Apply Pressure and Halt Bloodflow | “Tourniquet” by slowthai

Apply Pressure and Halt Bloodflow | “Tourniquet” by slowthai

Alex Bocchi, Writer/Volunteer

The devastating new song from slowthai, “Tourniquet,” seriously crushed me when I first listened. The song’s title is a metaphor for cutting parts or people from your life to grow, like you would use a tourniquet to cut off limbs to save your life. Slowthai raps over a soft building piano with some wavy mellow guitars. He delivers raw rasping vocals where he’s almost screaming. I enjoyed how the beats and instrumentals were calming while slowthai rapped with such anger and emotion. 


“You ever tried swimmin’ with your hands tied? /

I’m congested, lost in myself, with my senses diluted my— /

My inhibitions are lost, I feel confused /

You take everything I had to give /

I gave you more than I had to give /

What’s left? (Nothing), What’s left? (Nothing).”


As the music builds, slowthai is reflecting on everything he gave and everything that had been taken from him and eventually realizes that he doesn’t have anything left. Slowthai could be rapping about someone, his fans or even drugs that take everything from him and eventually realizing that he would give it all away anyway.  


“I give you everything I’ve got ’til the last fucking bone I have (Aah) /

Take it all, take it all, take it and leave, take it and leave, take it and leave, please /

(You can have everythin’).”


Slowthai’s latest album, UGLY, is some of his best work yet, and I love his blend of British grime music, post-punk and rapping. Slowthai’s work always feels like such a personal listening experience. The messages he puts in his music feel personal to him.