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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. Reviewers said the album “hightlights his impressive lyrical capabilities” and delivered “as aythentic a vision of life on the margins as you could wish for."

"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."

"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."


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