Bisk – Gutter City (Review)

Bisk, Reviews

London MC Bisk is one of the most consistent and entertaining writers active right now. He’s been releasing a steady stream of quality projects, and ‘Gutter City’ is the latest in the ever-growing catalogue. Released through Radio Juicy, the eighteen-track album features Stinkin Slumrok, aptly credited on the front cover, featuring on five of the songs on here, alongside a selection of top drawer lyricists. If you’re familiar with Bisk’s work then you know that this is going to be good, if not then strap yourself in and turn up the dial.

‘Guttercitysh!t’ features Stinkin, and the looming, murky beat is comprised of pounding, lo-fi kicks and haunting sound effects. Bisk and Slummy both deliver verses packed with charisma and unorthodox swagger, and this LP is a memorable showcase of their dynamic flavours. ‘Wildcheese’ is a definite standout. The slow-moving cut features intense verses from Jack Danz and Slumrok; the eclectic styles on display are flawlessly balanced, and the production is impeccable too. Bisk’s skill is perhaps best exemplified over gritty, off-kilter production; a perfect example is the brilliant ‘Mynigga’. The track clocks in at under two-minutes, and the prolific, dexterous vocal is executed with an effortlessly mellow delivery.

‘Smoke’ is a track that has been doing the rounds on soundcloud, and from the moment the raw loop kicks in it’s easy to see why. Slumrok, Sniff, Danz and Bisk drop flawless verses laced with witty punchlines, and the melting pot of styles and accents results in a clear-cut highlight. Jack Danz once showcases again his penchant for cutting, hard-hitting quotables here; he spits “Modus operandi. We treat a rock of mandy like some popping candy”. I mean, come on. Bisk recruits Blah veteran Sly Moon for the jazzy ‘Coldsagfunk’. The reverb drenched snare and crisp hi-hats back the two lyricists as they spit with a silky demeanour and smooth flows on this classy track.

The glitchy ‘SwampaZe’ features West Yorkshire duo The NorthaZe, and this is a collaboration that was meant to happen. Bisk, Kosi Tides and Swish move seamlessly over the bouncy instrumental, and the leftfield approach makes this a brilliantly exuberant track that illustrates the wealth of talent on display. ‘Ere’ is a characteristically dark banger, and is a fantastic ending track (not including the outro ‘Uzi’); the sparse drums and screwface-inducing bassline are a winning formula, and Bisk’s menacing delivery is the final piece of the puzzle.

‘Gutter City’ is a cohesive body of work, and Bisk’s unique style is captivating for the duration. Dope collaborations and seamless production are key ingredients, and the standard of writing on display here is tremendously impressive. This isn’t a stroke of luck though; Bisk’s discography is packed to the brim with heavy releases, and if the recent past is anything to go by, there’ll probably be another banging project from Bisk online somewhere before you’ve finished reading this review.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.radiojuicy.com/album/gutter-city

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

Sleazy F Baby – All Blahk Tracksuit (Review)

Reviews, Sleazy F Baby, Wordz

Blah Records continue their incredibly impressive streak of releases this year with ‘All Blahk Tracksuit’, the new project from Manchester MC Sleazy F Baby. With a select few in-house features and a unique sonic direction, Sleazy is representing for a new generation of rappers. This takes the traditional hip-hop sound that is so often the standard formula for UK artists, and fuses it with trap-inspired flows and quirky production.

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Opening the LP (after an introduction from Black Josh) is the title-track, and if you weren’t prepared for the rowdy, hard-hitting and unashamedly weird sound showcased across the whole of Sleazy’s debut LP, this track is guaranteed to put you in the right mindset. The simplistic but energetic instrumental backs the Mancunian MC as he drops bars with wit, intensity and a ferocious delivery. The trap influence is clear, with skippy flows and stuttering production, both of which are touches found across the entirety of ‘All Blahk Tracksuit’. ‘From The Bits’ follows, and the more traditional sounding cut is a hard-hitting anthem, with a brilliant accompanying video. The raw attitude Sleazy exhibits with effortless finesse is packed with dope quotables and relentlessly ignorant content; ‘this the might have fucked your baby-mother flow’ being just one small segment. It’s incredibly entertaining and the beat is an absolute banger too.

‘Y.N.I.F’ is dope; the crisp drums, weird samples and in-your-face attitude from Sleazy combine to make it a standout from the ‘All Blahk Tracksuit’ mixtape. The off-kilter double-bass riff and invasive, experimental jazz flips make for one of the most memorable beats on the entire project, and the Manchester MC drops his bars with precision and passion. ‘Sleazy’ is another brutally delivered cut; the aggressive and energetic flows and deliveries sound sick over the bassy, modern production. Any heads who are of the opinion that hip-hop in the UK sticks purely to the traditional, boom-bap ethos needs to check out ‘All Blahk Tracksuit’ for a refreshing and enjoyable perspective.

Fellow Blah MC Stinkin Slumrok joins Sleazy on the wavey ’21’, and Slumrok’s verse is charismatic and outlandish, which has come to be expected from the North London spitter. ‘Rob The Plug’ features upcoming rapper Bisk, and the gritty production is both dusty and synthetic, a combination which appears throughout the project, and it goes a long way to making it cohesive and consistent. ‘Ignorant Shiznit’, featuring Black Josh, is a late highlight, with a gloomy atmosphere executed smoothly over the subtlest instrumental on the entire release.

Wildly entertaining, relentlessly banging and instantly recognisable, Sleazy F Baby has dropped a very impressive debut project. This off-kilter direction fits perfectly with the Blah aesthetic, but he’s certainly carved out his own niche with the ‘All Blahk Tracksuit’ release. The beats are heavy, and the same can be said for the bars, and any hip-hop head is going to thoroughly enjoy this one.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@SleazyFBaby

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.blahrecords.com

Morriarchi – Buggzville Sessions (Review)

Morriarchi, Reviews

Blah Records continue their insanely productive 2016 with the release of ‘Buggzville Sessions’, the full length LP from longstanding and respected producer Morriarchi, with features from a who’s who of the best in hip-hop from the British Isles, as well as Canadian MC Danny Lover also making an appearance.

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The menacing ‘Hush Ya Beak’, with it’s glitchy drums and screeching samples, is a perfect opener; it serves both as a reminder or as an introduction (depending upon your familiarity with Morri’s work) to his distinctively gloomy, hard-hitting sound. The shrouded-in-mystery MC Rox Slicken appears on this first cut, and he absolutely destroys the unorthodox beat.

‘Campbell & Algar’ is a slow-moving, swegged out banger from two of the UK’s finest lyricists. Jehst and Lee Scott collaborate on what is a long anticipated pairing for rap fans the underground over, and it doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. This is witty, sarcastic hip-hop at it’s genius best; Lee’s savage bar claiming just how much of the pie is his is a standout, and Billy Brimstone’s ‘Why everybody wanna rap hella fast? I’m in the bath with a copy of The Telegraph’ lyric is simply incredible. Only Jehst could make such a simplistic segment of writing sound so poignant.

Welsh Collective Squid Ninjaz are represented by MC’s Hekla and Joe Dirt who appear on ‘Roach Lyfe’. The gritty, grimey and smoked out production, which comes complete with hazy switch-up’s that compliment the lyrics as they hammer through the system, is absolutely fire, and the hard-hitting lyricism is silkily executed. Morri’s remix of Bisk’s tune ‘Pimpfunk’, which was originally produced by Lee Scott and was released on Bisk’s ‘Raw Shit’ EP, is up next. The smooth, cinematic, Tarantino-esque production takes Bisk’s raw, passionate vocal to an entirely different place from the upfront, hard-hitting original version.

Sheffield veterans Trellion and Sniff appear on ‘Buggzville’ and the leftfield, tripped out beat is perfect for both Northern lyricists’ cocky, laidback styles. Trellion’s verse shines, with some characteristic quotables; ‘I’m way iller anyday/but I don’t know shit about shit, who the fuck’s J Dilla anyway’ is just one of many. The Danny Lover solo track ‘Kapcha’ is the highlight of the LP, with the phased, affected bluesy guitar samples perfectly combining with Danny’s lazy flow and infectious delivery.

The album closes out with a Bisk solo track, entitled ‘No Phone Calls’; the simplistic, subtle production backs the Blah MC’s savage tongue as he delivers relentless screwface-inducing bars with a mixture of passionate realness and comedic flourishes.

‘Buggzville Sessions’ is quality through and through; the dark soundscape created takes a few listens to properly comprehend, but the vibe Morriarchi creates is thoroughly original and leaves a lasting impression long after Lee Scott’s adlibs on the final song have faded from the speakers. Blah Records’ talented roster is represented heavily on this release, and with Sleazy F Baby’s solo project due for release very soon they show no sign of slowing down.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@Morriarchi

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://blahrecords.com

Cult Of The Damned – Cult Of The Damned (Review)

Cult Of The Damned, Reviews

Longstanding fans of Blah Records will remember the Children Of The Damned clique, and 2015 brings the reincarnation of the legendary posse. Cult Of The Damned features a mixture of old school and new school Blah heads, and their first release is this four track EP.

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The self-titled opening track, and first single, is the perfect way to introduce the crew. It’s a back to back onslaught of bars over a gritty instrumental, and is a throwback to the cypher’s found throughout albums like ‘Tourette’s Camp’ and ‘Brick Pelican’.

‘Sugar Water’ features jazzy samples and crisp production; the vibe of the music is a perfect bridge between the original Children Of The Damned material, and the gloomier sound exploited in recent years.

MCs like Black Josh, Bisk and Stinkin Slumrok fall in line next to veterans such as Tony Broke, Bill Shakes and Lee Scott. ‘Stinky Posse’ is a crunchy, murky closer; the diverse range of MCs in the Cult line-up is consistently entertaining across the four tracks.

I have a feeling this is just a glimpse of what’s to come from Cult Of The Damned. It’s definitely an exciting prospect for any longtime follower of the Blah movement, and this EP is a must for any hip-hop head.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@BlahRecords

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.blahrecords.com

Stinkin Slumrok – Don Pong (Review)

Reviews, Stinkin Slumrok

Blah Records signee Stinkin Slumrok has released his debut project, an eighteen track project showcasing a versatile skill set, an excellent ear for beats and a raw, rugged vibe throughout. ‘Don Pong’ is a really consistent album, with a sparse selection of suitable guests and beats contributed by a range of heavyweight producers, including Sam Zircon, BadHabitz and Reklews.

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‘At The Ready’ is the opening track, and the storming, militant beat and Slumrok’s aggression make it successful and convincing. With charismatic and humourous lyrics, as well as as a seriously good delivery, it’s clear from the offset that Stinkin Slumrok is a really dope MC. ‘Dawn French’ follows, and the collaboration with Bristol’s Res One, from the Split Prophets crew, was one of the first Slumrok tracks to come on our radar when the video dropped back in March 2014. It’s still just as good. ‘Pass It On’, produced by Illinformed, is a laidback, spaced out tune, and Slumrok shows his versatility early on.

The menacing ‘Archive’ features a dusty, slow moving boom bap instrumental, and Slumrok drops raw flows; the Blah Record spitter sounds at home over the gritty, nineties inspired beats found throughout ‘Don Pong’. This continues with ‘Microphone Junkie’, the subtle production from Sam Zircon lends itself to the authentic vibe portrayed by Slumrok, and the aggressive, threatening feel of ‘Toucan Trees’ continues a run of solid tracks. ‘YBS’, a tripped out collaboration with Mancunian MC and fellow Blah head Black Josh, is a slow-paced banger, and ‘Wipeout’ is one of the standouts of the whole project, with a restrained, creepy beat and exceptionally convincing performance from Slumrok.

‘Dinner’s Ready’ continues the haunting vibe reminiscent of early Blah/COTD material, which Slummy references in the lyrics. ‘Word 2 Wazu’ follows, and this is the highlight of the tape. A fantastic and insanely energetic Sumgii instrumental backs Slumrok as he delivers an onslaught of bars with a charismatic delivery and first class flow. The obligatory cypher cut come in the form of ‘Wrong Pong Posse’. Frequent collaborator Bisk, Triple Darkeness’ Ray Vendatta, North London MC Flowtecs and veteran Lee Scott join Stinkin Slumrok on a raw Morriachi instrumental, and each spitter represents and impresses. ‘Fiens’ takes more of an introspective and reflective take, and the soulful ‘On My Way’ showcases yet another different approach. ‘Don Pong’ finishes incredibly strongly, with a run of quality tracks, and the closer, entitled ‘Bat Billaz’, matches chilled production with intensely delivered lyricism.

‘Don Pong’ is impressive. The versatility present is refreshing, and Slumrok flips from relatable, often witty bars to layered, thoughtful writing (perhaps more so towards the back end of the album) with an abundance of punchlines littered between. The range of styles evident on the production side is great too, and makes for an interesting journey with plenty of twists and turns. This is certainly one to check, and with this being his debut project, Slumrok has definitely made his mark.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@StinkinSlumrok

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.blahrecords.com

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

Lee Scott – CactusOwlMoonGoat (Review)

Lee Scott, Reviews

Lee Scott needs no introduction. Blah Records have long been one of the most respected UK hip hop record labels, with a huge catalogue of classic releases, and Lee has been storming the scene as of late with some quality music. This is his latest project, entitled ‘CactusOwlMoonGoat’, and it’s packed with dusty jazz samples, hard hitting drums and the special breed of intricate lyricism only Lee Scott can deliver.

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Lee Scott begins this journey with ‘So Cactus So Owl’, which is produced by Dirty Dike and Molotov. The smokey brass samples back Lee as he spits with an engaging and hypnotising swagger. Lee drops some heavy quotable’s, including ‘If i was wack, wack’d be the new dope’, and the way he combines abstract imagery with a straight up British attitude makes for a really dope listen.

‘Craig Mack’ is an immense track, and Lee is joined on here by Black Josh. Name-checking various Bad Boy artists in various clever ways, Lee Scott absolutely kills the haunting instrumental, produced by Morriachi, asking ‘Who the fuck’s the Benjamin and why’s it all about him?’. Black Josh’s verse is tight and precise, he is definitely one to watch over the next year or so, with an instantly recognisable tone and flow.

The Blah Records head honcho proclaims ‘I only drink on days ending in Y’ on ‘Axl Rose’, and the slow moving instrumental is another atmospheric one, again produced by Morriachi. Following this track comes ‘Me O’Clock’, which is definitely one of the standouts. The silky piano samples, courtesy of Illinformed, back Lee as he spits about living on your own time, and this track has been on repeat since I first heard it.

Stinkin Slumrok puts in a savage performance on ‘Why Clef?’, with a consistent flow and gritty presence. Slumrok has some really dope tracks and video’s on YouTube, and he is definitely another one to watch. ‘Stanley’s Friends’ is another standout, with Lee being joined by Hibernation, who delivers a heavy verse, as well as a pitched up and down verse from WH@IB££, whose identity seems to be a mystery. The sheer weirdness of this track makes it an absolute banger.

Following this comes ‘Sink’, which is a far more chilled affair, again seeing Lee Scott drop the knowledge, spitting ‘with the IQ of Jesus, and a black belt in genius’. The fantastic references in the Blah head honcho’s lyrics always add so much to a track, and this is a case in point. The album closes with ‘Ellesse, Ellesse’, and Lee is joined here once again by Black Josh. Lee’s double time spitting impresses, proclaiming ‘I blow my own trumpet like Dizzy Gillespie’, and Black Josh’s charismatic appearance is also very effective.

‘CactusOwlMoonGoat’ is one of the most cohesive and impressive albums i’ve heard come out of the UK hip hop scene. Lee Scott’s ear for dark, atmospheric instrumentals, as well as his ability to also kill the more jazzy, sample heavy beats, sets him apart from his peers. There isn’t a weak track on here, and Blah Records is surely set to be one of the main players in the game for the foreseeable future.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@tinfoilfronts

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.blahrecords.com