Split Prophets are a driving force in UK hip hop. A very skilled collective of lyricists and beatmakers, based in Bristol. This is a solo project from Upfront MC, and it’s packed to the brim with tight, complex flows and multi syllabics as well as some first rate instrumentals guaranteed to keep that neck moving backwards and forwards.
‘Where’s The Love’ is a scathing message to rappers who have been completely consumed by the motivation to make money, and no longer rap for the love of the music. The SP crew have many tracks on a similar subject, but the fact that the track doesn’t lose any of its desired impact certainly shows just how consistent the Bristol representatives are. This track also features another Bristolian MC, Mistafire, and both he and Upfront MC combine to create a very sick track.
‘Not All Bad’ is a certified banger. Smooth piano and brass samples sit well over a hypnotic boom bap drum loop. Upfront drops some sick punchlines, such as ‘your music’s been watered down like a high juice’, but it’s his flow that really impressed me. The stripped back beat really allows his consistently on point flow to shine through. The internal rhyme schemes and multi’s on this track will instantly appeal to any hip hop head.
Croydon based producer 2Late contributes a dope funky beat for ‘Coming Thru Your Speakers’, and Upfront kicks some sick rhymes, proving his lyrical ability is of a very high standard. 2Late’s beat is a nice variation for inclusion on the album, with the producers signature sound clear to hear. This track also shows the Split Prophet MC’s versatility, Upfront sounds just at home on this style of instrumental as he does the more in your face aggressive boom bap sound of a lot of Split Prophets material.
‘People Say’ featuring fellow Prophet, Res, along with vocalist Chikaya, is a great positive cut. This has an accompanying video on YouTube, so check that if you’ve not already peeped it. Res spits some great bars, with some excellently delivered patterns and schemes landing with strong impact. This is a more introspective track than the other songs on Upfront & Personal, and it certainly stands out from the crowd.
Upfront & Personal is packed with killer flows and well structured lyrics, and Upfront certainly pulls of a project on his own. There’s some great tracks on here, in a variety of styles. Production is excellently handled by a variety of beatmakers, including Blanka, Badhabitz, Leaf Dog and also Majesta who contributes a heavy beat for the obligatory posse cut, ‘Prophets Get Personal’. The hype around Split Prophets is building, and it’s only going to grow if they keep putting out projects of this quality!
By Sam Bennett