YNR are one of the most respected record labels putting out consistently dope UK hip hop. Their latest release is The Highest Order, the debut album from Confucius MC. This is straight up boom bap hip hop, and it’s expertly done.
Confucius MC made his name as part of =CoN+KwAkE=, a live duo made up of one MC and one drummer, and has supported talented artists such as Slum Village and Mos Def as part of the aforementioned group. This album sees him stand out on his own, spitting bars that show his prowess on the mic. The album has a maturity about it, and Con’s rhymes fit perfectly with the beats, provided by Parisian producer Keor Meteor.
This album features some great Jazzy drum breaks, and the whole vibe of the album means that it could slot into any hip hop friendly jazz club and go down a storm. The Highest Order is a great track, with a fantastically dusty feel. With intricate flows, Confucius has a great tone for this 90s style production, and the more relaxed sound to the beats means this album stands out from a lot of the more hardcore and aggressive hip hop coming out of the UK.
The Highest Order also features some dope soulful tracks. One of these is Eyes To The Sky. With some great multi’s and a very chilled vibe, this is exactly the kind of hip hop YNR has specialised in for years. With artists like Jehst and Kashmere signed to the label, it’s impressive to see Confucius drop a debut album that stands aside the work of these veteran rappers, and I’m looking forward to hearing future projects from him. If The Highest Order is anything to go by, Confucius is set to be a prolific artist within the scene.
This is a great album, and with no guest appearances on any of the 14 tracks, it really gives you a chance to appreciate Confucius’ ability and sound. Any fan of boom bap, golden era hip hop as well as fans of jazz influenced rap music will definitely enjoy this album
By Sam Bennett