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Our Review UK’s Breakthrough Artist, Lloyd Haines Drops Debut Mixtape ‘MATRIX’

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In the storm of electrifying releases from Drake, Beyonce, Eminem, and Madonna, this UK breakthrough artist is looking to build his own legacy independently, with his debut mixtape, ‘Matrix’ dropping today on his own label, Outlaw World.

Featuring a total of ten hip-hop, rap, R&B and trap tracks, including an electronic breakbeat instrumental interlude to exhibit Haines’ music production, this project is genuinely nothing like we have listened to in some time.

The body of work is underpinned by impeccable engineering, mixing and mastering of all Delgado (UK), Hefty Productions (UK), and Rich 552 Music (UK). We’re told that Rich has recently moved to studios in Dubai to work with some of the hottest names in the game, already bagging credits with Yxng Bane, Kojo Funds, and Izzie Gibbs to name a few.

It’s not often that an independent artist from the UK grabs our attention like this, so we had to deliver a piece that critiques the work displayed. Staple tracks to the mixtape are, of course, ‘Sativa’ (originally released February 25 2022) and ‘Matrix’ (released on May 27 2022) which is soon to hit quarter of a million streams on all major platforms. We’re sure that Haines will double down on these numbers in 2023.

A work of art like this needs to flow gracefully in its storytelling, and it does, transitioning in vibe and genre very naturally. The tape drops with quite arguably the heaviest introduction of the year, with ‘Payper’ – a play on words for making money and paying per view – telling the story of business deals turning sour and partners coming from behind, and bringing his brother as the feature to the track. Hefty’s beautifully placed shouts and ad libs from Haines really carry this track and sets the tone for the listening rager.

‘Jean Claude’ follows with a seductive mood and analogue sounding drumwork. A cool and calm flow cements the track as being of the standout sounds to the tape and synergises with the narrative of lead track ‘Matrix’ of the longing to fly away and reset.

‘No Luv’ is our HQ’s favorite track on the tape, since it shows Haines’ versatility in being able to strip back to a lofi synth and minimal drum patterns, with an R&B soulful infused vocal and relaxed conscious rap, into a far greater being during the beat change. Expect a shock as the flow adopted half way through the track mirrors that of Future and Travis Scott, yet has the melodic flow of Chris Brown, whilst somehow still keeping to his UK roots.

Meanwhile, ‘Men Don’t Cry’ tells the difficult story of the rise in men’s suicide rates, and encourages young men to speak of their issues. The final verse was the most heart wrenching of all, talking of the journey Haines took himself into his own suicidal attempts some years ago:

“I think it’s important to spread awareness of men’s’ mental health. It’s a world of pain that you can’t seem to get out of when you’re at the crux of it. Talking is so therapeutic but it’s also the very same thing that sufferers flee from. The negative stigma surrounding mental health is finally subsiding but the numbers don’t seem to mirror that. More public figures need to speak up and more artists need to be honest in their feelings too. Cole’s ‘Love Yourz’ inspired the narrative for this one.”

Naturally, a story teller has to be able to pull the curtains closed with a big finale, and we expected nothing less from Lloyd Haines, who cleverly concludes the project with a mesmerizing outro, titled ‘Ever Know’ – an ode to his soulmate, with hypnotizing synths and 4/4 drums to keep the groove nicely placed, and again, giving the perfect example of Haines’ beat production.

When discussing his musical inspiration, he told us:

“My grandmother, who I called ‘Nanny,’ hit incredible feats in the music business as a performer through the highly acclaimed West End.

She even sang many times to the soldiers during the war on their return to home. I find it so inspiring that when the world was torn by a far right movement, riddled with bullets, and plagued with inequality and pain, she found solace in the form of music and voice. It’s no wonder it’s my safe haven.”

Adding to his impressive list of European shows, this week also sees Haines complete his Greece residency for the season at Zante’s Pure Beach Club, El Paradiso Beach Club, Tidal, and more, DJing and hosting events to crowds in their thousands alongside Ibiza Rocks’ regular, DJ Dre 23.

The pair have spent the summer supporting the likes of Charlie Sloth, Tom Zanetti, and Yungen at sell out shows on the island. Talking of his time there, Haines told us:

“It’s been a real eye opener for me in seeing what UK music is popping, and what isn’t, and how that also translates into European culture. Taking the experiences within these performances back home and straight into the studio provides the foundations for my next phase of growth as an independent artist.”

Overall, this guy is staying on our radar and gives a fresh sound to the western independent music scene. If this is the debut, the next run of projects is set to boom. We can hear the US Hip Hop and Rap influences in his music in ways which we are yet to hear from a UK artist, who is already rumored to be working with billboarded charting independent artist, Frqnzy, who we’ve previously written on. We’d say that of itself really speaks volumes.

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