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Cool Spin: Kate Tempest, ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’

Poet, rapper, spoken-word artist, playwright, novelist—the award-winning Kate Tempest is all of these things. An amalgam of her skills contribute to her second album, Let Them Eat Chaos, the follow-up to 2014’s Mercury Prize-nominated Everybody Down. Not miles away from that attention-grabbing debut, Let Them Eat Chaos has Tempest teaming up with producer Dan Carey once again. Carey wholly takes the reins on the music, which is as stellar and noticeable as Tempest’s storytelling.

Let Them Eat Chaos is hip hop through a British filter. This means it has more in common with the left-field, underground sounds of that genre, is a bit stripped and more interesting. It also borrows generously from dancefloor sounds, particularly the sub of the bass music that permeates the streets of its creators’ native London. This is the perfect backdrop to Tempest’s observational rhymes on the concept album, which focuses on seven individuals living on the same street. In her pronounced accent and childlike tones, Tempest is as political as always, focusing on both micro and macro issues. Her phrasing and pregnant pauses help take the sting out of her stridency and her criticism, which can, at times, become wearing and biting.

Tempest’s and Carey’s marks are hit head-on with the swinging “Lionmouth Door Knocker,” the shivering “Ketamine for Breakfast,” and the robust “Whoops,” where the sum of her flow and his beats are significantly stronger than their parts. Produced and mixed by Dan Carey in his studio. Mastering: Christian Wright and Alexis Smith/Abbey Road Studios.

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