Black Josh -Ape Tape (Review)

Black Josh, Reviews

Blah Records haven’t stopped working this year; 2016 has been filled with an abundance of dope projects from the independent powerhouse, and Black Josh’s highly anticipated LP ‘Ape Tape’ continues the trend. The Mancunian MC has a diverse style, and has been building his buzz steadily through some successful projects such as the ‘Smoking Kills’ EP, as well his work with 0161 crew Levelz, and this is a concise release to close the year out.

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Josh kicks things off with ‘Yung Ratchet’, which is preceeded by a vocal intro from our evening’s host, Manchester legend Chimpo; the trapped out production and cocky vocals are executed with confidence and undeniable energy, and the incredibly simplistic ‘yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah’ chant in the hook is guaranteed to nestle itself in your ears in the days after hearing it. Cult Mountain feature on ‘Gezuntight’, and it’s is an early highlight; with swegged out lyricism, wavey flows and a slow-moving, looming beat this is classic 616 material, and the kids are bound to be hooked on their unique sarcastic take on synthesized ignorance. Milkavelli, Lee Scott, Trellion and Black Josh all come correct on this cut, with far too many quotable lines to count.

‘Lo Fi’ has a clear traditional, nineties influence, and Josh recruits frequent collaborator and fellow Mancunian MC D’Lyfa Reilly for the smooth, laidback Clay-produced track. The raw, energetic follow-up ‘Henne Boize’ is a standout from ‘The Ape Tape’ with crisp drums, funky bassline and an infectious sample-loop; Black Josh’s ability to deliver witty lyricism and flow with precision (bars) over various styles of production is very refreshing, and this makes the project consistently entertaining, and keeps the listener on their toes. The more restrained approach continues on ‘Riches’, before the project closes out on the excellent ‘Late Night Walkin’

‘Ape Tape’ is an eclectic project; it’s polished and enjoyable from front to back, and Chimpo’s hosting is certainly entertaining. No matter your stylistic preference, this release is guaranteed to have something to your taste, and Black Josh’s skill is such that even the most traditionalist boom-bap aficionado will be bouncing to the sounds of tracks like ‘Gezuntight’. Shouts to Blah for delivering the goods once more; we’ve still got a few months left this year, can they fit any more product in before we welcome in 2017? We’ll have to cross our fingers and patiently wait for the Cult’s plans to become apparent.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@BlackJoshAPE

@BlahRecords

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.blahrecords.com

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Black Josh & Pete Cannon – Smoking Kills (Review)

Black Josh, Pete Cannon, Reviews

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.

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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

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@BlackJoshAPE

@PeteCannonBeats

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.blahrecords.com/

Lee Scott & Black Josh – B Movie Millionaires (Review)

Black Josh, Lee Scott, Reviews

Blah Records continue their steady output of swegged out, quality hip hop with a 5 track EP courtesy of Lee Scott and Black Josh. This combination of original Blah head and one of the label’s new generation has worked on previous collaborative tracks, and to hear Lee Scott’s unique perspective and wit and Black Josh’s precise, skippy flow and intricate lyricism is a real treat.

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Produced in its entirety by Baileys Brown, ‘B Move Millionaires’ features a section of hauntingly raw hip hop beats for Lee and Josh to spit over. The funky loop of ‘Chicken N Chips’ is a dope way to start the project, with Lee’s original punchlines and references catching the ear like pretty much any verse of his does. King Grubb joins on this opener, and each MC laces the track with memorable verses.  Pronouncing the ‘Blah syndicate clique, the best shit since chicken and chips’, their string of excellent releases seems to prove his point perfectly.

The gloomy, grimy instrumentals of ‘Happy Land’ and ‘Dollface’ take the EP into traditional territory for Blah heads. With weeded out, hedonistic lyricism and punchlines for days, the vibe is consistent and enjoyable; the kind of hip hop Blah Records specialises in is something remarkably different from  what is going on in the rest of the scene, and it’s perfectly exemplified here. ‘Skedaddle’ is another dope menacing cut, and ‘F.H.R.I.T.P.’ is a heavy closer, with King Grubb and Stinkin Slumrok making nice appearances.

‘B Movie Millionaires’ is an EP any hip hop head should check out. Lee Scott’s discography speaks for itself, and he’s still releasing quality music, with a lot in store for the future. His new album on High Focus, entirely produced by Dirty Dike will be an exciting prospect for sure. Black Josh is making a real impact and building buzz at a rapid pace, and it’s easy to see why. Baileys Brown handles the production expertly on this EP, and the lyrics are as on point as ever. This is a quality project from two of the UK’s best MC’s.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@TinFoilFronts

@BlackJoshAPE

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.blahrecords.com

Black Josh – The Blosh EP

Black Josh, Reviews

Black Josh has had quite a year. The Manchester MC initially started to make a real impact with his appearances on The Mouse Outfit’s ‘Escape Music’, and continued his tremendous work ethic throughout 2014, with a number of excellent appearances on Blah Records projects, as well as releasing his ‘#BlahBlahBlackJosh’ mixtape through the label. He closes the year out with ‘The Blosh EP’, which is a collection of raw, boom bap beats being rocked by Black Josh’s signature rapid flow and witty stoner bars. 

Black Josh The Blosh EP

Josh begins with ‘Booker T’, featuring Cheech from The Bluntskins, another tight Manchester MC. The lazy instrumental backs both rappers who each impress with witty, well structured verses, each with nice flows. ‘Mark Dice’ is definitely a highlight, with Lee Scott and Danny Lover joining Black Josh on a swegged out anthem from the Blah cult.

Both ‘Gotta Get It’, which features frequent collaborator Wordz, and ‘Remain Raw’ show Josh at his best, with uptempo boom bap instrumentals perfectly matched to his percussive, rapid delivery. ‘The Reminder’ is a chilled vibe and is a dope track to close the project out, with its relaxed beat being laced with Josh’s confident spitting.

‘The Blosh EP’ is another nice project to add to Josh’s ever expanding discography, demonstrating consistently impressive flows and intricate writing over perfectly suited instrumentals, contributed by some of the nicest producers in the scene, including 2Late, Reklews and Illinformed, amongst others. This is definitely one to check out.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@BlackJoshAPE

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

https://blahrecords.bandcamp.com

Black Josh – #BlahBlahBlackJosh (Review)

Black Josh, Reviews

 

I’ve said before that there is a huge amount of undeniable talent coming out of Manchester at the moment, and one of the MCs making a real impact is Black Josh. He’s signed to Lee Scott’s Blah Records imprint, and is certainly surrounded by some of the countries best and most talented rappers. #BlahBlahBlackJosh is a 16 track mixtape showcasing Josh’s diversity and unique flow; he has the ability to kill a track no matter whether it’s on a smoke-infused chilled out flex, or if it’s on a more aggressive steez. Black Josh has been pushing tracks from the mixtape out for the last couple of months, along with some quality music videos, and this is definitely a very solid collection of songs.

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The mixtape kicks off with a track that reminds me somewhat of Souls of Mischief’s ’93 til Infinity’. ‘Paul Scholes’ is one of the dopest UK hip hop tunes I’ve heard for a long time. A perfectly paced instrumental with chilled out layered samples backs up Josh’s tongue twisting flow. This track is packed with on point references, and the subject matter definitely makes this track relatable and identifiable. It’s a well chosen concept, and it’s successfully done; any rap fan, or as a matter of fact any football fan will immediately be drawn into the project with this opening gambit, and it’s one of my highlights from #BlahBlahBlackJosh. 

‘Eczema’ is another track in a similar style. Jazzy piano samples lace a golden era inspired beat, and Josh’s consistent flow and well structured lyrics hold the track together perfectly. The Mancunian MC has a really good ear for beats that suit his laid-back flow and delivery, and when the instrumental and rapping style match up like they do on this track, the result is always going to be a good one. 

Black Josh has certainly made use of the talent that surrounds him, both in his city and as a result of being a part of the Blah Records powerhouse. Bill Shakes makes an appearance on ‘Ignants My Instinct’, and as a fan of the artists who have been on the Blah roster for a while, it’s sick to hear what is produced when combining the old with the new. Wordz, from Manchester, makes his first appearance on ‘Serious’. This is a trap influenced track, and hearing Josh’s rapid fire flow over a quality instrumental contributed by BeatsByO instantly proves just how many various styles he can turn his hand to. Wordz also appears on ‘Cosmic’; the opening 4 bars of this track features some really inventive and witty phrasing, making for an engaging listen.

One of the biggest treats buried in this mixtape is the undeniable head nodder ‘Cult Sag 616’ featuring the Mcabre Brothers. Don Silk, Lee Scott & Black Josh teaming up on the same track was always going to produce an absolute banger, and the haunting vibe, fantastic multi’s and sheer swag level on this track make it an instantaneous classic. Lee Scott’s verse is one of the standouts of the entire mixtape for me, with abstract references, skilful multi’s and pitch alteration to boot. ‘Killacop’ finds Josh teaming up with The Green Pooki & Salar, and this is a really dope cut on the mixtape; the slow paced instrumental is in signature Blah style, and Josh adapts perfectly. ‘Student Parties’ is another standout, with a surprising catchy hook considering the songs topic. Josh’s flow weaves over the bars, seamlessly switching into a double time style. MC Jon also appears on this track, dropping a heavy verse. The final track on #BlahBlahBlackJosh is ‘BedTimerz’, which features Truthos Mufasa & Dyslexis, and the jazzy instrumental is laced with a really chilled saxophone line. Josh, Truthos & Dyslexis are all part of Ape Cult, another Manchester based collective of hip hop musicians, and it’s another verification of the vast array of talent coming out of the city!

#BlahBlahBlackJosh is a really solid collection of tracks, spanning a wide range of styles. Black Josh consistently kills it, his flawless flow, good diction and ability to switch up his style to perfectly match whatever beat he’s rocking come together to create some really dope music. Blah Records have been storming the scene lately with proper hip hop coming out the label, whether it’s at the hands of Lee Scott, or the witty output of Tommy Dockerz, or whether it’s the ferocious flow of Black Josh, you most certainly need to pay attention.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@BlahJoshAPE

http://www.blackjosh.bandcamp.com

http://www.blahrecords.com