ALBUM REVIEW: Ray BLK – Access Denied | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

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Island Records

Released: 17.09.21







Put plainly, Ray BLK’s uneven trajectory since topping the BBC Music Sound Of 2017 poll patently highlights the UK music industry’s less-than-savoury attitude towards Black female talent. On her long-awaited studio debut, she defiantly bucks being pigeonholed into an ill-fitting cookie-cutter mould on opener BLK MADONNA, and bemoans the jadedness of pursuing success on her own terms on 25.

That said, it’s far from a one-note affair – the Lagos-born chanteuse also wreaks sweet revenge on a trifling paramour on Lovesick, and trades wry ripostes with Giggs on Games. The definite highpoint is Dark Skinned, an uplifting anthem extolling the virtues of, and need for, Black self-love. Moody yet beguilingly versatile, Access Denied is a true triumph of tenacity – get familiar!


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