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

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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

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

Lunar C – Breakdown Rebuild (Review)

Lunar C, Reviews

Bradford’s leading rap export, Lunar C is back with ‘Breakdown Rebuild’, his new mixtape which features Dream McLean, Lee Scott, Dirty Dike, Tommy Dockerz and Burgundy Blood, as well as outstanding production from Hashfinger and Reklews. With his recent battle with Oshea dropping on the same day as this mixtape, Lunar once again proves that he’s much more than a one trick pony. ‘Breakdown Rebuild’ shows both the skilled and the hilarious Lunar C, making for an undeniably entertaining listen.

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‘Breakdown Rebuild’ gets underway with ‘Pocket Full Of Fuckall’, which displays Lunar’s wit, ability to switch flows without a seconds hesitation and a catchy hook over a beat that keeps your head nodding constantly throughout the opener, which includes shots at Bono and some bars about Lunar’s penis, a subject he seems to enjoy talking about at great length (I know how that might read…). ‘Cool As Fuck’ features another dope chorus and the verses are packed full of Lunar’s trademark humour. ‘MOAMS’, featuring Manchester based American spitter Burgundy Blood, is one of the standouts of ‘Breakdown Rebuild’, with a crisp, soulful instrumental and on point flows from both Lunar and Blood.

‘Shnaffleberry’ is littered with weed references delivered at a quick pace over a bouncy, uptempo instrumental; Lunar’s charisma and energy is repeatedly a winning formula on ‘Breakdown Rebuild’. I remember hearing ‘Hang’ the last time I saw Lunar perform live, and to hear it in its full glory is great; if you want your rap music serious, deep and meaningful then this is definitely the track for you. The conscious topics continue on ‘Shag My Sister’, which features Tommy Dockerz. This pairing always produces hilarity, evident on their previous collaboration ‘Gettin Money’, and this track follows that trend to the letter.

‘Mate Of A Mate’, featuring Lee Scott and Dirty Dike is one of my favourite tunes from the mixtape. With a classic boom bap beat and three of the UK’s nicest writers, what couldn’t make this track one to revisit over and over. The title track of the mixtape is also a heavy cut, with a dusty, piano laced beat backing Lunar as he spits with a quick, intricate flow. ‘Die Old’ sees an entirely confident Lunar dropping consistently nice punchlines over a gritty, electronic beat with a hypnotic, staccato synth line. ‘Strictly Indo’ is another herbalist anthem from the West Yorkshire MC, and ‘Even If’ is a raw penultimate track. ‘Breakdown Rebuild’ finishes with the outstanding ‘New World’, which is a surprisingly serious (honestly this time) closer, demonstrating Lunar’s versatility and skill.

‘Breakdown Rebuild’ is a really solid project from one of the UK’s most promising MC’s. Lunar C’s buzz is warranted, with a string of well received projects. This is the biggest collection of tracks released in a while, and it’s pretty much all dope. Packed with witty lyricism, complex structures and an abundance of punchlines, this is one that will be in regular rotation for a while to come.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@LunarCFT

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

Black Josh – The Blosh EP

Black Josh, Reviews

Black Josh has had quite a year. The Manchester MC initially started to make a real impact with his appearances on The Mouse Outfit’s ‘Escape Music’, and continued his tremendous work ethic throughout 2014, with a number of excellent appearances on Blah Records projects, as well as releasing his ‘#BlahBlahBlackJosh’ mixtape through the label. He closes the year out with ‘The Blosh EP’, which is a collection of raw, boom bap beats being rocked by Black Josh’s signature rapid flow and witty stoner bars. 

Black Josh The Blosh EP

Josh begins with ‘Booker T’, featuring Cheech from The Bluntskins, another tight Manchester MC. The lazy instrumental backs both rappers who each impress with witty, well structured verses, each with nice flows. ‘Mark Dice’ is definitely a highlight, with Lee Scott and Danny Lover joining Black Josh on a swegged out anthem from the Blah cult.

Both ‘Gotta Get It’, which features frequent collaborator Wordz, and ‘Remain Raw’ show Josh at his best, with uptempo boom bap instrumentals perfectly matched to his percussive, rapid delivery. ‘The Reminder’ is a chilled vibe and is a dope track to close the project out, with its relaxed beat being laced with Josh’s confident spitting.

‘The Blosh EP’ is another nice project to add to Josh’s ever expanding discography, demonstrating consistently impressive flows and intricate writing over perfectly suited instrumentals, contributed by some of the nicest producers in the scene, including 2Late, Reklews and Illinformed, amongst others. This is definitely one to check out.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@BlackJoshAPE

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

https://blahrecords.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

Lee Scott – CactusOwlMoonGoat (Review)

Lee Scott, Reviews

Lee Scott needs no introduction. Blah Records have long been one of the most respected UK hip hop record labels, with a huge catalogue of classic releases, and Lee has been storming the scene as of late with some quality music. This is his latest project, entitled ‘CactusOwlMoonGoat’, and it’s packed with dusty jazz samples, hard hitting drums and the special breed of intricate lyricism only Lee Scott can deliver.

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Lee Scott begins this journey with ‘So Cactus So Owl’, which is produced by Dirty Dike and Molotov. The smokey brass samples back Lee as he spits with an engaging and hypnotising swagger. Lee drops some heavy quotable’s, including ‘If i was wack, wack’d be the new dope’, and the way he combines abstract imagery with a straight up British attitude makes for a really dope listen.

‘Craig Mack’ is an immense track, and Lee is joined on here by Black Josh. Name-checking various Bad Boy artists in various clever ways, Lee Scott absolutely kills the haunting instrumental, produced by Morriachi, asking ‘Who the fuck’s the Benjamin and why’s it all about him?’. Black Josh’s verse is tight and precise, he is definitely one to watch over the next year or so, with an instantly recognisable tone and flow.

The Blah Records head honcho proclaims ‘I only drink on days ending in Y’ on ‘Axl Rose’, and the slow moving instrumental is another atmospheric one, again produced by Morriachi. Following this track comes ‘Me O’Clock’, which is definitely one of the standouts. The silky piano samples, courtesy of Illinformed, back Lee as he spits about living on your own time, and this track has been on repeat since I first heard it.

Stinkin Slumrok puts in a savage performance on ‘Why Clef?’, with a consistent flow and gritty presence. Slumrok has some really dope tracks and video’s on YouTube, and he is definitely another one to watch. ‘Stanley’s Friends’ is another standout, with Lee being joined by Hibernation, who delivers a heavy verse, as well as a pitched up and down verse from WH@IB££, whose identity seems to be a mystery. The sheer weirdness of this track makes it an absolute banger.

Following this comes ‘Sink’, which is a far more chilled affair, again seeing Lee Scott drop the knowledge, spitting ‘with the IQ of Jesus, and a black belt in genius’. The fantastic references in the Blah head honcho’s lyrics always add so much to a track, and this is a case in point. The album closes with ‘Ellesse, Ellesse’, and Lee is joined here once again by Black Josh. Lee’s double time spitting impresses, proclaiming ‘I blow my own trumpet like Dizzy Gillespie’, and Black Josh’s charismatic appearance is also very effective.

‘CactusOwlMoonGoat’ is one of the most cohesive and impressive albums i’ve heard come out of the UK hip hop scene. Lee Scott’s ear for dark, atmospheric instrumentals, as well as his ability to also kill the more jazzy, sample heavy beats, sets him apart from his peers. There isn’t a weak track on here, and Blah Records is surely set to be one of the main players in the game for the foreseeable future.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@tinfoilfronts

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.blahrecords.com