Black Josh -Ape Tape (Review)

Black Josh, Reviews

Blah Records haven’t stopped working this year; 2016 has been filled with an abundance of dope projects from the independent powerhouse, and Black Josh’s highly anticipated LP ‘Ape Tape’ continues the trend. The Mancunian MC has a diverse style, and has been building his buzz steadily through some successful projects such as the ‘Smoking Kills’ EP, as well his work with 0161 crew Levelz, and this is a concise release to close the year out.

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Josh kicks things off with ‘Yung Ratchet’, which is preceeded by a vocal intro from our evening’s host, Manchester legend Chimpo; the trapped out production and cocky vocals are executed with confidence and undeniable energy, and the incredibly simplistic ‘yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah’ chant in the hook is guaranteed to nestle itself in your ears in the days after hearing it. Cult Mountain feature on ‘Gezuntight’, and it’s is an early highlight; with swegged out lyricism, wavey flows and a slow-moving, looming beat this is classic 616 material, and the kids are bound to be hooked on their unique sarcastic take on synthesized ignorance. Milkavelli, Lee Scott, Trellion and Black Josh all come correct on this cut, with far too many quotable lines to count.

‘Lo Fi’ has a clear traditional, nineties influence, and Josh recruits frequent collaborator and fellow Mancunian MC D’Lyfa Reilly for the smooth, laidback Clay-produced track. The raw, energetic follow-up ‘Henne Boize’ is a standout from ‘The Ape Tape’ with crisp drums, funky bassline and an infectious sample-loop; Black Josh’s ability to deliver witty lyricism and flow with precision (bars) over various styles of production is very refreshing, and this makes the project consistently entertaining, and keeps the listener on their toes. The more restrained approach continues on ‘Riches’, before the project closes out on the excellent ‘Late Night Walkin’

‘Ape Tape’ is an eclectic project; it’s polished and enjoyable from front to back, and Chimpo’s hosting is certainly entertaining. No matter your stylistic preference, this release is guaranteed to have something to your taste, and Black Josh’s skill is such that even the most traditionalist boom-bap aficionado will be bouncing to the sounds of tracks like ‘Gezuntight’. Shouts to Blah for delivering the goods once more; we’ve still got a few months left this year, can they fit any more product in before we welcome in 2017? We’ll have to cross our fingers and patiently wait for the Cult’s plans to become apparent.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@BlackJoshAPE

@BlahRecords

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.blahrecords.com

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Lee Scott, Trellion, Milkavelli & Sumgii – Cult Mountain (Review)

Lee Scott, Milkavelli, Reviews, Sumgii, Trellion

Blah Records godfather Lee Scott joins forces with Sheffield’s Trellion, of Bad Taste Records, Piff Gang’s Milkavelli and Sumgii, who is behind the swagged out, wavey beats heard on many PG and LDZ tunes, on this cult edition project, entitled ‘Cult Mountain’. Any longtime Blah head will know that Lee and Don Silk have worked together previously; both were members of the legendary Children of the Damned, back when Milkavelli was known as Monster Under The Bed, so to hear this reunion of two of the sharpest spitters this country has produced, with the addition of one of the most distinctive rappers coming out of the North and a truly exceptional producer is a real treat. 

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‘Cult Mountain’ starts off with ‘616’, and the spacious instrumental, bass heavy kick drum and swegged out lyrics (you know if you’re ’bout that life) combine to make an infectious piece of cocky, lazy hip hop. Milkavelli’s verse features a nice section where he reworks part of his verse from Piff Gang’s ‘Bionic’, and it works well in the new context; It’s clear from this opener that the three MC’s tones and styles of delivery are very well suited.

‘SMFDB’ instantly impressed when it was uploaded onto YouTube, and it’s a punchline heavy track, with Don Silk stating that ‘all these rappers getting sacked like they’re David Moyes’. Lee Scott is rated ‘on a scale of excellent to extraordinary’, and his stylistically unique and distinctive approach is emphatically effective, and his prolific output as of late is something to be respected.

The wonky instrumental of ‘Ay’ is a highlight; Sumgii’s style compliments the slow paced spitting perfectly, and Trellion’s menacing verse is heavy, as is Milkavelli’s cocky and technical multisyllabic ridden appearance. Trellion’s fellow Sheffield based, Bas Taste representative Sniff makes an impressive appearance on here, and if you’re not already aware of it, make sure to check their previous work together.

‘Cult Mountain’ is a dope little project. It’s on an ultra-exclusive steez, and I think the vinyl is sold out, so you better hurry to pre-order the tape versions. It’s packed with five cohesive and banging tracks, with three of the UK’s most talented MC’s coming together to produce a quality release. Get this while you still can.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@TinFoilFronts

@Trellion_Luna

@Milkavelli

@Sumgii

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://cultmountain616.bandcamp.com

Black Josh – #BlahBlahBlackJosh (Review)

Black Josh, Reviews

 

I’ve said before that there is a huge amount of undeniable talent coming out of Manchester at the moment, and one of the MCs making a real impact is Black Josh. He’s signed to Lee Scott’s Blah Records imprint, and is certainly surrounded by some of the countries best and most talented rappers. #BlahBlahBlackJosh is a 16 track mixtape showcasing Josh’s diversity and unique flow; he has the ability to kill a track no matter whether it’s on a smoke-infused chilled out flex, or if it’s on a more aggressive steez. Black Josh has been pushing tracks from the mixtape out for the last couple of months, along with some quality music videos, and this is definitely a very solid collection of songs.

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The mixtape kicks off with a track that reminds me somewhat of Souls of Mischief’s ’93 til Infinity’. ‘Paul Scholes’ is one of the dopest UK hip hop tunes I’ve heard for a long time. A perfectly paced instrumental with chilled out layered samples backs up Josh’s tongue twisting flow. This track is packed with on point references, and the subject matter definitely makes this track relatable and identifiable. It’s a well chosen concept, and it’s successfully done; any rap fan, or as a matter of fact any football fan will immediately be drawn into the project with this opening gambit, and it’s one of my highlights from #BlahBlahBlackJosh. 

‘Eczema’ is another track in a similar style. Jazzy piano samples lace a golden era inspired beat, and Josh’s consistent flow and well structured lyrics hold the track together perfectly. The Mancunian MC has a really good ear for beats that suit his laid-back flow and delivery, and when the instrumental and rapping style match up like they do on this track, the result is always going to be a good one. 

Black Josh has certainly made use of the talent that surrounds him, both in his city and as a result of being a part of the Blah Records powerhouse. Bill Shakes makes an appearance on ‘Ignants My Instinct’, and as a fan of the artists who have been on the Blah roster for a while, it’s sick to hear what is produced when combining the old with the new. Wordz, from Manchester, makes his first appearance on ‘Serious’. This is a trap influenced track, and hearing Josh’s rapid fire flow over a quality instrumental contributed by BeatsByO instantly proves just how many various styles he can turn his hand to. Wordz also appears on ‘Cosmic’; the opening 4 bars of this track features some really inventive and witty phrasing, making for an engaging listen.

One of the biggest treats buried in this mixtape is the undeniable head nodder ‘Cult Sag 616’ featuring the Mcabre Brothers. Don Silk, Lee Scott & Black Josh teaming up on the same track was always going to produce an absolute banger, and the haunting vibe, fantastic multi’s and sheer swag level on this track make it an instantaneous classic. Lee Scott’s verse is one of the standouts of the entire mixtape for me, with abstract references, skilful multi’s and pitch alteration to boot. ‘Killacop’ finds Josh teaming up with The Green Pooki & Salar, and this is a really dope cut on the mixtape; the slow paced instrumental is in signature Blah style, and Josh adapts perfectly. ‘Student Parties’ is another standout, with a surprising catchy hook considering the songs topic. Josh’s flow weaves over the bars, seamlessly switching into a double time style. MC Jon also appears on this track, dropping a heavy verse. The final track on #BlahBlahBlackJosh is ‘BedTimerz’, which features Truthos Mufasa & Dyslexis, and the jazzy instrumental is laced with a really chilled saxophone line. Josh, Truthos & Dyslexis are all part of Ape Cult, another Manchester based collective of hip hop musicians, and it’s another verification of the vast array of talent coming out of the city!

#BlahBlahBlackJosh is a really solid collection of tracks, spanning a wide range of styles. Black Josh consistently kills it, his flawless flow, good diction and ability to switch up his style to perfectly match whatever beat he’s rocking come together to create some really dope music. Blah Records have been storming the scene lately with proper hip hop coming out the label, whether it’s at the hands of Lee Scott, or the witty output of Tommy Dockerz, or whether it’s the ferocious flow of Black Josh, you most certainly need to pay attention.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@BlahJoshAPE

http://www.blackjosh.bandcamp.com

http://www.blahrecords.com