Ray Vendetta & Teslas Ghost – The Odd Couple: This Thing Of Hours (The Prelude) (Review)

Ray Vendetta, Reviews, Teslas Ghost

Triple Darkness rappers Ray Vendetta and Teslas Ghost join forces on this great selection of tracks, compiled as the prelude to a properly packaged release. Before that though, we are treated to ‘This Thing of Ours’, which serves as an introduction for the duo, as they brand themselves The Odd Couple for an eleven track boom bap extravaganza.

The project opens with the subtle, twinkling keys and soothing vocal sample of ‘Oath & Testament’, and the traditionalist vibe is clear from the outset. Ray and Tesla have such authoritative tones and raw, braggadocious lyricism laced with a clear dexterity and quality penmanship. The glorious production on the sublime, ultra-relaxed ‘Despicable Class’ is fantastic, and the cocky bars are delivered with flawless execution and smooth flows from both Ghost and Vendetta.

The groovy, infectious bassline and crisp drums of ‘Growth’ make it a clear standout from the project. The Odd Couple have an exhilerating chemistry; Tesla Ghost and Ray Vendetta bring a unique blend of streetsmart, gritty lyricism and a classy swagger that allows their verses to hit with powerful precision. ‘If Only’ exemplifies the impeccable sample resourcing that is a key to the success of ‘This Thing Of Ours’. Killarmy affiliate and veteran underground stalwart Falling Down is the orchestrator of the selection of soaring vocal flips and consistently dope loops.

The fantastic ‘Say It’ draws on an Otis Redding sample, and the hard-hitting, crunchy drums back a simplistic brass loop as the two London spitters showcase their savage penmanship on this undisputably banging cut. ‘This Thing Of Ours’ closes out with the title-track, and the textured instrumental, with it’s stuttering kicks and resounding, layered melodies, backs Teslas Ghost and Ray Vendetta as they exhude confidence. It’s certainly deserved after they’ve provided verse after verse crammed with tight punchlines and slick references across the project, and remember it’s only a prelude.

Any fan of UK lyricists, or of the kick and snare based hip-hop of the nineties will find Ray Vendetta and Teslas Ghost effort here a welcome break from the over-produced sound found on commercial stations these days. Triple Darkness command great respect on British shores and beyond, and rightfully so, but The Odd Couple and ‘This Thing Of Ours’ is distinctive from the TD movement, and it’s executed with engaging professionalism and undoubted passion.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.rayoflight.bandcamp.com/album/the-odd-couple-this-thing-of-ours-the-prelude

Stinkin Slumrok – Don Pong (Review)

Reviews, Stinkin Slumrok

Blah Records signee Stinkin Slumrok has released his debut project, an eighteen track project showcasing a versatile skill set, an excellent ear for beats and a raw, rugged vibe throughout. ‘Don Pong’ is a really consistent album, with a sparse selection of suitable guests and beats contributed by a range of heavyweight producers, including Sam Zircon, BadHabitz and Reklews.

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‘At The Ready’ is the opening track, and the storming, militant beat and Slumrok’s aggression make it successful and convincing. With charismatic and humourous lyrics, as well as as a seriously good delivery, it’s clear from the offset that Stinkin Slumrok is a really dope MC. ‘Dawn French’ follows, and the collaboration with Bristol’s Res One, from the Split Prophets crew, was one of the first Slumrok tracks to come on our radar when the video dropped back in March 2014. It’s still just as good. ‘Pass It On’, produced by Illinformed, is a laidback, spaced out tune, and Slumrok shows his versatility early on.

The menacing ‘Archive’ features a dusty, slow moving boom bap instrumental, and Slumrok drops raw flows; the Blah Record spitter sounds at home over the gritty, nineties inspired beats found throughout ‘Don Pong’. This continues with ‘Microphone Junkie’, the subtle production from Sam Zircon lends itself to the authentic vibe portrayed by Slumrok, and the aggressive, threatening feel of ‘Toucan Trees’ continues a run of solid tracks. ‘YBS’, a tripped out collaboration with Mancunian MC and fellow Blah head Black Josh, is a slow-paced banger, and ‘Wipeout’ is one of the standouts of the whole project, with a restrained, creepy beat and exceptionally convincing performance from Slumrok.

‘Dinner’s Ready’ continues the haunting vibe reminiscent of early Blah/COTD material, which Slummy references in the lyrics. ‘Word 2 Wazu’ follows, and this is the highlight of the tape. A fantastic and insanely energetic Sumgii instrumental backs Slumrok as he delivers an onslaught of bars with a charismatic delivery and first class flow. The obligatory cypher cut come in the form of ‘Wrong Pong Posse’. Frequent collaborator Bisk, Triple Darkeness’ Ray Vendatta, North London MC Flowtecs and veteran Lee Scott join Stinkin Slumrok on a raw Morriachi instrumental, and each spitter represents and impresses. ‘Fiens’ takes more of an introspective and reflective take, and the soulful ‘On My Way’ showcases yet another different approach. ‘Don Pong’ finishes incredibly strongly, with a run of quality tracks, and the closer, entitled ‘Bat Billaz’, matches chilled production with intensely delivered lyricism.

‘Don Pong’ is impressive. The versatility present is refreshing, and Slumrok flips from relatable, often witty bars to layered, thoughtful writing (perhaps more so towards the back end of the album) with an abundance of punchlines littered between. The range of styles evident on the production side is great too, and makes for an interesting journey with plenty of twists and turns. This is certainly one to check, and with this being his debut project, Slumrok has definitely made his mark.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@StinkinSlumrok

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.blahrecords.com