If you’re a fan of the battle rap side of the UK hip hop scene you’ll already be well aware of the work Bamalam has put in. Consistently turning in flawless performances for Don’t Flop, he’s proved himself to be an excellent lyricist and writer, with well thought out schemes and punchlines. Bam has put out some music previously, as part of Divine Rights, but ‘Chest Of Draws’ is his solo EP, with production duties handled completely by Cystic, the other half of Divine Rights.
It’s clear from the opening track, ‘One Of Them Days’, that Bamalam’s well structured multi’s are just as on point over a beat as in an acapella clash. He flows over a chilled out, soulful instrumental, rapping about his love for a certain herb and the art of spitting bars, and although this might not be the most original concept for a track, it’s a dope start to the EP.
‘Damned Road’ follows, and features fellow E&Daniels members Tony D, Mr. 13 & Josiah Matrix. This is a deeper track, focussing on the struggles of growing up in London, and each MC on the track delivers an excellent verse. Tony D never fails to completely tear a track apart, and this is no exception; ‘Damned Road’ sees the current Don’t Flop champion deliver a gritty 16 packed with punches and a tight flow.
‘Years Written’ is another standout from the EP. The multisyllabic rhymes in this are definitely on point. It can sometimes be difficult to make bars like this really sit well as a complete song, but Bam keeps on topic and this makes for an engaging listen. The same can be said for ‘Last Draw’, which features Bamalam delivering lyrics with some well thought out social commentary, as well as speaking about his own troubles and ways of dealing with life’s hurdles.
‘Chest Of Draws’ is a dope EP from one of the UK’s most consistent and prolific battle rappers, and is yet another counter to the common argument that battle rappers can’t make good music. Well picked beats make for a diverse listen; the EP features some relaxed, soulful instrumentals as well as more hard hitting boom bap beats, and Bamalam’s flow and lyrics are precise and impactful throughout.
By Sam Bennett