The Great & The Magnificent – Rebirth.Life.Death (Review)

Reviews, The Great & The Magnificent

Newcastle based rap group The Great & The Magnificent deliver the goods on the cohesive, consistent ‘Rebirth.Life.Death’. The positive undertones and unique sound make this an entertaining and enlightening release, and it’s a refreshing change from the gloomy tones of the majority of hip-hop coming out of the British shores.

T3 of legendary Detroit group Slum Village, as well as talented Atlanta vocalist Kameron Corvet, both make excellent appearances on the early highlight, ‘Back To The Future’. The crisp drums and layered, spacey effects contribute to a great showcase of The Great & The Magnificent’s adventurous sonic direction, and the interesting textures and polished production continue throughout. ‘It’s On’ is a funky, upbeat cut, and the summery vibe is complimented with melodic, charismatic flows and intricate writing. The duo are able to inject a poppy, commercial approach without any detrimental effect, which is a skill that is very hard to master.

The mellow, uplifting ‘Ruin Your Day’ is a definite standout; the simplistic, subtle production and catchy hook make for a really enjoyable cut, and The Great & The Magnificent have mastered the classy pop-rap crossover. There’s never an overload of synthesizers or riffs, and the flows and lyricism remain reaching a high standard across the project. Horns and witty bars over a crisp, traditional beat run through ‘One Last Time’, and precise flows sit in the pocket as the big-beat backs the two MCs. The LP closes out with ‘Encore’, and the dope horns and celebratory vibe finish off a cohesive, entertaining and overwhelmingly positive album from the North East partnership.

This release has crept under the radar, but it’s well worth investing your time in. The Great & The Magnificent have created a fresh, well-executed project, and ‘Rebirth.Life.Death’ is a dope showcase of their professionally structured, catchy material.

By Sam Bennett




Danny Lover – The Church Restaurant Official Soundtrack (Review)

Danny Lover, Reviews

Canadian musician Danny Lover blesses us with his latest full length project; ‘The Church Restaurant Official Soundtrack’ is a ten-track release fresh for 2017, and he partners once again with prolific underground British label Blah Records for the LP. Danny’s eclectic, experimental style has won him the attention of listeners across the globe, and this project is sure to capitalise on and further increase the stature he already enjoys.

The eery piano keys that punctuate the off-beats on ‘Secrets’ are a masterful touch on an early reminder of Danny’s super-swagged out style. The raw, slurred vocals are effortlessly delivered over the under-water vocal samples and shuffled drums, and the Blah Records MC exhibits his truly unique technique the whole way across the LP. Revered Sheffield lyricist and Bad Taste Records representative Trellion appears on the gorgeous, soulful ‘Skinny Pimp’. Lover and Trelli are both renowned for their super-slow flows (if you’re not a fan, Danny’s calling you out on here), and the smoked-out vibe is expertly handled.

The rising trend in cinematic, subtle beats with no drums is a welcome new tradition in hip-hop, and Danny seamlessly delivers his vivid lyrics on a simplistic string-based production on the emphatic ‘Lex’. It’s not easy to make this sound so fluid, and it’s a true testament to the Canadian spitter’s ability and natural charisma that this is one of the album’s finest. ‘Rare Nirvana’ features fellow Blah heads Salar and Lee Scott, and the witty, sing-a-long chorus is partnered with verses packed with banging punchlines from the dope line-up of MC’s dropping with precision over a dreamy instrumental. The penultimate tune ‘Rose Garden’ is a mellow, jazzy number; the dusty drums, gracious sax and melodic vocal blend to make a stunning cut in the closing stages.

The consistent, absorbing vibe on ‘The Church Restaurant Official Soundtrack’ makes the album wonderfully hypnotic; Danny commands a great vocabulary, and encompasses vivid imagery, slick punchlines and a charismatic demeanour that makes this latest release a resounding achievement. Blah Records have done it again, and with a few more months left in the year, the prolific label is bound to have a couple more things up it’s sleeve.

By Sam Bennett





Nitty Scott – Creature (Review)

Nitty Scott, Reviews

East coast MC Nitty Scott may have first caught your attention as a part of No Panty (along with Joell Ortiz and Bodega Bamz), and their 2016 LP release ‘Westside Highway Story’, but the nifty spitter is well and truly an artist in her own right. She’s been grinding with some dope mixtapes, EPs and features over the past few years, as well as the 2014 LP ‘The Art Of Chill’, but ‘Creature’ is Scott’s most ambitious work yet.

The album opens with the off-kilter ‘La Diaspora’; the track features Belgian musician Zap Mama, and the frantic, upbeat percussive instrumental backs staccato, energetic spitting from the Brooklyn born MC. The energetic, charismatic approach extends throughout ‘Creature’, and the musical, adventurous approach is refreshing and entertaining from front to back. The eclectic stylistic journey continues on the excellent ‘Negrita’; a mixture of crossover-ready electronic influence, savage lyricism and impressive melodic performances makes the intoxicating tune a definite highlight.

Scott exhibits masterful subtlety on the acoustic-guitar driven ‘Nitty Scott For Sarah Baartman’, and the intricate writing and solid flow results in a concise and captivating cut. The New York rapper keeps a strong hip-hop sensibility throughout the full length project, whilst maintaining a current, accessible sound. The trap-infused ‘In The Water’ is a prime example, with swelling synths and hard-hitting drums making for an intense backdrop which allows Scott to excel with cutting lines. ‘Mango Juice’ closes out the LP, and the frantic, bass-heavy production is a perfect match as Nitty displays her colossal charisma for the final time.

‘Creature’ is a musical, adventurous and exciting project from a talented young MC who is going from strength to strength. Nitty Scott allows her own voice to shine on this LP, with a couple of well-chosen guest appearances providing dope intervals from the Brooklyn lyricist’s savage flows. The eclectic production, and energetic approach gives the project great continuity, and Nitty’s upbeat, technical writing is a perfect blend for the polished instrumentals.

By Sam Bennett




Blind MIC – Codeine Bluez (Review)

Blind Mic, Reviews

Manchester MC Blind MIC debuts his drug dependent, lazy vibes with the ‘Codeine Bluez’ EP. With clear inspiration taken from the trap flavours coming out of the states, the current sound is executed professionally, resulting in a concise, enjoyable project.

The hazed out, slow-rolling vibe is exemplified on the album’s opener, and remains a consistent throughout the six track offering. The waved ‘Out’ is a highlight for sure; the simplistic, precise flow is slurred over a bouncy, polished production courtesy of Skrrt Cobain, who handles all but one of the tunes on ‘Codeine Bluez’.

The funky bass and airy synthesizers of ‘Snap’ make the track another standout. Blind MIC drops relaxed bars, free-of-concept with a mellow delivery as he rhymes charismatically about smoking trees and drinking lean. Metrodome and Kydro lend their hand on the production for ‘Stack’, and the Mancunian beatmakers create a jazzy, trap-infused banger for MIC to lace with confident verses.

Blind MIC exhibits a unique sound on the short project, and the EP is the perfect length to introduce listeners to his trippy sessions. The production provides a perfect backdrop for the accessible vocal flavours, which impress both with rap-technique and melodic capability.

By Sam Bennett



Skyzoo – Peddler Themes (Review)

Reviews, Skyzoo

‘Peddler Themes’ serves as a prelude of sorts for Skyzoo’s upcoming LP ‘Celebration Of Us’, scheduled for release at the end of the year. The New York lyricist showcases his smooth flow, intricate rhymes and experienced technique across this enjoyable eight track EP, which is guaranteed to stay on any boom bap fan’s playlist for the foreseeable future.

The dusty, soulful ‘Bamboo’ is a dope cut; the instrumental’s off-kilter textures during the verses are partnered with subtle, jazzy brass-lines in the cool, calm chorus. Skyzoo’s lyrical prowess is well-known amongst rhyme enthusiasts, and his ear for tasteful beats that compliment his developed style is a strong skill to have. ‘Finesse Everything’ is a definite highlight; summer, old-school vibes provide a pocket that Sky always shines in, and the melodic, precise flow is executed as professionally as ever.

Revered Ner Jersey musician !llmind’s knocking, nineties influenced production on ‘Let It Fly’ makes for an impressive track; the crisp snares and filtered, soulful vocal chops back confident, cocky stanzas from the Brooklyn based writer. The sophisticated, tasteful production continues on ’95 Bad Boy Logo’, with a dope mixture of traditional influence offset by quirky, synthetic lines courtesy of Atlanta beatsmith Tuamie. The cohesive sound of ‘Peddler Themes’ makes the concise EP a chilled, mellow listen, and the stellar line-up of producers makes the project one that will standout in Skyzoo’s already impressive discography.

‘Peddler Themes’ is another reminder that the lyrical, soulful hip-hop of years gone past is still well and truly alive. Skyzoo commands a masterful penmanship, and the musicality of the producers on display allow him to paint vividly with his complex, heartfelt delivery. The New York spitter has dropped an EP that will be a guaranteed fan favourite, although if you’re a less seasoned Skyzoo listener, it’s not a bad introduction either.

By Sam Bennett





EazyMan – Eazy Street (Review)

EazyMan, Reviews

Croydon MC EazyMan delivers his full length release ‘Eazy Street’, and it’s a high-octane ride with a dope mixture of bass music, grime and trap throughout. The authoritative approach is a resounding success, and the lively sound is cohesive and consistent; Eazy matches a commercial, current vibe with dense, biographical lyrics in a truly vivid fashion, and ‘Eazy Street’ makes a powerful first impression.

‘Work Rate’ is the project’s opener, and the hard-hitting, deep bassline, rattling percussion and trapped out beat compliments Eazy’s powerful, grimy delivery perfectly. Confident flows and punchline-heavy bars make for an energetic, entertaining first track that sets the upbeat, pounding tone that carries through the twelve track tape. ‘Man Like This’ is a standout cut, and the London lyricist drops precise flows with swagger and witty lines infused throughout the heavy verses. Unashamedly cocky, the shots sent in all directions at inferior guys are delivered over a relentlessly frantic beat, and Eazy’s charismatic, likeable character takes the track to the next level.

‘3 Chapters’ is another great showcase of EazyMan’s diversity; he executes a sound that is reminiscent of the Chicago drill inspired music that is coming out of the UK capital in vast quantities. Eazy’s bars are packed with realness, and his matter-of-fact bar-structure makes the impact all the more substantial. The intense ‘Get Em’ is another highlight, and the rowdy, percussive production, with it’s banging kicks and gritty synths, backs EazyMan’s dynamic voice as he flows seamlessly over the unrelenting instrumental. ‘Government Slaves’ is the penultimate cut, and the bouncy vibe is partnered with intelligent subject matter. The social commentary and club-ready production is a welcome blend, and is a testament to the originality on offer with this release.

EazyMan’s writing is packed with punchlines, and although they’re sometimes a little predictable, they are always witty and expertly delivered. He rides the beat with experience and a confident demeanour, and this is a key factor in ‘Eazy Street’s success. This is his debut full length project, and it’s a wild, diverse step into the game; if the originality and well-balanced sound continue, there will be far more quality music to come from the Croydon MC.

By Sam Bennett




Heavy Links – Step Up To Get Your Rep (Review)

Heavy Links, Reviews

Lincoln trio Heavy Links deliver the debut album ‘Step Up To Get Your Rep Up’, and it’s a continuation of the sound the collective have developed over the years. They’ve released a wealth of material, but this is the first full length, and Habitat, El Tel The Dopeness and Donnie Propa demonstrate their talent for straight up, no frills, nineties influenced rap music across the LP’s eleven tracks.

‘Mic Check’ is the opening track, following a slick boom bap intro, and the hard-hitting drums and subtle vocal chops are a perfect introduction to the Lincoln crew if you’re unfamiliar with their work. They have a discography that exemplifies their technical lyrical approach; busy bars are crammed full with syllables, and the unique direction has allowed them to carve their own niche, whilst maintaining a strictly traditional hip-hop ethos throughout their career.

The relentless dusty kicks and snares continue throughout; the professional, clear mix is really impressive, and tracks like ‘Rope Chain Hierarchy’ stand out because of it. Reverb-drenched soul samples, punchy drums and polished penmanship combine to make one of the album’s standout songs. The crisp boom bap is effortlessly executed on the excellent ‘On The Real’, and the descriptive, imagery infused bars are delivered with sophistication and clear experience.

The LP is populated by some dope instrumental interludes, and El Tel’s production throughout ‘Step Up To Get Your Rep Up’ is authentic, golden era hip-hop to that very last hi hat. The album is sure to be on any rap connoisseur’s rotation with it’s consistent, cohesive sound. The project is free to download, but there are physicals available too, so make sure you support this one; Heavy Links are representing the East Midlands to the fullest with this one, and their homegrown hip-hop is seamlessly delivered.

By Sam Bennett




Chris Rivers – Delorean (Review)

Chris Rivers, Reviews

Bronx lyricist Chris Rivers has developed his reputation as one of the young MCs on the circuit to keep a keen eye on. A string of solid mixtape releases and heavy feature verses has found the East Coast MC steadily building his acclaim and respect amongst peers and listeners alike. Renowned for being the son of legendary rapper Big Pun, ‘Delorean’ is his debut album release, and it finds him carving out his own niche across the lengthy project.

Opening with the textured, energetic title-track, Chris Rivers sets the tone of the uptempo, dense sounds found across this debut project. Intricate writing and precise flows are exhibited over a rowdy, synthetic production that is perfect for Chris’ complex structures. ‘Bag’ finds the east coast wordsmith embracing the current sound for a relentless, banger beat, and Rivers’ confident delivery makes it a definite success. ‘Chris Time Zone’ is the first in a series of short, boom bap cuts that break up the album, and the rapid-fire spitting is solidly in-pocket, and the soulful beat is head-nodding hypnotic hip-hop at it’s best.

The smooth flows of ‘Old Thing Back’ are silkily executed; the radio-friendly cut is still packed with hip-hop sensibilities (just listen to the great hook, performed by vocalist Lydia Ceaser), and it’s a testament to Chris Rivers’ authenticity that this is delivered so impressively. Frequent collaborator Whispers kills his feature on the second in the ‘Time Zone’ series, and the melodic delivery and punchline-laced lyricism makes this a dope, short-knit appearance. Rivers recruits a selection of New York legends for the brilliant ‘Fair One’; Lil Fame, Sheek Louch and Styles P destroy the classic, hard-hitting boom bap beat with a series of forceful verses.

Rising New York spitter Oswin Benjamin features on the third and final installment of the ‘Time Zone’ series; his laidback tone is infused with charisma, whilst maintaining heartfelt emotion in his delivery throughout the two-minute track. Oswin also appears on the following cut, ‘No Gives’. Skippy flows fall over a simplistic, trap-infused beat, and the mixture of traditional influence and modern direction is a fitting vibe for the ‘Delorean’ name. The LP still manages to maintain it’s cohesion, and for a debut project, it was definitely an ambitious undertaking. Decauter rapper Jarren Benton kills his feature on the standout ‘Nothing’; the two lyricists weave seamlessly with frantic bars over an intense production.

Chris Rivers exhibits an eclectic ear on ‘Delorean’, and the varied approach makes the ride far more entertaining than your average trip. The LP is populated by one or two many interludes, but the dense lyrical approach, classy production and consistent quality makes this an impressive first outing for the Bronx MC.

By Sam Bennett




Bugzy Malone – King Of The North (Review)

Bugzy Malone, Reviews

Bugzy Malone has built a dedicated fanbase with a number of hughly viewed videos and a series of dope EP’s. He’s been grinding for years, with mixtapes dating back to the beginning of the decade, but it’s in recent hears that he’s catapaulted to the forefront of the scene. ‘King Of The North’ finds him sending shots at his rivals over dense, stylish beats with his signature swagger on full display.

Bugzy demonstrates his acclaimed energy on the relentless ‘Aggy Wid It’. Connor McGregor punchlines, technical lyricism and confidence in abundance is a perfect partner for the raw, rowdy production on this early highlight. It’s easy to see why the Mancunian MC is so revered by fans around the country. Legendary garage duo DJ Luck and MC Neat appear on the uptempo ‘Through The Night’. Bugzy’s ability to blend authentic, aggressive bars with catchy hooks has taken him to stratospheric levels, and his execution on this banger is a shining example.

‘Bruce Wayne’ is classic Malone. The intense, gritty verses are delivered at high speed with a formidable presence and precise flow. The simplistic chorus is flawless, and the track doesn’t let the energy slip for a second; if you’ve not seen the brilliant visuals for this single you need to get that YouTube tab open right now. The EP closes out with the swelling synths and rattling hi-hats of ‘Sniper’. Bugzy ends with a quality track that finds him declaring himself the sickest spitter out here with distinctive flows that switch-up at a moment’s notice.

‘King Of The North’ is a bold claim; there’s a huge number of talented MC’s in the various cities around the top half of the country, but Bugzy Malone is most definitely in the conversation. The eight-track EP is a reminder of his formidable flow, unmistakable voice and passionate presence, and he delivers a very entertaining project with this consistently lively selection.

By Sam Bennett




El Prez & Coopatroop – Labtrappincalifornia (Review)

Coopatroop, El Prez, Reviews

Inglewood rapper El Prez links up with Coopatroop for his latest release entitled ‘Labtrappincalifornia’. The MC & producer partnership results in stellar music here, and Prez’s distinct west-coast style is perfectly complimented by the New Jersey beatsmith’s eclectic techniques behind the boards.

The LP opens with ‘Highs + Lows’; the jazzy keys are spliced with swelling synthesizers as El Prez showcases his hazy, chilled-delivery and smooth flow over Coopatroop’s bouncy, trap-infused flavours. The duo blend traditional boom bap with an up-to-date twist, and the mellow highlight ’20 Karats On The Wrist’ impresses with a simplistic, catchy hook, subtle vocal presence and crisp, groovy beat. The chemistry on display here is quite clear, and the cohesive, under-stated hip-hop is executed with exhilerating sophistication.

C Plus features on the uptempo title-track, and the melodic, skippy flows are backed by a cool, wavy instrumental, with the expert chops of Coopatoop on full display once again. ‘The Winners Is…’ finds Queens spitter Koncept appearing with a dope, charismatic verse, and the raw, glitchy production mixed with the cocky deliveries of both talented MCs makes the hard-hitting track one of the best tracks of the album. The soulful ‘Hall Of Fame’ is a stylish closer. The eclectic styles on display across the project is a testament to the prowess of the two musicians, and it all just sounds so effortless.

El Prez has a discography packed with solid releases, and after a couple of years without a project dropping, ‘Labtrappincalifornia’ is welcome return for the California lyricist. Coopatroop puts in the work here too, and the collaboration between rapper and producer results in a consistent and polished sound that makes this LP a definite underground sleeper.

By Sam Bennett