Croydon MC Oliver Sudden releases his long awaited follow up to the 2012 ‘Phenomenal Steez’ album, and it’s a 14 track slice of quality UK hip hop. Sudden enlists some well chosen features and some of the scenes finest beat-makers to produce a diverse yet cohesive project sure to satisfy any hip hop head.
As soon as the dusty hi hat and booming kick of ‘Touch Down’ start, it’s clear that this is exactly what you’d expect from a release on a label named Boom Bap Professionals. Sudden’s technical writing and his overall humble approach to spitting is effective, especially over the hard hitting beats found on this project. ‘The Buccaneer’ is a highlight from the album, with Oliver Sudden dropping well structured multi-syllabics about his skill and craft over a smooth instrumental with crisp drums, produced by Sam Zircon. ‘From The Depths’ finds Sudden directing his bars at the wave of hip hop fans that don’t know their history, calling out those who vocal Drake beats and the like; it’s clear that the Croydon MC is a true fan of the genre as well as a skilful rapper, something that is often missing in recent times with the rise and trend of YouTube spitters.
‘Lemon Chicken’, a collaboration with Stinkin Slumrok is another ‘Phenomenaler Steez’ highlight. The menacing instrumental, courtesy of Downstroke, backs both MCs as they drop verses with tight flows. ‘Worldwide’ finds Sudden collaborating with California spitter Mandeep Sethi and Liverpool based lyricist Benny Diction. The punchy beat is of a more modern sound than most of the material on the album, but Sudden still impresses, as do his collaborators. ‘Breakout’ is back to the hard-hitting boom bap; something that is unique about Sudden’s approach is his relaxed delivery over aggressive instrumentals; this is something that, perhaps unexpectedly, is very effective. Parallax and Mnsr. Frites join the Croydon MC on ‘Bang’, and this is another authentic and raw hip hop banger with a neck snapping beat and dope rhymes. ‘Singing In The Rain’ shows Sudden on a more socially conscious flex, and his versatility is something that becomes clearer and clearer throughout ‘Phenomenaler Steez’.
Oliver Sudden has delivered an excellent album here; the beats are consistently banging, the rhymes are always on point and the cohesive sound makes for a very enjoyable listen. Boom Bap Professionals have released a project very fitting with their name here, and this is one to check out for any fan of that 90’s inspired hip hop. Don’t get it twisted though; this doesn’t sound dated – Oliver Sudden gives us a fresh spin on golden era infused rap music.
By Sam Bennett