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Headie One tops chart with album named after mum

By Mark Savage
BBC music reporter

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe prolific rapper has released eight mixtapes and one album since 2014

Tottenham-born rapper Headie One has topped the UK charts with his debut album, Edna.

Songs from the record, which is dedicated to his late mother, were streamed 25.5 million times last week, said the Official Charts Company.

A progressive marriage of drill, trap, UK rap, dancehall and US hip-hop, it confronts the turbulent realities of growing up in Britain's inner cities.

It tops the chart just six months after the rapper was released from prison.

The 26-year-old, whose real name is Irving Adjei, had been jailed in for carrying a knife, and later described the experience as a "wake-up call".

"Those kind of situations was my normality years ago," he told The Guardian, referring to three previous jail terms from his youth.

"It was a wake-up call that it really is a thin line - one wrong move and it's all over, it's back to what you used to dream to get out of."

By the time he was jailed in January, the rapper was already one of the biggest names in UK rap, with a string of increasingly-impressive mixtapes and a guest slot on Stormzy's second album, Heavy Is The Head.

An eighth mixtape, Gang, hit streaming services within hours of his release, and entered the charts at number five.

It marked a move away from the rapper's origins in drill - a darker, bleaker variant of grime - towards a more melodic, less insular sound.

That comes to full fruition on Edna, notably on the chart-busting single Ain't It Different, whose catchy hooks hide a message about the dull reality of prison life ("You ain't ever made a birthday cake from digestive biscuits," he raps at one point).

Elsewhere, he resolves to "right my wrongs", promising to make "a different way of livin'" despite the mockery of his former associates.

"Edna is proof that he's the unmistakeable, global 'King of drill', and much more besides," concluded the NME. "It's a move into the mainstream, without forgetting where it all began."

image copyrightOfficial Charts
image captionThe star's mother died when he was just three years old

"Having my debut album go to number one means a lot to me," said the star, who posed with his Official Chart Award at his mother's graveside.

"Edna," he added, "this is for you."

Top 5 Albums - 16 October 2020. .  .

The album tops the charts after a close three-way battle with fellow UK rappers D-Block Europe and the late John Lennon.

Lennon's Gimme Some Truth, a new compilation produced by his widow Yoko Ono and son Sean Lennon to mark what would have been his 80th birthday, enters the chart at number three.

D-Block Europe's debut, The Blue Print - Us vs Them, is at number two.

In the singles chart, 24kGoldn's Mood ft Iann Dior holds tight at number one - and Fleetwood Mac's Dreams re-enters the Top 40 for the first time in 43 years,

The song, which has seen a surge in popularity after soundtracking a viral video on TikTok, rose 18 places to Number 37 this week.

Written and sung by Stevie Nicks, it only made number 24 upon its original release in August 1977.

However, its success has endured over the years, racking up almost 100 million streams in the UK since streaming data was incorporated into the charts in 2014.

Top 5 Singles - 16 October 2020. .  .

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Related Topics

  • John Lennon
  • Grime
  • Official UK music charts
  • Music
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Drill music