If you’re a fan of UK hip hop you should have heard of Heavy Links, a rap group staying true to the boom bap sound of the golden era of hip hop. Empire Building is the debut album from Habitat, one of the MCs from Heavy Links, and it’s a very authentic affair.
Habitat’s relaxed yet tight and rhythmic flow is clear to hear on the opening track Valhalla Rhyming. This recently was released on youtube with a sick accompanying video. The hard hitting drums and smooth strings combine to create a great beat, and this, put alongside the cuts, makes this track is a great opener to an album with a clear throwback vibe.
Deep Purple is one of the standouts on the album. Habitat delivers some very well written verses with some fantastic multi’s such as ‘Deep purple in the purple beamer/I burn a reefer’. The beat is a classic 90s anthem, with well chopped samples that immediately sets your neck bouncing back and forth. Habitat has a very confident delivery, and this definitely helps the tracks on Empire Building pack a punch throughout the project.
Empire Building features 2 tracks with guest verses. Polyrhythmic features Mnsr Frites, Archetype, El Tel The Dopeness & Chrome. Tracks like this, where MCs go back to back, always create an incredibly organic feel to the track. I haven’t heard too much from Def Tex’s Chrome in recent times, but his verse on this is killer, and shows why he commands a lot of respect from UK MCs. Early Bird features Oliver Sudden & Luca Brazi. Oliver Sudden is a very exciting MC, and it’s good to hear another sick verse from him. Habitat & DJ Severe clearly both have a very good ear for who sounds dope on a track with them.
DJ Severe handles all the production on Empire Building, and it’s a very well suited choice. His beats are definitely 90s inspired, but still come across as fresh. Habitat’s chilled out tone and flow really suit these boom bap instrumentals, as do the well chosen guest verses.
Empire Building is a dope album that is definitely worth checking out. Great beats, great rhymes and great flows combine to make a stellar project that stays true to all that hip hop is really about.
By Sam Bennett