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

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

Defenders Of Style – The Death Of Meaning (Review)

Defenders Of Style, Reviews

Defenders Of Style, consisting of Prys, Jack Danz, Joe Snow and DJ Sirplus, are leading the way for West Yorkshire hip hop. With their three previous albums they’ve defined a dark, gloomy style with intricate lyricism and unique styles from each MC, and Jack Danz’s production talents speak for themselves. ‘The Death Of Meaning’, their first release as a crew since 2012s ‘Dirty Sterling’ album, is a journey through their signature, characteristic style, without any features. Prys, Jack Danz and Joe Snow are at the best they’ve ever been on this album, delivering an incredible project jam packed with Yorkshire swag and attitude.

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From the opening track ‘Mosquito’, the sparse instrumental with haunting sound effects and crunching, crackly drums backs each MC as they tear up the beat. Joe Snow’s savage, cocky tone stands out on this opener, as he spits about the Defenders’ progression with hard punches and memorable flows. The deep bass of ‘Rhyme Or Crime’ is equally as hypnotic. Prys kicks the track off, spitting ‘legs are never closing like my local spar’. These witty lyrics with personal references has always been something I’ve admired about Prys as an MC, and on this album it’s exemplified fantastically. The way Prys, Danz and Joe go back to back on this track makes for a real hip-hop vibe, demonstrating each of their styles to a very high standard.

Joe Snow’s excellent internal rhyme schemes and Prys’ dope wordplay and the fantastic quotable bar ‘turn up stinking of weed and whiskey at the nursery gates’ make ‘Daisy’ another standout. The jazzy cymbals and the intense, punch you in the face like bass of ‘Fit The Mask’ make this beat a hugely enjoyable listen; Danz’s influence behind the boards makes ‘The Death Of Meaning’ a very cohesive project, something that has always impressed on every DS Fam release. His lyrical skills are on point as ever too, dropping imagery laden bars with excellent multisyllabics and True Detective references to boot. Memorable lines such as ‘doing 90 in the hearse, son I’m undertaking’ show Danz’s unique style, not too far removed from the Lee Scott and Jam Baxter school of lyricism.

The pace quickens on ‘Moon Moods’, with a beat laced with what sounds like pots and pans and a grimey bassline with airy synths. Punchlines, wordplay and screwface inducing flows, from Prys in particular, combine in expert manner. ‘Shakedown (419 Part 2)’ is another standout. The sequel to the cut from the Leeds group’s last album, each spitter drops heavy bars about their day to day experiences with attitude and impressive deliveries. The longest track on the album, ‘The Meaning Of Death’ is potentially my favourite. With an intense instrumental and straight up bars packed with punches, introspective lyricism and complex flows from each spitter, this is a strong contender for one of the best UK hip-hop tracks this year.

With the DS members dropping dope verses about today’s society on ‘Burn’, along with a really effective chorus, and the skippy ‘Old’s Cool’, which features one of the best Danz verses on the album, the album’s last third is as strong as the first two. ‘Debbie McGee’ with nice textures and crisp drums, with excellent writing from each member of the group is another heavy cut, before the album closes out with ‘Kaleidoscope Vision’. This is a perfect finisher, with a beat guaranteed to keep your head nodding, and first class spitting as always.

‘The Death Of Meaning’ is an exceptional album front to back, without one weak track on it. These Leeds heads have delivered a consistent, cohesive and truly dope rap album, showcasing what West Yorkshire hip hop is all about. With menacing production with intense atmospheres and fantastic spitting throughout, there’s nothing bad I can say. Get this in your life.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@DSFam

http://www.lytework.wordpress.com

http://www.defendersofstyle.bandcamp.com

Joe Snow – Sense Outer Madness (Review)

Joe Snow, Reviews

Some people get it misconstrued. The UK hip hop scene is pretty healthy no matter where you are, and Leeds City is no exception. Defenders Of Style have been putting the work in, releasing their first project back in 2009, with ‘Thoughts Of The Nameless’. They’ve consistently been releasing gritty, witty and raw hip hop with a number of heavy projects, and ‘Sense Outer Madness’ is Joe Snow’s debut solo album. Snow’s individual and unique flow is a real breath of fresh air, with a skippy, slightly old school feel, over a bunch of tight, boom bap beats.

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The menacing piano led instrumental of ‘Frank White’, courtesy of Blah Records beatsmith Reklews, backs Joe Snow as he starts the album in hard hitting style. His percussive delivery is very effective, and it’s the perfect way to kick things off. The double-time spitting that is one of Snow’s characteristic traits is something that few can pull off to its full potential, and Joe’s method of slipping into this often enhances his already dope flow. ‘Mr. Nice’ is on a relaxed vibe, with Joe dropping bars for the stoners, and it’s delivered in a smooth and calm way, and the Leeds MC demonstrates some nice wordplay and a series of witty punchlines. Bradford based producer JND contributes the beat for ‘Loose Chains’, and the DoS representative drops politically aware bars with a storytelling style; we’re only three tracks into the album but already Joe Snow is switching up the vibes, giving us a diverse and interesting listen. Fellow Defenders Of Style members Prys and Jack Danz crop up on the raw ‘D.G.A.F.’, and the chemistry of the three Leeds MCs is clear to hear. Each spitter drops a series of savage punchlines, showcasing the rap talent that exists in abundance in Northern England.

‘Great Dane’ is one of the standouts of the ‘Sense Outer Madness’ project. Snow’s relatable bars are delivered with an on point flow over a more uplifting instrumental when compared to the gritty boom bap of much of the album, and this makes for another piece of welcome variety. ‘Times Change’ is another highlight, with a hypnotic instrumental and Joe Snow spitting about how the scene has progressed from when he first started rapping to the present day, and those changes aren’t always positive. Joe can make a really solid track when he’s just purely spitting bars, but it’s the more concept driven tracks on ‘Sense Outer Madness’ that stand out for me. ‘Pusha Man’ is a track for the hustlers, but don’t get that twisted and expect some over the top bravado; Joe delivers his bars dropping real knowledge about the game over a mellow instrumental with well structured multisyllabics, and a fantastic percussive scheme to start the track.

‘Sense Outer Madness’ is a really solid project from a unique MC. Joe Snow has a very individual style and he switches up his flows and concepts throughout the album, as well as rocking a wide and diverse range of beats. It’s nice to hear this array of different moods being tackled, and it makes for an interesting album that definitely holds your attention. It’s still very much an example of quality underground, boom bap influenced hip hop, and this is something that the Defenders Of Style have been specialists in since their inception, and Joe Snow holds down the solo duties extremely well. This is certainly one to check.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@JoeSnowDS

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

https://www.defendersofstyle.bandcamp.com

The NorthaZe – Outset (Review)

Reviews, The Northaze

The Northaze are an upcoming duo from Leeds city, and they bring a selection of deep, trap influenced instrumentals and consistent hard bars with dope flows. Kosi and Sith are definitely two MCs to watch out for, amongst a huge crop of hip hop talent coming out of the West Yorkshire city. The spacey instrumentals and intricate, classy lyrics and deliveries combine to produce a really solid mixtape in ‘Outset’.

Northaze

‘Outset’ starts off with a track of the same name, and the dark, swelling instrumental is perfect for the Leeds MC’s to come storming out of the gate, with a track that makes real impact. Both rappers ride the beat with a complementary style, and the chemistry is clear to see. ‘Glass House’ follows, and the crisp, chilled Freddie Joachim instrumental is a nice choice. The complexity and intelligence shown in Sith’s lyrics is great to hear, and Kosi matches this with his own unique style. ‘Oceans’ is one of the standouts, and continues the chilled out vibe. The mellow synthesizers are sick, and the drums bump with clarity as each member of The NorthaZe flows with northern flair.

Another highlight of the ‘Outset’ mixtape is ‘Hills & The Woods’. The resounding trap production and the savage, quick paced spitting makes for a heavy listen. The menacing nature of the track immediately has the effect of encouraging you to snap your neck back and forth; the chilling vocal sample and confident and aggressive delivery from Sith and Kosi make for one of the best tracks from the project. ‘No.8’ is another dope cut, and the spacey instrumentals with rattling hi hats and snares really suit The Northaze’s approach.

The sound on ‘Outset’ is a really consistent one, but the Leeds spitters manage to show their versatility at the same time, with the guttural, trap infused flows sounding heavy, no matter whether they’re on the harder hitting cuts, or on the more chilled out hip hop vibes. The instrumental for ‘Northjitsu’, provided by Spaceage, is hypnotic. The chilling keys and sample work make for one of the standouts on the project, and the rapping is very convincing here. ‘Eccentric’ is a jazzy cut with tight brass lines. The NorthaZe team up with Pertrelli & Blacx here and every MC shows real skill and talent.

‘Outset’ is a solid project from a really exciting duo. The NorthaZe have a unique style and approach, and try their hand at a variety of different styles on here. They impress no matter whether they are spitting on hard hitting trap beats, or raw and classic chilled hip hop instrumentals. The bars are well structured and the delivery is convincing throughout, this is definitely one to check.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@LookNorthaze

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

https://thenorthaze.bandcamp.com/album/outset