Blah Records’ latest release is a five track EP from Mancunian MC Black Josh and veteran UK producer Pete Cannon. ‘Smoking Kills’ is a prime cut of the chilled out, soulful hip-hop Black Josh has been successful with thus far; the witty, uptempo lyricism and the nineties inspired production from Pete Cannon is consistently impressive, with smooth sampling and drums that compliment Josh’s flows perfectly.
The opening track, ‘Everyday’, is a great introduction to the EP. With a subtle, relaxed instrumental backing Black Josh as he drops lyrics about his consistency and skill in the rap game, switching up the flows at a rapid pace; DJ Sammy B-Side also provides cuts on the tune. ‘Ohana’ follows, this track features frequent Black Josh collaborator, Manchester rapper Sleazy F Baby, also known as Wordz. The drums are solid; the simple, understated pattern is perfect for Josh to kick lyrics over, and the crisp sound is a testament to Pete Cannon’s production.
The multisyllabics, punchlines and flows that Josh displays on ‘Saggin’ are first class. This track features Dyslexis, and both MC’s drop verses packed with wit and intricate, effective rhyme schemes. The EP closes with ‘Know About It’, and the smooth brass samples and raw hip-hop drums compliment Josh as, yet again, he demonstrates an insanely tight flow, weaving all over the beat to great effect, as well as delivering a catchy hook.
‘Smoking Kills’ is a really strong project from Black Josh, and if you needed any convincing, it solidifies Pete Cannon’s place as one of the country’s top producers. With smooth, sophisticated, golden era inspired beats and uptempo flows, Blah Records have done it again.
By Sam Bennett