Bisk – Yasuke (Review)

Bisk, Reviews

Bisk returns with yet another project for fans of the underground lyricist to fiend over; the brilliantly consistent and dedicated wordsmith drops ‘Yasuke’, a six-track EP produced entirely by veteran rapper and producer Lee Scott. The subtle, lofi production is matched with smoked out, gritty verses from Bisk throughout this succinct project.

Blah Records veteran Salar accompanies on early highlight ‘Nina’; the slow-moving, dark flavours of the instrumental are perfect for Bisk’s hushed, menacing tones. Salar’s cocky delivery and hard-hitting quotables are on full display too, and the collaboration is a testament to the longstanding quality of the Cult’s material. The Blah camp has been ahead of the curve since it’s inception, and it’s great that those so important to it’s early success are still putting in the work. ‘The Art Of War’ is a crisp, jazzy cut and Bisk’s intricate writing, creative references and raw vocal are endlessly entertaining. It’s no surprise he’s one of the most hotly tipped MC’s on the circuit right now.

The stuttered snare drums and complex lyricism of ‘Ronin’ make it a memorable track; the building intensity and aggression are enthralling, and Bisk sounds so comfortable as he laces the off-kilter beat with his precise, recognisable flow. Salar appears once again on the dusty banger ‘Tzunami’. The simple loop allows the Liverpool and London spitters to weave seamlessly across the chopped samples, and the attitude and confidence on show make for one of the best tracks from the ‘Yasuke’ EP. Precise internal rhymes and hard-hitting punchlines of ‘Ravioli’ make it an energetic closer, and the concise project is masterfully executed and undeniably entertaining from start to finish.

Serving as a prelude to a full length Bisk project with Lee Scott as the sole producer, ‘Yasuke’ is another dope release to add to the growing catalogue. Bisk’s versatility and creative style makes him a truly distinctive artist, and the sheer abundance of quality material the London MC is bringing to the table makes him one of the most interesting characters in the scene. Blah Records already carries a formidable reputation, but with releases and artists of this stature on it’s roster, the collective is only going to continue grow.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@BlahRecords

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.blahrecords.com

 

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

Bisk – Don’t Piss It Off (Review)

Bisk, Reviews

There’s no stopping Blah Records this year; the longstanding independent label continues its incredibly productive schedule with the release of ‘Don’t Piss It Off’, an LP from London MC Bisk with production handled by North London beatsmith Formz.

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The LP opens with ‘Slippin’, and the gloomy, slow-moving instrumental backs Bisk’s signature gritty, cocky lyricism and murky flows as he drops hard-hitting punchlines in creative bars laced with vivid imagery and drenched in swagger. ‘Big City’ features veteran Blah MC Lee Scott, and the crisp, jazzy drums and haunting piano lines are perfect for Bisk’s braggodious approach, and Lee’s witty verse is an absolute killer, and finds the Runcorn lyricist spitting quotables such as “lost in me own mind/The Higgs boson was in me pocket the whole time” and the genius closing bar “why? It’s just the letter after X”.

‘Cult De Sag’ is a banging posse cut; the track features Danny Lover, Salar and Sleazy F Baby and the four Blah heads go back to back cramming in short, energetic verses. The track lasts just over two minutes, but the concise format definitely works in it’s favour. Sheffield based MC Sniff appears on the lazy, ultra-chilled ‘Beazy’; Formz’s low-key production and the intoxicating vocals from both rappers make this track a highlight of the ‘Don’t Piss It Off’ LP. Closing out on the subtle piano based ‘Marooned’, the concise, cohesive project is yet another one to add to Blah Records ever-growing discography; the independent label is enjoying one of it’s most consistent and creative periods in it’s decade long history, and Bisk is one of several new additions to the roster that has been killing it for the past year or so.

With one of the most impressive work-rates in the game, Bisk is one to keep tabs on. ‘Don’t Piss It Off’ is the latest in a healthy run of projects for the London MC; with Formz at the helm of the beats, Bisk is free to let loose with his razor sharp pen-game, bringing a unique and distinctive outlook to the table, executed with flair and finesse across the album’s ten tracks (discounting the intro and outro). Something tells me it won’t be too long before we hear from the Blah MC again, but until then ‘Don’t Piss It Off’ is sure to remain in rotation for the foreseeable future.

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

Sam Zircon – Anxiety Skits (Review)

Reviews, Sam Zircon

Blah Records continue their consistent dominance of all things hip-hop with the release of ‘Anxiety Skits’, the new instrumental project from Sam Zircon, a producer who has worked with a host of the heaviest names in British hip-hop including Black Josh, Cappo, Stinkin Slumrok and many more. This newest LP finds him taking a more quirky and experimental approach than much of his previous work, and the varies sonic influences and soundscapes stretch across thirty different cuts which exhibits Sam’s sampling chops and unique musical direction.

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With the bassy, lo-fi ‘Tranq’ providing a great introduction to the vibe of the project, Sam’s subtle chops and leftfield resourcing is intoxicating from the outset. The smoked out, slow-paced vibe of the beats on ‘Anxiety Skits’ are trance-inducing, and the gritty, grimey bassine of ‘Narrrgh’, which is laced with an off-kilter selection of synths and ambient samples. The weirded out ‘Take It Or Leave It’ is a definite highlight; the crunchy boom bap-esque drums, the feel it in your face bass, and basically, the wind, combine to result in a thoroughly absorbing instrumental. The pounding ‘Chopstick Splinters’ is one of the more traditional hip-hop numbers on the project, and the sparse baseline and stuttered snares make for a hard-hitting head nodder.

The off-key, spooky and clunky keys on ‘Broking’ are exceptional, and the moody production, just out of earshot vocal samples and crisp percussion are classily executed by Sam Zircon on this standout cut. The mellow ‘Evening In The Swamp’ is restrained and effective, and the following track ‘No Knocking’ is a hypnotic loop laced with great jazzy brass samples to keep the neck snapping. The tripped-out vocal on ‘Who Are You’ is dope, as is the simplistic, tight drum pattern, ‘You Know The Story’ is another cut with a dusty, lo-fi vibe and the short reflective, somber sample-based ‘Au Reservoir’ rounds the beat-tape off.

This is one for more than your traditionalist hip-hop heads. If you’re a fan of Blah’s output you’ll enjoy this for sure, and if you’re looking for instrumentals that take a different direction from standard drums and soulful samples ‘Anxiety Skits’ is packed to the brim with them. If you do like that tried-and-tested formula I’m sure that this will be of interest too. I guess what I’m saying is don’t be boxed in and check this one out, it’s well worth it.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@SamZircon

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.blahrecords.com

Bisk – Free Morphine (The Interlude) (Review)

Bisk, Reviews

Blah Records continue their relentless spree of hard-hitting, unique hip-hop releases with this free download project from upcoming London rapper Bisk. ‘Free Morphine’ is an EP produced entirely by respected beatsmith Morriarchi, and it features appearances from Sheffield MC and frequent Blah collaborator Sniff, as well as UK veteran Lee Scott.

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The deep, gloomy sounds of ‘Samuraifly’ are a perfect reminder to Bisk’s style. His stream of consciousness lyricism is delivered in a gritty, precise manner, and his content is equally aggressive and witty. Bisk reminds me somewhat of Cracker Jon, in that he can move between topics so effortlessly; he’ll drop some unapologetically vulgar bar, or spit a braggadocios line, and follow it up with some intelligent analysis or self-deprecating observation in the same scheme. The slow-paced ‘Purplevalley’ is a smoked out, intoxicating cut which features Sheffield based MC Sniff, and the Bad-Taste Records representative joins Bisk on a crisp beat with some really dope change-ups.

‘Sonatine’, which features subtle backing vocals from Lee Scott, is a highlight; Bisk’s unorthodox, fluid flow is a joy to listen too, and Morriarchi’s mellow film-score esque instrumental provides a smooth, silky backing which gels with the calm vocal perfectly. ‘Free Morphine’ closes out with ‘Endcredits’, and this ending track is another slow moving, gloomy affair; Bisk’s hypnotic, tight flow and charismatic delivery sound dope over Morriarchi’s haunting production, and the chemistry evident across this seven track EP makes it a cohesive and thoroughly entertaining project.

To think that this EP is just acting as an ‘interlude’ between ‘Raw Shit’, which dropped earlier this year, and whatever Bisk and Blah Records have stashed to release next, is a scary prospect. Just how much dope music can the young artist have stocked up? 2016 is sure to be a big year for Bisk, and the independent powerhouse that is Blah is going from strength to strength, and they were never weak to begin with.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@BlahRecords

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.biskit.bandcamp.com

Bisk – Raw Shit (Review)

Bisk, Reviews

Blah Records continue to be one of the most relevant and consistent record labels in British rap music; Bisk brings us the latest release from the independent powerhouse, a seven track EP entitled ‘Raw Shit’, which includes production from Jack Danz, Reklews and Morriarchi and guest appearances from Lee Scott and Stinkin Slumrok.

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The sinister opener ‘Uno’ is a perfect introduction to Bisk’s gritty and charismatic style, laced with hard-hitting rhymes and gloomy outlook. ‘Swampfroot’, produced by Sam Zircon, follows, and the raw beat matches Bisk’s slow-paced, effective flow and slurred delivery. Bisk brings multisyllabics and a variety of rhythms to his rhyme schemes, which he always keeps tight in the pocket.

‘Runt’ features Lee Scott and Stinkin Slumrok, and is produced by Jack Danz; the instrumental absorbs you with it’s leftfield instrumentation, and the three Blah heads demonstrate why the camp commands the respect it does. ‘Glass Jaw’ is a standout; the majority of the ‘Raw Shit’ project sticks to a gloomier formula, but this cut takes a more traditional hip-hop direction, with the soulful bassline and crisp drums. Bisk’s lyrics tackle his vagrancy, his flaws and his day-to-day life, and his writing is laced with dope imagery and witty bars.

‘Lunatic’ is a simplistic, intense and hard-hitting track; Bisk comes through straight up bars over a restrained, smoky boom bap beat, courtesy of Sheffield MC/producer Sniff. Sometimes it’s the way you say stuff rather than the stuff itself that makes a banging rap song, and Bisk is an MC that possesses the capability to drop lines in a way that forces appreciation; on ‘Pimpfunk’ he spits ‘I lost my save so I started off a new game/I go sleep Batman and wake up Bruce Wayne’ and ‘thinking ’bout my troubled past/blowing on a big spliff laying in a bubble bath’; switching from introspective lyricism to unique humour in the space of two bars.

‘Raw Shit’ is a dope introductory project for a lyricist who is clearly going to enjoy a bright future under Blah Records. The label has specialised in slightly weird, raw rap music for the best part of a decade, and with a new generation of rappers like Bisk and Stinkin Slumrok in their ranks alongside veteran heads like Lee Scott, Salar others, they really do have all their bases covered.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@BlahRecords

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.blahrecords.com

The NorthaZe – Mellow Thrills (Review)

Reviews, The Northaze

Leeds duo The NorthaZe have built a name that is hot on the lips of followers of the WY scene and further afield, with a series of projects that highlight the group’s unique trippy and futuristic sound. Their latest nine track project is ‘Mellow Thrills’, which is distributed through Blah Records, and serves as a refined, succinct package of The NorthaZe’s left-field influenced, refreshingly eclectic brand of hip-hop.

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The crisp, spacious opener ‘Merry Go Round’ features the characteristic up-tempo, percussive and stream of consciousness writing that The NorthaZe have developed over their previous releases. With evocative, jazzy keys and experimental vocal samples laced over a simplistic drum pattern, Swish and Kosi Tides demonstrate their unique, complex flows, moving all over the beat with effortless fluidity. ‘Volume 8’, which dropped alongside an excellent visual on YouTube, is one of the highlights of the project; the left-field, chilled production courtesy of Jatce is a perfect flip side to the rapid-fire MCing from the Leeds duo.

It’s hard to give the style exemplified on this project a name, something along the lines of “intelligent trap” springs to mind; the intense ‘Burgundy’ features sparse percussion, thumping kicks and snares and stoned out verses from the two spitters. The chilled ‘Peach Beach’ is a standout too; the samples flipped across the ‘Mellow Thrills’ project are refreshing, as are the rhyme patterns and flows, resulting in an atmospheric, cohesive listen. ‘Dreams’ continues with the electronic direction outlined on ‘Volume 8’, with dreamy synth lines comprising the majority of the beat. Swish and Kosi flow with complexity and clarity, as they do for the entirety of the nine track project.

‘Mellow Thrills’ is a fresh collection of tracks with real continuity across the project; it’s great to se Blah reaching out to an up and coming duo, who are still very much developing their brand and their sound. Swish and Kosi Tides have obvious chemistry, and they spit on beats that match the vibe of their content, and the whole package is executed impeccably. I’m sure they have something else planned for the not too distant future, and for their first major step, there isn’t even a hint of a falter.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@TheNorthaZe

http://www.blahrecords.bandcamp.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