UK emcee Ayar has dropped his 8th project as the year runs to a close. The 6-track body of work, entitled Keeping up with the Neighbours, follows the life of the East London native of Nigerian heritage through his own lens. He tackles a wide array of topics from love, family and nuanced experiences as a black British man trying to stay afloat in the gritty London concrete jungle. Armed with a smooth, laid-back flow, it only made sense to paint his stories over the right backdrop, hence recruiting bubbling UK producers NK Music, D’Artist, GMP, Novmber, ZENOBLVCK, Dreamlife and Yondo to help complete the job.
The EP opens up with the semi-autobiographical "Puddles," a solemn record that introduces Ayar's unique upbringing in East London. The follow-up track, "Chases," is as jazzy as they come and again, Ayar keeps it close and personal with the picture he paints. He is unafraid to be honest and we see the outcome of indecisions and uncertainty in his eventual actions. "Dwelling" has a more upbeat vibe but doesn't stray from the theme of the project as Ayar opens up on difficulties in trying to be a man away from the family. The final 2 tracks "Travelling" and "Sovereign" wrap up the project with their reflective tone, especially the latter, where Ayar has to come to terms with his current lot in life. At the end of it all, there are more questions than answers for this young black man trying to drown out the noise surrounding him.
Keeping up with the Neighbours is quite short for good reason, as Ayar aims to capture only a snapshot of himself. He doesn't really share with us the Nigerian element so we don't know how much of that directly affects his life. Regardless, we do have a reasonable understanding of where he came from and where he is trying to reach.