Ramson Badbonez & DJ Fingerfood – Hypnodic (Review)

DJ Fingerfood, Ramson Badbonez

Revered MC Ramson Badbonez partners with producer and turntablist DJ Fingerfood for the wildly entertaining ‘Hypnodic’. The concise thirteen track album features a selection of heavy lyricists and production that will have those necks snapping in that familiar rhythm from front to back.

The title track is an early reminder of Ramson’s savage flow and charismatic style. His tone is perfectly balanced between aggressive energy and experienced clarity, and the raw production is the perfect backdrop. ‘Stir Fried’ is a quirky boom bap banger, and Badbonez drops descriptive punchlines with his characteristic hard-hitting delivery. ‘Hypnodic’ has a fantastic run of tracks to get underway; the crisp, jazzy samples of ‘Find Me’ are beautifully executed, and Fingerfood’s cuts are a welcome addition.

Frequent collaborator M.A.B. blesses the punchy, bouncing beat of ‘Anti Convo’, and the chemistry between the two gritty lyricists is blindingly apparent as they trade battle-ready stanzas over the rough and rugged instrumental. The legendary MC and producer Leaf Dog accompanies Ramson on ‘Mental Clix’, and both artists deliver unorthodox flows over the traditional production, which employs dramatic samples to build the intensity until the track comes to it’s conclusion.

Split Prophets representative Res One features on the amazingly titled and blistering banging ‘Komodo Saliva’. The boom bap afficionados display their technical writing and twisting, turning flows delivered with an impressive precision. Ramson recruits some excellent guests on this project, and it’s dope to see him collaborate with artists outside of the High Focus pool of talent. For instance, Deeflux’s appearance on ‘Solitude’ is flawless. It’s one of the standout cuts from the release, and it’s great to hear the prolific Farnborough MC get some exposure to dedicated HF heads.

‘Hypnodic’ is certain to be a fan favourite, and deservedly so. Ramson Badbonez and DJ Fingerfood deliver track after track of raw, high-octane lyricism and cohesive, crunchy production that results in a consistently entertaining release. 2017 has been another year of solid releases from the High Focus camp, and we’ve still got plenty of months left.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@RamsonBadbonez

@HighFocusUK

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.high-focus.com

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Leaf Dog – Dyslexic Disciple (Review)

Leaf Dog, Reviews

As a member of a variety of incredible groups, as well as being one of the most sought after beatmakers in the United Kingdom, not to mention a classic 2011 LP ‘From A Scarecrow’s Perspective’, Leaf Dog is one of the most respected and talented artists out there right now. 2017 finds him standing out on a solo tip once again with ‘Dyslexic Disciple’, released through the UK powerhouse High Focus Records, and featuring appearances from some of the finest vocalists in the country.

When your minute and a half long intro is released as a preview for the LP on YouTube some weeks before the full length drops, and people are as gassed over it as they would be a structured single, you know you’re doing something right. The anticipation for Leaf’s sophomore solo effort has been huge, especially with the abundance of quality material he has given us since 2011s ‘From A Scarecrow’s Perspective’, and the follow-up gets underway with a bang. ‘Big Ego’s’ is a soulfully driven track with melodic keys spliced between the crunchy drums and soaring string samples; Leaf is a superbly skilled beatmaker, but he is no slouch with the pen either, as he delivers raw and honest opinions throughout the ‘Dyslexic Disciple’ album.

The raw, punchy ‘Know Myself’ is an early highlight. The confident delivery, the identifiable lyricism and the smooth, flawlessly executed instrumental are the ingredients of this flavoursome dish that blend together seamlessly, making for a perfect showcase of the signature Leaf Dog sound.  The crisp, soulful and reflective vibe of ‘Today’ is classic, golden era influenced hip-hop at it’s best, and the distinctive style of his subtle production is wonderfully engaging with soaring strings and emotive vocal chops. Joe Corfield contributes an inventive, silky instrumental for the jazzy standout ‘All In One’; the intricate plucked guitar and crisp drums are a perfect backing for Leaf’s energetic, charismatic lyricism.

Fellow RLD representative Smellington Piff appears on the emphatic ‘Pro Cultivation’, and smokers around the country will be keeping this one on repeat for months to come as Leaf and Piff deliver intoxicated verses at an insanely high potency. The rousing call to MC’s around the country on the single ‘My Scene’ is dope too; the anthemic horns and head-banging percussion makes for a definite standout, and the message is sure to inspire upcoming lyricists to continue on their quest to produce quality British hip-hop music. Revered LDZ MC Dabbla accompanies on the lively ‘Good Times’, setting up a strong selection of collaborations to close out the ‘Dyslexic Disciple’ album in stunning fashion.

‘Last Laugh’ features fellow Brother Of The Stone BVA along with the legendary Jazz T, and the stuttering, old-school beat is a fitting backdrop for the authentic, hard-hitting vocals and sublime cuts. The following track ‘The Reminder’ also features BVA; the chemistry the two spitters have is instantly apparent and unrivaled by their peers, and this is a prime example. If that wasn’t enough though Leaf recruits the off-kilter extraordinaire Kool Keith to deliver a characteristically entertaining verse over the raw self-produced instrumental, and surely this is the cherry on the cake. Don’t speak too soon though; the album closes out with the breathtaking cypher entitled ‘The Legacy’. It features a selection of the finest writers in the UK scene, and Leaf can also boast that he had both Phi Life Cypher and Task Force on the same track in 2017, and who ever thought that would be possible.

 Banging beats, a unique voice and clear hip-hop enthusiasm and appreciation runs through the ‘Dyslexic Disciple’ album from beginning to end, and the high standard that the High Focus label holds itself and its artists too continues with this emphatic release. Leaf Dog has produced a quality LP here, and the resources he pools (both in terms of rappers and producers) make for a cohesive album that is sure to satisfy any boom bap aficionado. Stop whatever you’re doing and go and support this release, and please Leaf, let’s not make it another six years before the third one.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@MCLeafDog

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.high-focus.com

Fliptrix – Patterns Of Escapism (Review)

Fliptrix, Reviews

‘Patterns Of Escapism’ is Fliptrix’s sixth solo LP, and it finds him partnering with RLD beatsmith Illinformed for the entire project. The mature, intellectual lyrical style is perfectly suited to the raw, soulful production style, and this is an album that stays true to the ethos of real hip-hop from the moment you press play on the first track. The High Focus founder rounds off a very productive year for the independent giant with his own project, and it once again proves why HF is one of the most revered and respected labels in the country.

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The album gets underway with ‘Astral Paining’; the beat kicks in with a smooth, classy loop and crisp, jazzy drums and Fliptrix sounds mature, experienced and powerful with a commanding delivery and intricate writing. Imagery, metaphors and a reflective outlook are some of the main ingredients in Big Flipper’s style, and they are exemplified brilliantly on this opening track. The title-track follows and it’s another resounding beat with skilfully executed bars; Fliptrix opens the tune with “I stay spitting ’cause i’m outspoken/I’m at the pub outside in the rain smoking/Mans are on the inside clucking getting coke in/It’s been a long fucking day like the summer solstice”. Illinformed is a wizard on the buttons too, with effective, emotive samples and hard-hitting percussion providing an exhilarating backdrop for the ferocious bars.

Veteran UK hip-hop artist Kashmere accompanies Flips and Illinformed on the banging ‘Smoke Lingers Away’. With an authentic nineties influenced beat infused with chopped vocal samples and one of the punchiest kicks you’ll hear all year Fliptrix and King Kash go to work on this one, resulting in one of the LP’s standouts. The raw ‘The Lion’s Den’, with it’s groovy bass and interplaying samples, is another highlight, and ‘Thunder Clouds’ too is a flawless, tasteful cut that pays it’s due respect and homage to the classic music that has so clearly influenced both rhymer and producer. Respected rhymer Life MC accompanies on ‘Diamond Tone’, and it also features DJ Sammy B-Side on the cuts, but it’s Illinformed that shines on this one with a beautifully orchestrated instrumental that draws on a simplistic vocal loop and mellow piano keys; subtlety is a key tool in the RLD beatsmith’s arsenal, and it’s used perfectly here.

The upbeat, anthemic ‘One Time’ is a huge track; with it’s screwface-inducing sample chops and intricate lyricism the partnership and chemistry that Illinformed and Fliptrix draw from is energetic and enthralling. Ocean Wisdom appears on the fantastic ‘Burn It’, with it’s hard-hitting, simplistic bassline and jazzy piano keys which are silkily sprinkled across the crisp boom bap banger, complimented by uptempo, energetic lyricism from both the High Focus veteran and the hugely exciting newer addition to the label. Smoked out single ‘The Chronic’ is a classic Fliptrix banger, and Verb T, Leaf Dog and BVA join on The Four Owls standout ‘That’s You’. The star-studded feature list continues on ‘High Focus’ as Verb T and Dabbla accompany Flips on a track that represents the independent label to the absolute maximum.

The album’s intensity and cohesive vibe continues with the oustandingly raw ‘Disorientated’, which is laced with expertly chopped brass samples and thumping percussion; Illinformed proves himself as one of the best producers in the country with his work on this release. The rapid-fire, intricate schemes of ‘The Poltergeist’ make for an exhilerating listen, and Fliptrix’s savage, commanding delivery makes the track a late highlight. ‘Spread Peace Around’ is a fitting album closer; the soulful beat and positive message fit with the running theme of the LP, and serves as one last piece of evidence for the collaboration between Big Flipper and Illinformed being one of the most successful partnerships of the year.

There’s very little left to be said; pretty much every track on here is a straight up banger, and the rhymes and beats are on point from front to back. The album is cohesive and consistent with a variety of themes and topics, always delivered masterfully by one of the most skilled writers in the scene. As we reach the end of the year, we can look back on a number of fantastically dope High Focus releases, and 2017 is sure to bring us more of the same.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@MrFliptrix

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.high-focus.com

Creatures Of Habit – Test Subjects (Review)

Creatures Of Habit, Eric The Red, Illinformed, Reviews, Sean Peng

Creatures Of Habit, comprised of MC’s Eric The Red and Sean Peng along with beatsmith Illinformed, release their full length studio album entitled ‘Test Subjects’ after anticipation for the LP had been growing with the release of some well received singles. Each member of the crew has been putting in the work in their own right, and coming together as a unit has huge potential to result in some certified head-nodding classics being delivered.

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The LP’s opener is ‘The Itch’, and Illinformed crisp drums and signature chopped samples is laced with energetic, charismatic lyricism from Eric The Red, followed by Sean Peng’s hard-hitting style. The combination of rappers is dynamic; Eric’s high-pitched tone and off-kilter flows and Sean’s more traditional approach is really effective and keeps the sound interesting and unpredictable. ‘Roll At Dawn’ is a heavy cypher featuring the Real Life Drama roster, and if you weren’t already familiar with the label (headed by Leaf Dog and BVA), you need to step out from underneath that rock. ‘Hacked Gack’ is a silkily executed jazzy number, and Illinformed works magic with the crisp drums and brass-riff that is an instant earworm.

‘Self Portrait’ is a mellow standout, performed with confidence and sophistication from the Creatures Of Habit representative; the writing is refreshing due to it’s vivid, imaginative and concept-driven content, and Illinformed’s production is absolutely flawless. The excellent run of tracks at the beginning of the ‘Test Subjects’ LP continues with ‘Mucky Mouth’, which features Gee Bag and Leaf Dog, and the raw, energetic cut is sure to be kept in heavy rotation. The upbeat, soulful ‘The Corrupt’ is punchy, decisive and relatable, and the following cut ‘Adventures Of Shroomlock & Dropsome’ is wildly entertaining. The eclectic mix of styles makes the album full of twists and turns; from animated, funky rhythms to slow-moving, smokey jazz-flavours such as the superb ‘Too Stoned’.

‘Test Subjects’ is an album full of charm; the combination of Eric The Red, Sean Peng and Illinformed is fantastic, and the authentic hip-hop is packed with likeable charisma from every member of the Creatures Of Habit crew. With labels such as Blah Records and High Focus going from strength to strength, it’s well-worth reminding yourself that there’s a host of other record labels producing top-draw music, and Real Life Drama have certainly delivered the goods with this one.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@EricTheRedRLD

@SeanPengRLD

@IllinformedProd

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.rldrecords.bandcamp.com

Chillman – Abstract Patterns (Review)

Chillman, Reviews, Verb T

Chillman’s debut LP is the first full release from In The Balance Records, a new label bringing some quality hip-hop to the table. It’s no surprise really, considering the label was started by veteran MC and producer Verb T, and he provides all of the beats on here, as well as appearing on a number of tracks. Chillman is a Hereford based artist, and his name suits the music; the mellow vibe and introspective lyricism is executed masterfully throughout, and there’s also features from Leaf Dog, Moreone and Chillman’s Verbal Highz crew.

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‘Say’ is a fantastic opener; the glossy synthesizers and thumping, filtered drums are great production choices and Chillman demonstrates his silky flow, and for those previously unfamiliar with his music this is guaranteed to get you vibing with the positivity and mellow lyricism. ‘Defeat Stress’, previously released on the EP of the same name follows, and it’s chilled, professionally executed aesthetic still sounds as fresh now as when it first dropped. ‘Get Live’ features Leaf Dog, and the subtle joint is another dope, calmly delivered track; the consistent sonic theme and raw, introspective lyricism keeps coming with each cut from the LP, and Chillman doesn’t stop impressing for a second.

‘Royale With Cheese’ is a great, witty cut, and ‘Funky Drifiting’s infectious bassline and dusty drums are authentic and memorable. The majority of the tracks on ‘Abstract Patterns’ have a short run-time, and the concise nature of the LP works very much in the MC’s favour, as the diverse collection of songs serves as a great introduction to the various styles that Chillman can operate in. Verb T and fellow In The Balance signee Moreone appear on the authentic, boom bap banger ‘Step Into The Unknown’, and the energetic, charismatic verses are convincing and flowed with passion and skill over the smooth instrumental.

The quirky, upbeat ‘You Are You’ is a standout, with it’s groovy bassline and phased drums. Verb T appears once again, and the chemistry between his beats and Chillman’s writing is fantastically enjoyable; you’d have thought that this was a project deep in their catalogue, not the first collaborative release from the pair. The double-time spitting on ”Drop Degrees’ is well executed, and it’s a dope change from his usual style found across the majority of the ‘Abstract Patterns’ LP; the simplistic, spacious instrumental complements the vocals brilliantly, and it’s not the stereotypical vibe you’d instantly think of working with the rapid flows found on the track. The LP closes out with ‘Funk Dialect’, a superb posse-cut featuring the other members of Verbal Highz, alongside Joe Publik.

‘Abstract Patterns’ is never stale, and it’s forward-thinking too. Chillman and Verb T have a natural chemistry, and both the beats and the bars are original, unique and distinguishable. The cohesive sound and the concise length make for a great introduction to Chillman as an MC, and also to start to carve out a niche for In The Balance Records as an entity. This is the first thing to drop from the label, and with plenty more talented artists in the roster, things are looking very exciting over at ITB. Go cop this one, it’s available now.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@Chillman_Highz

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.inthebalancerecords.bandcamp.com

Chillman – Defeat Stress (Review)

Chillman, Reviews

Hereford based MC Chillman, who was born in Asmara, Eritrea, releases his four track EP entitled ‘Defeat Stress’ through Verb T’s In The Balance Records, which over the final few months of 2015 built up an increasingly formidable reputation. Artists like Chillman, MADLean and Moreone have showcased the chilled, progressive and intelligent sound that the label is promoting.

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The first tune, the title track, is restrained and subtle; Chillman has a certain grit to his tone of voice which takes the introspective and relatable verses to another level, and Verb T holds down both the production and the chorus. Chillman’s flow is at some times unorthodox, switching up his patterns a number of times throughout the verses, and it’s undeniably a dope opener to the project.

The classy vibe continues with ‘Say’; the crisp hi-hats, filters and soulful production backs Chillman’s authoritative microphone presence; this EP is a brief introduction to the up and coming MC, and he’s one of the most promsing writers to keep an eye on in 2016 as he prepares for his full length LP entitled ‘Abstract Patterns’, which is entirely produced by Verb T.

As with Moreone’s ‘Turn Back’ EP, we also get two quality remixes on here. Leaf Dog’s signature loose style is evident on his version of ‘Defeat Stress’, with crunchy drums and simplistic sampling that is executed fantastically. Illinformed also provides a remix of ‘Say’, and the traditional boom-bap stylings hit hard and home; the RLD producer has constantly impressed over the last few years.

In The Balance have done it again; with a number of quality EPs having been released as 2015 drew to a close, this year is certainly going to be an exciting one as we await full length projects from Moreone, Chillman and MADLean & Ben Hauke. The ‘Defeat Stress’ EP showcases Chillman’s sharp writing, and his style definitely stands out amongst the rest of the MCs on the ITB roster (and in the UK scene in general). This is well worth checking out.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@Chillman_Highz

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.inthebalancerecords.bandcamp.com

Moreone – Turn Back (Review)

Moreone, Reviews

In The Balance Records, the label founded by veteran MC/producer Verb T, properly announces its arrival with ‘Turn Back’, an EP from London MC Moreone. He has previously released projects as part of the duo Morbiddenziller; the ‘Number One Fan’ EP in 2013 and the eponymous full length in 2014. This EP features three tracks, each produced by Verbs himself, as well as a remix of each track (from Chemo, Illinformed and Leaf Dog), and the dense lyrical content and crisp, tasteful production combine with great results.

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‘Turn Back’ is an introspective opener, and Moreone rhymes with cutting impact. In the opening verse he spits ‘I’m no scholar but I was taught by the school of the hard knocks/For every Corsa bought another car’s robbed’, and the detail and honesty are impressive over head-nodding, spacious production; the thumping kick-drum and ambient synth pads back tight flows and thoughtfully structured rhyme schemes.

‘Most High’ is a highlight. The vibe and content may be very much on the chilled and mellow side, but Moreone’s lyricism is by no means simplistic or surface-level. He displays a variety of flows, intelligent writing and the concept is executed flawlessly. His voice is sharp, and his delivery powerful and effective; across the ‘Turn Back’ EP, Moreone shows that he is definitely an exciting prospect, and one to keep a keen eye on heading into the new year.

We haven’t quite turned all the way back yet though, there are three remixes also included on the EP. Chemo’s remix of the title track gives it a more hard-hitting, menacing vibe than the original, although it retains its subtlety and poignancy. Illinformed’s remix of ‘Holding On’ is another standout, I actually prefer it to the original version. The boom bap production backs Moreone’s skillful flow, and his delivery is powerful over the bluesy sample flip. The EP closes with a Leaf Dog remix of ‘Most High’; classic lazy, punchy drums and swelling brass samples make for an anthemic finish.

‘Turn Back’ definitely bodes well for 2016, both for Moreone and for In The Balance. The EP is consistently interesting and exciting across the three tracks and three remixes, showing versatility and a cohesive vibe. The beats are dope, the production is dope, what else do you want?

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@More1

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.inthebalancerecords.bandcamp.com/album/turn-back-ep

Illinformed – The Mould Tape (Review)

Illinformed, Reviews

RLD Records, the label headed up by BVA and Leaf Dog, add to their growing list of quality hip-hop releases with ‘The Mould Tape’. The album comes from Illinformed, a producer who specialises in funky boom bap, who also happens to be Leaf Dog’s brother. The album features appearances from a vast array of the finest UK wordsmiths, including Jam Baxter, Fliptrix, Jack Jetson, Split Prophets and Eric The Red (the third brother; that’s one of the rawest families in hip-hop), amongst many many others.

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BVA’s solo cut ‘Still Slippin’ is an early highlight. With an intense instrumental, and a decisive delivery from BVA; the production is memorable and the writing intelligent. The album is packed with hard hitting posse cuts, and ‘War Drum’ is one of the sickest. Index and Smellington Piff have perhaps the verses with the most impact, but the line-up of six MCs is versatile and interesting. The tight flows and effective rhyme schemes demonstrated by BVA, and the charismatic, punchline heavy showing from Leaf Dog on the simple, gritty production makes ‘Back Down’ another great track.

‘My life’s a dish best served steaming’ says Jam Baxter on ‘Half Dead’. The gloomy instrumental is suited as Baxter, Lee Scott and Bill Shakes drop verses with vivid imagery and humourous references, Lee for example spits ‘chonging a cig like Dot Cotton’, and later requests that the other rappers he’s just ‘sonned’ refer to him as ‘Dad’. Manchester rapper Cheech and Blah Records spitter Stinkin Slumrok join for ‘Blunt Rock’. The jazzy sample work and crisp drums back the melodic flows of Cheech, and the grittily charismatic delivery of Slumrok perfectly.

‘The Platoon’, an uptempo cut that features Bristol collective Split Prophets, is another standout. Each MC represents to the fullest. The SP crew have a wealth of talented lyricists, and they each deliver on this track. ‘Smokey’ is a jazzy affair, and Cracker Jon, Verb T and Life MC trade off each other with three absolute killer verses. The album closes out with a solo track from J-Man; ‘Gettin Mouldy’ is a tune with a nice concept, and J-Man’s versatility is ever impressive, and here he displays his skill for dope hip-hop.

‘The Mould Tape’ is a really great project. Illinformed has a really cohesive sound, with a diverse array of collaborators, and that is a winning formula. Some albums from producers sound forced, or sound confused, but that isn’t the case here. There’s not a track that needs skipping, and a listen from start to finish is enjoyable. RLD have impressed again with this.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@IllinformedProd

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://http://www.rldrecords.co.uk

Res One – Delph Efficacy (Review)

Res One, Reviews, Split Prophets

Res One, hailing from Bristol, is one of the most exciting prospects active in the UK scene at the moment. A member of the Split Prophets Crew, Res’ style is filled with internal, complex rhyming, socially aware concepts and a lot of weed references. ‘Delph Efficacy’ is a raw, authentic album, with appearances from Leaf Dog, BVA, Blabbermouf and more.

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The scathing social analysis in ‘The Great Divide’, which features fellow Bristolian rhymer Mistafire, makes the Reklews production an early highlight. ‘Everything You Got’, which features talented Scottish spitter Physiks, is an uptempo tune with shrill brass samples and crisp drums. Next comes ‘No Managers’; Res and Two Tungs both drop lyricism about their independence, and this testament is accurate. The Prophets have a real buzz, developed through their consistency and sheer skill.

‘Know How We Do’ is a gritty collaboration with the currently incarcerated fellow SP member DatKid. The sparse, hard hitting instrumental is insanely effective, and the punchy deliveries from both MCs make the track a highlight. The humble attitude displayed in ‘Building Up, as well as the choppy beat and energetic flow, keep the levels high; Delph Efficacy is a strong project with excellent levels of consistency. ‘La Familia’, the obligatory SP posse cut is another standout with a bunch of dope verses.

‘Mary Jane Pt. 2′ is a great track. The sequel to Res’ ‘Mary Jane Skit’, he drops herbalist bars with intelligent rhyme patterns and topics to boot, and the soulful boom bap beat keeps the head nodding back and forth. ‘Bristol Bullshit’ is a prime example of the crisp and gritty instrumental choices that Res One excels on, and this track is one of the most memorable and impressive songs from the ‘Delph Efficacy’ album. ‘On The Move’, whicg features fellow Prophet Paro, is a dope track with a melodic instrumental in an East Coast feel and heavy punchlines.

‘Wreck Shit’ is a collaboration with Dutch MC BlabberMouf. Res and Blabber have great chemistry, and their styles are well suited to each other. The contrast between BlabberMouf’s rapid flow and Res’ laid-back delivery make the track enjoyable and memorable. Leaf Dog and BVA join Res One on ‘Underground Structure’, and the raw sample work and convincing lyricism make this track a winner. ‘Delph Efficacy’ finishes strongly with the relaxed and mellow ‘International Traveler’; Res demonstrates a smooth and silky flow, and the crisp drums of the Hozay production are also impressive.

Split Prophets catalogue is filled with projects packed the raw authenticity. ‘Delph Efficacy’ is no different, and Res One’s first step into the solo world is successful. This is an album packed with intelligent writing and a variety of concepts, executed in a very professional manner.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.splitprophets.bandcamp.com

Verb T & Illinformed – The Man With The Foggy Eyes (Review)

Illinformed, Reviews, Verb T

High Focus Records continue their busy year with a new project from veteran head Verb T and Illinformed, one of the scene’s most impressive production talents of recent years. ‘The Man With The Foggy Eyes’ takes us on a dreamy, classy journey with personality and relatable lyricism from T, and jazzy sample based production from Illinformed.

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‘Rolex Dreams’, featuring Leaf Dog, is an early highlight; the juxtaposition between Verb’s calm delivery and humble style and the concept is entertaining, and Leaf’s verse is passionate and effective. The smooth, jazz-club vibe provided by Illinformed on ‘Somebody Has To Pay’ is matched with a cool and collected flow from Verb T, and this is followed with the raw, uptempo ‘Fuck It Up’. Verb T’s versatility and consistency has always impressed me, and this album continues the trend.

The gritty ‘First Stone’ is another heavy track, with Verbs providing vivid imagery and detailed metaphors with a precise flow. The Hammond organ used on ‘Forgiveness’ is an ingenious addition from Illinformed, and Verb T, Smellington Piff and Moreone all match the soulful beat with their introspective lyricism. The infectious and sharp trumpet on ‘Say It Again’ is an effective production choice; Illinformed is equally as key to the cohesive and tasteful album as Verb T, who shows that his witty writing on this track is as sharp as ever.

The brief but entertaining ‘High Street’ is a nice cut to add to the tracklist, and it’s followed by ‘Pain Avenue’. The personal aspect to Verb T’s music is what is so enticing; the concepts and topics feel real and authentic. The subtle ‘Fade Away’ continues the strong end run of the album, with punchy drums and silky piano samples. ‘Trickery’, the penultimate track, features BVA; the dope brass lines and lazy drum pattern back the two High Focus MC’s as they drop their verses with convincing deliveries. This is followed by ‘I Can’t Stop’. Verbs is joined by Joker Starr, Micall Parknsun and Fliptrix on this joint, and the line-up speaks for itself.

‘The Man With The Fogy Eyes’ is an album that matches talented and intelligent writing with authentic and consistent production. Verb T and Illinformed have great chemistry, with styles that lend themselves perfectly to one another. This is another album to add to the list of quality releases from High Focus; cohesive, relatable and polished.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@RealVerbT

@IlinformedProd

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.high-focus.com