Mothership Connection – This Train Goes To Junkleberry Junction

Mothership Connection, Reviews

Manchester collective Mothership Connection come together to release their highly anticipated EP entitled ‘This Train Goes To Junkleberry Junction’. They dropped the five track project back in April and the raw bangers on here haven’t left the rotation since.

The opening track ‘Mo Town’ is an energetic, dusty boom bap banger laced with seamless lyricism, witty bars and a quirky beat. Off-kilter instruments are audible behind the eclectic mix of spitters, and the funky double-bass and crisp drums keep the head nodding from start to finish. ‘Salute’ is a grittier cut, and the raw instrumental features an intermittent lead guitar, tight rhythm and smooth, silkily executed showmanship. The hook is great too; you can hear the different members in the background, and it makes the track feel so fun and organic.

The beats are varied, and the EP works so much better because of the mixture of styles on display. There’s an upbeat, funky undertone, but there’s a clear distinction between the four songs here. ‘Million Wattz’ takes a jazzier turn, and the intricate syllables and melodic flows make it a standout from the project. The unashamedly weird, left-field production on the appropriately titled ‘Space Junkin’ closes the EP out by sticking to the aforementioned melting pot of stylistic leanings. The Mancunian crew are also adept at switching their patterns and approaches to fit the vibe they’re partnering with, and it makes this concise EP an impressive little release.

Manchester’s thriving, energetic scene just keeps on delivering the goods, and Mothership Connection are a really dope group of spitters. Cheech, Dubbul O, Goshin and Legion bring quality verses over some first-class production from talented beatsmith Mankub, and lets hope ‘This Train Goes To Junkleberry Junction’ is only the start of the Mothership’s journey.

By Sam Bennett




Big Toast – The Wedding Fund LP (Review)

Big Toast, Reviews

Big Toast, of TPS Fam, drops his solo album following last year’s TPS release ‘Hot Water Music’, and ‘The Wedding Fund’ is packed with Toast’s witty lyricism, charismatic delivery and recognizable voice. With Toast vividly describing the mindset of common folk in the nation’s capital over beats provided by a selection of some of the nicest producers around, ‘The Wedding Fund’ is a dope album from one of Croydon’s finest spitters.

big toast

The title track fully describes Toast’s ambitions to get the pounds he needs, but his writing is always humble and relatable. This is a continuous theme throughout the project, and goes a long way towards making it a very cohesive and continuous listening experience. ‘Unbelievable Krimewave’ is a heavy posse cut, produced by Sam Zircon. Toast is joined by Jack Diggs, Oliver Sudden, Ogre Drool, Gee Bag, Stinkin Slumrok & FlowTecs. Each MC delivers dope verses, and the mix of styles and tones make this track interesting and eclectic.

‘Set This Straight’ is a back to back onslaught of bars from Toast, Jack Diggs and Efeks, over a soulful, head nodding instrumental from Mankub, who is one of my favourite producers coming up at the moment. ‘Fuck Off Tarquin’ is perhaps the track with the biggest buzz from this album, and it’s not hard to see why. The call to arms against the invasion of the toffs is a sentiment that rings true around the UK, and Toast, Jack Diggs, DatKid and Strange Neighbour have all got something to say about it, over a catchy, classic boom bap beat produced by BadHabitz.

‘Shit Pub’ which features Oliver Sudden and Luca Brazi, and is produced by Sudden too, is another highlight. The three rappers trade verses about their locals being turned into gastro nightmares full of Tarquin’s with wit and charismatic lyricism. The Luca Brazi produced ‘Married Life’ is another heavy cut, with Toast spitting about how he’ll remain the man he is even after tying the knot, and it’s these kind of down to earth concepts that make him such an in interesting artist to listen to.

‘The Wedding Fund’ is a really strong album, filled with solid boom bap cuts that are guaranteed to get your head moving back and forth. If you’re a fan of £4 pints and have a name like Tarquin then I don’t think this is really for you, but if you’re normal then Toast has delivered an album that you’ll definitely be revisiting on the regular.

By Sam Bennett




Oliver Sudden – Phenomenaler Steez

Oliver Sudden, Reviews

Croydon MC Oliver Sudden releases his long awaited follow up to the 2012 ‘Phenomenal Steez’ album, and it’s a 14 track slice of quality UK hip hop. Sudden enlists some well chosen features and some of the scenes finest beat-makers to produce a diverse yet cohesive project sure to satisfy any hip hop head.

Phenomenaler Steez

As soon as the dusty hi hat and booming kick of ‘Touch Down’ start, it’s clear that this is exactly what you’d expect from a release on a label named Boom Bap Professionals. Sudden’s technical writing and his overall humble approach to spitting is effective, especially over the hard hitting beats found on this project. ‘The Buccaneer’ is a highlight from the album, with Oliver Sudden dropping well structured multi-syllabics about his skill and craft over a smooth instrumental with crisp drums, produced by Sam Zircon. ‘From The Depths’ finds Sudden directing his bars at the wave of hip hop fans that don’t know their history, calling out those who vocal Drake beats and the like; it’s clear that the Croydon MC is a true fan of the genre as well as a skilful rapper, something that is often missing in recent times with the rise and trend of YouTube spitters.

‘Lemon Chicken’, a collaboration with Stinkin Slumrok is another ‘Phenomenaler Steez’ highlight. The menacing instrumental, courtesy of Downstroke, backs both MCs as they drop verses with tight flows. ‘Worldwide’ finds Sudden collaborating with California spitter Mandeep Sethi and Liverpool based lyricist Benny Diction. The punchy beat is of a more modern sound than most of the material on the album, but Sudden still impresses, as do his collaborators. ‘Breakout’ is back to the hard-hitting boom bap; something that is unique about Sudden’s approach is his relaxed delivery over aggressive instrumentals; this is something that, perhaps unexpectedly, is very effective. Parallax and Mnsr. Frites join the Croydon MC on ‘Bang’, and this is another authentic and raw hip hop banger with a neck snapping beat and dope rhymes. ‘Singing In The Rain’ shows Sudden on a more socially conscious flex, and his versatility is something that becomes clearer and clearer throughout ‘Phenomenaler Steez’.

Oliver Sudden has delivered an excellent album here; the beats are consistently banging, the rhymes are always on point and the cohesive sound makes for a very enjoyable listen. Boom Bap Professionals have released a project very fitting with their name here, and this is one to check out for any fan of that 90’s inspired hip hop. Don’t get it twisted though; this doesn’t sound dated – Oliver Sudden gives us a fresh spin on golden era infused rap music.

By Sam Bennett




ThisisDA – Super Arkane (Review)

Reviews, ThisisDA

ThisisDA is a UK MC who has been receiving a pretty hefty amount of support and praise. He’s had plenty of plays on BBC radio, as well as appearing on SBTV, Noisey and many other outlets. ‘Super Arkane’ is his debut project, released earlier this year. The album is entirely produced by Mankub, who I was more than impressed with on Chuckz’s recent ‘theDEMO’ project, and this is proper hip hop from start to finish. 


The album starts off with a tight intro, showcasing ThisisDA’s style and tight flow. The first proper track is ‘Lifers’, and the soulful instrumental backs DA as he spits with pace, and the melodic, catchy chorus adds another dimension. Right from the get go it’s clear that ThisisDA has the potential to gain success on much more than an underground level; he has charisma and charm as well as infusing his tracks with dope hip hop references, name checking Big Daddy Kane and MF Doom in this track. ‘Good Thing’ is definitely one of the standouts on the project, with the anthemic, big-band influenced instrumental instantly setting my head rocking back and forth. ThisisDA has a raw, but very energetic style, and it definitely works very well.

‘Circa 98’ is another of the standouts on ‘Super Arkane’. The frantic instrumental laced with jazzy horns and piano is a dope one, and DA spits with interesting flows and impactful bars such as ‘The only arseholes out here not giving a shit’. This is followed by ‘Money Under Everything’, and this is a sick, down to earth track, with possibly my favourite beat on the whole project. It becomes progressively more obvious as ‘Super Arkane’ plays through that this is a really professional sounding project, and for a free album, it really is top quality. ‘Algorerhythm’ is another standout, with a heavy, classic hip hop instrumental and ThisisDA delivers his bars with precision.

‘Super Arkane’ is a really impressive project. ThisisDA’s style would clearly work on a crossover level, but he always keeps it authentic and lyrical, which is often a hard line to tread, but he definitely manages it on this project. ThisisDA is one to watch, and ‘Super Arkane’ is a really solid project, check this out.

By Sam Bennett




Chuckz – theDemo (Review)

Chuckz, Reviews

Manchester rapper Chuckz recently released his second mixtape, ‘theDemo’ follows his debut project, entitled ‘Anti Rap’, which he put out last year. The production is chilled out and jazzy, and Chuckz’s laid-back flow, along with his down to earth approach make this a pretty enjoyable listen. 

theDemo gets underway with ‘Intro/Misled Youth’, this is a smooth track which sets the tone nicely for the rest of the project. Chuckz displays his relaxed flow over a piano laced instrumental produced by Michael Duglas. This is followed by ‘My Life’, which has a slightly minimalistic beat that allows Chuckz to spit with more intensity than the previous track, and Chuckz’s lyrics are on-topic and consistent, resulting in a really strong cut. It’s always a positive that on beats like this, the rapping takes the forefront, allowing you to really appreciate the bars themselves.

The oG $wank produced ‘Judge Me’ is one of the standouts on theDemo. This silky smooth piano line provides a really smokey, chilled out vibe and Chuckz’s flow is perfectly suited. There’s a weird synth line at the end of the track that it could have done without, but that being said, its definitely still got a lot of replay value. ‘Dust’ is another dope song, with a jazzy brass sample and hypnotic keys providing the backbone of the beat, and Chuckz sounds really confident on this one.

‘LSP’, ‘Knowledge Truths’ and ‘Go Ahead’ are all three more great tracks, but ‘Femme Bug’ is my favourite on the whole project. The head nodding instrumental, courtesy of Mankub, suits Chuckz’s tight flow, and this is a really solid tune. There are a couple of disappointing cuts however; ‘Sex Ed’ does show variety in beat choice, but Chuckz’s style lends itself so much more to the sample based production on most of the other tracks on theDemo. ‘Everyone’s A Critic’ shows Chuckz’s take on the more commercial side of UK hip hop, but it does sound a little out of place.

Overall, theDemo is a promising project. There are a good number of really good tracks on here, and Chuckz’s flow is always tight, and his down to earth attitude comes across well. There are a couple of slightly average tracks on theDemo, but the positives by far outweigh the negatives. He’s definitely one to watch out for.

By Sam Bennett