In The Balance Records, the label founded by veteran MC/producer Verb T, properly announces its arrival with ‘Turn Back’, an EP from London MC Moreone. He has previously released projects as part of the duo Morbiddenziller; the ‘Number One Fan’ EP in 2013 and the eponymous full length in 2014. This EP features three tracks, each produced by Verbs himself, as well as a remix of each track (from Chemo, Illinformed and Leaf Dog), and the dense lyrical content and crisp, tasteful production combine with great results.
‘Turn Back’ is an introspective opener, and Moreone rhymes with cutting impact. In the opening verse he spits ‘I’m no scholar but I was taught by the school of the hard knocks/For every Corsa bought another car’s robbed’, and the detail and honesty are impressive over head-nodding, spacious production; the thumping kick-drum and ambient synth pads back tight flows and thoughtfully structured rhyme schemes.
‘Most High’ is a highlight. The vibe and content may be very much on the chilled and mellow side, but Moreone’s lyricism is by no means simplistic or surface-level. He displays a variety of flows, intelligent writing and the concept is executed flawlessly. His voice is sharp, and his delivery powerful and effective; across the ‘Turn Back’ EP, Moreone shows that he is definitely an exciting prospect, and one to keep a keen eye on heading into the new year.
We haven’t quite turned all the way back yet though, there are three remixes also included on the EP. Chemo’s remix of the title track gives it a more hard-hitting, menacing vibe than the original, although it retains its subtlety and poignancy. Illinformed’s remix of ‘Holding On’ is another standout, I actually prefer it to the original version. The boom bap production backs Moreone’s skillful flow, and his delivery is powerful over the bluesy sample flip. The EP closes with a Leaf Dog remix of ‘Most High’; classic lazy, punchy drums and swelling brass samples make for an anthemic finish.
‘Turn Back’ definitely bodes well for 2016, both for Moreone and for In The Balance. The EP is consistently interesting and exciting across the three tracks and three remixes, showing versatility and a cohesive vibe. The beats are dope, the production is dope, what else do you want?
By Sam Bennett