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
If you’re a fan of UK hip hop you should have heard of Heavy Links, a rap group staying true to the boom bap sound of the golden era of hip hop. Empire Building is the debut album from Habitat, one of the MCs from Heavy Links, and it’s a very authentic affair.
Habitat’s relaxed yet tight and rhythmic flow is clear to hear on the opening track Valhalla Rhyming. This recently was released on youtube with a sick accompanying video. The hard hitting drums and smooth strings combine to create a great beat, and this, put alongside the cuts, makes this track is a great opener to an album with a clear throwback vibe.
Deep Purple is one of the standouts on the album. Habitat delivers some very well written verses with some fantastic multi’s such as ‘Deep purple in the purple beamer/I burn a reefer’. The beat is a classic 90s anthem, with well chopped samples that immediately sets your neck bouncing back and forth. Habitat has a very confident delivery, and this definitely helps the tracks on Empire Building pack a punch throughout the project.
Empire Building features 2 tracks with guest verses. Polyrhythmic features Mnsr Frites, Archetype, El Tel The Dopeness & Chrome. Tracks like this, where MCs go back to back, always create an incredibly organic feel to the track. I haven’t heard too much from Def Tex’s Chrome in recent times, but his verse on this is killer, and shows why he commands a lot of respect from UK MCs. Early Bird features Oliver Sudden & Luca Brazi. Oliver Sudden is a very exciting MC, and it’s good to hear another sick verse from him. Habitat & DJ Severe clearly both have a very good ear for who sounds dope on a track with them.
DJ Severe handles all the production on Empire Building, and it’s a very well suited choice. His beats are definitely 90s inspired, but still come across as fresh. Habitat’s chilled out tone and flow really suit these boom bap instrumentals, as do the well chosen guest verses.
Empire Building is a dope album that is definitely worth checking out. Great beats, great rhymes and great flows combine to make a stellar project that stays true to all that hip hop is really about.
By Sam Bennett