I’ve said before that there is a huge amount of undeniable talent coming out of Manchester at the moment, and one of the MCs making a real impact is Black Josh. He’s signed to Lee Scott’s Blah Records imprint, and is certainly surrounded by some of the countries best and most talented rappers. #BlahBlahBlackJosh is a 16 track mixtape showcasing Josh’s diversity and unique flow; he has the ability to kill a track no matter whether it’s on a smoke-infused chilled out flex, or if it’s on a more aggressive steez. Black Josh has been pushing tracks from the mixtape out for the last couple of months, along with some quality music videos, and this is definitely a very solid collection of songs.
The mixtape kicks off with a track that reminds me somewhat of Souls of Mischief’s ’93 til Infinity’. ‘Paul Scholes’ is one of the dopest UK hip hop tunes I’ve heard for a long time. A perfectly paced instrumental with chilled out layered samples backs up Josh’s tongue twisting flow. This track is packed with on point references, and the subject matter definitely makes this track relatable and identifiable. It’s a well chosen concept, and it’s successfully done; any rap fan, or as a matter of fact any football fan will immediately be drawn into the project with this opening gambit, and it’s one of my highlights from #BlahBlahBlackJosh.
‘Eczema’ is another track in a similar style. Jazzy piano samples lace a golden era inspired beat, and Josh’s consistent flow and well structured lyrics hold the track together perfectly. The Mancunian MC has a really good ear for beats that suit his laid-back flow and delivery, and when the instrumental and rapping style match up like they do on this track, the result is always going to be a good one.
Black Josh has certainly made use of the talent that surrounds him, both in his city and as a result of being a part of the Blah Records powerhouse. Bill Shakes makes an appearance on ‘Ignants My Instinct’, and as a fan of the artists who have been on the Blah roster for a while, it’s sick to hear what is produced when combining the old with the new. Wordz, from Manchester, makes his first appearance on ‘Serious’. This is a trap influenced track, and hearing Josh’s rapid fire flow over a quality instrumental contributed by BeatsByO instantly proves just how many various styles he can turn his hand to. Wordz also appears on ‘Cosmic’; the opening 4 bars of this track features some really inventive and witty phrasing, making for an engaging listen.
One of the biggest treats buried in this mixtape is the undeniable head nodder ‘Cult Sag 616’ featuring the Mcabre Brothers. Don Silk, Lee Scott & Black Josh teaming up on the same track was always going to produce an absolute banger, and the haunting vibe, fantastic multi’s and sheer swag level on this track make it an instantaneous classic. Lee Scott’s verse is one of the standouts of the entire mixtape for me, with abstract references, skilful multi’s and pitch alteration to boot. ‘Killacop’ finds Josh teaming up with The Green Pooki & Salar, and this is a really dope cut on the mixtape; the slow paced instrumental is in signature Blah style, and Josh adapts perfectly. ‘Student Parties’ is another standout, with a surprising catchy hook considering the songs topic. Josh’s flow weaves over the bars, seamlessly switching into a double time style. MC Jon also appears on this track, dropping a heavy verse. The final track on #BlahBlahBlackJosh is ‘BedTimerz’, which features Truthos Mufasa & Dyslexis, and the jazzy instrumental is laced with a really chilled saxophone line. Josh, Truthos & Dyslexis are all part of Ape Cult, another Manchester based collective of hip hop musicians, and it’s another verification of the vast array of talent coming out of the city!
#BlahBlahBlackJosh is a really solid collection of tracks, spanning a wide range of styles. Black Josh consistently kills it, his flawless flow, good diction and ability to switch up his style to perfectly match whatever beat he’s rocking come together to create some really dope music. Blah Records have been storming the scene lately with proper hip hop coming out the label, whether it’s at the hands of Lee Scott, or the witty output of Tommy Dockerz, or whether it’s the ferocious flow of Black Josh, you most certainly need to pay attention.
By Sam Bennett