Brighton MC Ocean Wisdom first catapulted to the forefront of any hip-hop head’s mind with the release of ‘Walkin’ back in 2014. The grimey, snarling Dirty Dike production and the ferociously fast flow were an instantly winning combination, and anxiously rap fans the world over waited patiently for news of a full project. Signing with High Focus Records last year is a logical choice, and the independent powerhouse starts off 2016 with Wisdom’s debut solo record ‘Chaos 93’, entirely produced by Dirty Dike and featuring appearances from Klashnekoff, Lunar C, Foreign Beggars and more.
Opening with ‘Walkin’, if you’ve been living under a rock for the past year and a half or so, this is the perfect introduction to Ocean’s high-standard of lyricism and his undeniably incredibly flow, and he matches a decisive delivery with crystal clear diction. ‘Splittin’ The Racket’, the first official single from the album, keeps the pace at a blistering high, and Wisdom displays witty bars over a crisp, hard-hitting Dike instrumental. ‘High Street’ is an intense, rapid-fire onslaught of tongue twisting lyrics and flows; Ocean Wisdom switches it up effortlessly and without warning, demonstrating integrity, honesty and screw-face inducing skill.
Lunar C’s appearance on ‘Gone’ is a great addition (“I’m squeezing titties like I’m holding stress balls/She’s pussy popping like a blow up ex doll”); wordplay, charisma and punchlines are displayed by both MCs, and the hook is a work of genius. Klashnekoff features on the following cut ‘Devilish’, and the menacing, subtle production with deep bass and percussive flows is a superb backdrop for the two gritty vocalists. ‘Doolally’ features another legendary UK name; Foreign Beggars join Ocean on a hyped, up-tempo track. Dike’s production across ‘Chaos 93’ is versatile and consistently impressive, the thumping kicks and sparse instrumentation works brilliantly with the energetic, percussive flows from Wisdom, Vulgatron and Metropolis.
Man, ‘Oh Kiddi K’. What a tune. Remus’ opening verse is aggressive, intelligent and entirely convincing; the building anticipation for his debut LP is starting to become too much to handle. The in-your-face, pedal to the metal flows that Ocean has developed a reputation for are showcased all over ‘Chaos 93’. He slows the pace down a little on ‘Heskey’, and Dike matches the vibe with a sinister production. ‘Real Smooth’, the highly anticipated collaborations with The Four Owls, is a certified banger. Every verse is a smash; Fliptrix spits “I hit the bong today, never on a long delay/Shouting at these motherfuckers ándale, ándale” and BVA’s savage appearance is one of the standout moments on the entire LP. ‘W.A.Y.D’ again shows the diversity Ocean and Dike have mastered on the album, with a soulful instrumental and introspective lyricism.
‘Chaos 93’ definitely lives up to the hype; when ‘Walkin’ is your introduction to the industry, you’re certainly setting the bar high, but Ocean Wisdom’s ferocious pen-game, diverse flows and pure ability sounds flawless over Dirty Dike’s expertly handled production. Over an eclectic seventeen tracks, the musical ability of both rapper and producer is shown to be at the highest level, and High Focus have knocked it out of the park with this one. What a start to 2016.
By Sam Bennett