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Album of the Week: Ed Sheeran

Explore the genre-defying fourth album, No.6 Collaborations Project.

Ed Sheeran has unveiled his long-awaited No.6 Collaborations Project, his follow up to 2017’s massive ÷ and companion to his 2011 self-released EP No. 5 Collaborations Project, which saw the English singer-songwriter team up with various UK rappers and grime MCs.

While he’s since gained huge international acclaim for his three studio albums, +, × and ÷, and regularly offered up his song-writing genius to other stars, his latest mixtape is full of high profile guest features, highlighting his ever-broad cross-genre appeal.

Featured artists on No.6 Collaborations Project include pop megastars Justin Bieber, Camila Cabello and Bruno Mars, stateside rappers Travis Scott, Eminem, 50 Cent, and Cardi, alongside British stars Stormzy, J Hus and Dave.

Sheeran teased the album’s release with a string of mammoth singles including I Don’t Care with Justin Bieber, Cross Me featuring Chance the Rapper and PnB Rock, Beautiful People featuring Khalid, and Remember The Name which sees Ed bring together Enimen and 50 Cent.

Having honed his gift for soppy ballads and catchy pop tunes, here Sheeran continues his world domination by taking on every chart-topping genre, from grime to Latin, and hip-hop to dancehall pop. His usual self-deprecating lyrics are tinged with a few humble-brags, highlighting his rags to riches rise to fame and his anguish at sometimes feeling like a misfit, despite his popularity for fellow world-leading artists.

For more than a decade, Sheeran has been the king of pop, collaborating with everyone from Beyonce to Taylor Swift, as well as turning his hand to acting, appearing in Game Of Thrones, a Heinz Ketchup ad and the 2019 Richard Curtis/Danny Boyle film Yesterday.

Famed for appearing on stage with just a stack of loop pedals and his trusty guitar, his exploration of genres on this collaboration results in a starry cast pushing him in a new direction. No.6 Collaborations Project is essentially who’s who of music royalty, as pop-beats meet RnB melodies in Ed’s smooth collab with Khalid on Beautiful People.

The dancehall rhythm of South of the Border contrasts with explicit innuendo courtesy of Cardi B, while the trio (completed by Camila Cabello) weave a tale of a man caught trysting with a Latin American woman.

US rapper Travis Scott steals the show on Antisocial, while both Eminem and 50 Cent appear on Remember The Name, reminiscent of the former’s noughties rap banger The Real Slim Shady.

Bound by an easy electronic melody, Argentine rapper Paulo Londra joins UK rapper Dave on Nothing on You while Stormzy tears through Take Me Back To London with his accustomed grace.

Going from strength to strength, Sheeran hits all the right notes on No.6 Collaborations Project. With his all-star guest line-up spanning across both genres and borders, the pop veteran continues to reign supreme in a time when the breaking down of boundaries feels increasingly vital.

See Ed Sheeran this summer at massive stadium dates in Leeds and Ipswich this August. [Find tickets]


Tracklisting:

1. Beautiful People (featuring Khalid)
2. South of the Border (featuring Camila Cabello and Cardi B)
3. Cross Me (featuring Chance the Rapper and PnB Rock)
4. Take Me Back to London (featuring Stormzy)
5. Best Part of Me (featuring Yebba)
6. I Don’t Care (with Justin Bieber)
7. Antisocial (with Travis Scott)
8. Remember the Name (featuring Eminem and 50 Cent)
9. Feels (featuring Young Thug and J Hus)
10. Put It All on Me (featuring Ella Mai)
11. Nothing on You (featuring Paulo Londra and Dave)
12. I Don’t Want Your Money (featuring H.E.R.)
13. 1000 Nights (featuring Meek Mill and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie)
14. Way to Break My Heart (featuring Skrillex)
15. Blow (with Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars)


Listen to No.6 Collaborations Project on Spotify:

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