Ipswich rapper Booda French has been a familiar face on the UK scene for over a decade. You might recognise him as a much younger man shouting freestyles at the top of his voice when he went by the more basic name of Truth, but in later years he has excelled as Booda, with a string of insanely dope EP releases. 2017 finds him partnering with established label Eatgood Records for his ‘6AM Coffee Club’ LP.
French’s eclectic, unashamedly strange approach is exemplified on the opening cut ‘Astronauts’; the sparse, synthetic instrumental is laced with intricate syllables executed through abstract phrasing and an inventive, melodic delivery, and Booda French’s unique style is instantly compelling. ‘The Feeling’ is beautifully executed over a silky smooth, tasteful beat which is complimented by jazzy keys, and the superb, emotional vocal from the Ipswich lyricist makes it clear why he’s one of the most creative artists out there right now, and he’s not afraid to lay his heart on his sleeve.
Veteran UK spitter Joker Starr contributes a memorable, catchy chorus on the excellent ‘Forts’; the subtlety and mellow soundscapes found throughout ‘6AM Coffee Club’ a perfect match for Booda French’s vivid imagery and relaxed tone, as he delivers one chilled-out track after another. When an artist focuses their efforts on restrained, thought-provoking music, the result can sometimes be a little stagnant; French’s approach is original, and his tone unashamedly weird, and this keeps you engaged with his every line.
New York producer/rapper J57, a frequent Booda French collaborator, appears on the standout track ‘Kings Elect’; the loud, crunching boom bap drums and reflective, descriptive writing from both MCs make for an exhilarating ride. The sonic direction is consistently surprising and wholly entertaining, and the LP’s cohesion is a huge factor in the success of the project. ‘Young World’, the finale of the ten track album, is a crisp, upbeat song that leaves us on the most hopeful note of the LP, and showcases Booda French’s hip-hop sensibilities and crossover potential in one concise cut.
‘6AM Coffee Club’ is eclectic in it’s direction, taste and execution. This is far from your traditional, stereotypical hip-hop album, and is a dense, complex and ultra-lyrical body of work that exemplifies just how creative and different British rap music can be. Eatgood Records have long been a respected powerhouse, releasing quality music from established artists such as SonnyJim and Percy Filth, and Booda French can now be added to that list with this exciting and impeccably administered project.
By Sam Bennett