart wise and on a quiet week for releases I dare say she could seize the top spot again but in terms of longevity this is by no means a classic album.