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REVIEW: Ed Sheeran Raps in 'The Man' While Exposing His Fears About Fame, Love and Dying Young [LISTEN]

by Carolyn Menyes   Jun 19, 2014 10:51 AM EDT

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With his new album x, Ed Sheeran is continuing to expand the bounds on what a typical "singer-songwriter" can do. He's gotten funky with Pharrell Williams on "Sing," raw and emotional on "Thinking Out Loud" and today (June 19) Sheeran explores his gangster side on the new song "The Man."

Except for the soulful, R&B inspired chorus in the new track, Sheeran largely raps his way through "The Man," as he spits venom around a drum-filled sample. As semi-heard in the x lead single "Sing," Sheeran is perfectly adequate at speak-singing his way through a song, and he's fully on fire in "The Man," proving that, yes, pasty white ginger British men can, in fact, rap.

Largely filled with stream of conscious thoughts, Sheeran explores the ideas of a failed relationship, a woman keeping him back from a music career, the downfalls of the industry and fame and chemical dependency on "The Man."

"The irony is if my career in music didn't exist / In six years, yeah, you'd probably be my wife with a kid / I'm frightened to think if I depend on cider and drink and lighting a spliff / I fall into a spiral and it's hiding my misguiding thoughts that I'm trying to kill / And I'll be writing my will before I'm 27 and die of a thrill / And go down in history as just a waste of talent," he says in one of the song's more poignant moments.

It's simultaneously a disturbing and vulnerable song and even though it's largely filled with rapping, one of the true emotional breakouts of the already open album x.

Listen to the new Ed Sheeran song "The Man" below:

"The Man" is a track from Sheeran's second studio album x, which is due to hit stores worldwide on June 23. Leading up the record's release date, Sheeran has been releasing new songs every morning. Thus far, he has dropped "Afire Love," "Bloodstream" and "Thinking Out Loud" in addition to singles "Sing," "Don't" and "One."

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