Triple Darkness rappers Ray Vendetta and Teslas Ghost join forces on this great selection of tracks, compiled as the prelude to a properly packaged release. Before that though, we are treated to ‘This Thing of Ours’, which serves as an introduction for the duo, as they brand themselves The Odd Couple for an eleven track boom bap extravaganza.
The project opens with the subtle, twinkling keys and soothing vocal sample of ‘Oath & Testament’, and the traditionalist vibe is clear from the outset. Ray and Tesla have such authoritative tones and raw, braggadocious lyricism laced with a clear dexterity and quality penmanship. The glorious production on the sublime, ultra-relaxed ‘Despicable Class’ is fantastic, and the cocky bars are delivered with flawless execution and smooth flows from both Ghost and Vendetta.
The groovy, infectious bassline and crisp drums of ‘Growth’ make it a clear standout from the project. The Odd Couple have an exhilerating chemistry; Tesla Ghost and Ray Vendetta bring a unique blend of streetsmart, gritty lyricism and a classy swagger that allows their verses to hit with powerful precision. ‘If Only’ exemplifies the impeccable sample resourcing that is a key to the success of ‘This Thing Of Ours’. Killarmy affiliate and veteran underground stalwart Falling Down is the orchestrator of the selection of soaring vocal flips and consistently dope loops.
The fantastic ‘Say It’ draws on an Otis Redding sample, and the hard-hitting, crunchy drums back a simplistic brass loop as the two London spitters showcase their savage penmanship on this undisputably banging cut. ‘This Thing Of Ours’ closes out with the title-track, and the textured instrumental, with it’s stuttering kicks and resounding, layered melodies, backs Teslas Ghost and Ray Vendetta as they exhude confidence. It’s certainly deserved after they’ve provided verse after verse crammed with tight punchlines and slick references across the project, and remember it’s only a prelude.
Any fan of UK lyricists, or of the kick and snare based hip-hop of the nineties will find Ray Vendetta and Teslas Ghost effort here a welcome break from the over-produced sound found on commercial stations these days. Triple Darkness command great respect on British shores and beyond, and rightfully so, but The Odd Couple and ‘This Thing Of Ours’ is distinctive from the TD movement, and it’s executed with engaging professionalism and undoubted passion.
By Sam Bennett