Bisk – Rawson’s Creek (Review)

Bisk, Reviews

Prolific London lyricist Bisk drops his latest offering, the thirteen track project ‘Rawson’s Creek’, continuing a steady stream of stellar releases. The latest collection clocks in at a total playing time of just under twenty five minutes, and it’s packed with short, to-the-point tracks laced with Bisk’s signature confident style over a selection of beats contributed by some of the most talented producers in the scene.

The funky bassline and crisp drums of the opening track ‘Out Of Sight’ set the scene for the understated, subtle tones that play throughout the project. Bisk’s relaxed presence makes his verses easy to listen to, and he spits with a clarity and experience that has been improving with each release, and boy has there been a lot of them. The punchy, soulful Illinformed production ‘Fuck’ is a well-executed track too; Bisk switches his flow up to a pacey, aggressive approach, and his performance is blistering, powerful and gritty to the core.

The dusty, sparkiling piano patterns and grandiose vocal chops of ‘Manic’ are brilliantly executed, once again by RLD beatmaker Illinformed, and Bisk’s cocky lyricism is on top form. Sheffield producer Morriarchi contributes a superb beat for the intricate, punchline infused ‘Nautical’, and the short runtime of the majority of the tracks on here make the LP encapsulating, not giving your attention to wander for a second. ‘World Champ’s groovy double bass is accompanied by dope lofi sound effects, and the glitchy, experimental sound is a perfect match for Bisk’s stream of consciousness bars.

The London MC recruits fellow Blah lyricists Lee Scott and Salar for the slow-moving, mellow highlight ‘La Sombra’. The sophisticated production across the ‘Rawson’s Creek’ project make the release thoroughly entertaining, and Bisk’s consistent quality is incredibly impressive. The raw loop and cutting delivery present on ‘Goodnite’ and the hard-hitting, Lee Scott produced penultimate banger ‘Reset’ make for a class end run of tracks, and round off a concise project that is packed with swagger from beginning to end.

Another month, another top quality tape from Bisk; ‘Rawson’s Creek’ is a short-knit, cohesive release that showcases a brilliant selection of producers, who allow the creative MC to expertly demonstrate his organic, effortless sound throughout the project. 2017 has seen Bisk deliver some memorable projects, and ‘Rawson’s Creek’ might just be the best yet. Having said that, as we’ve still got four months to go, there’s guaranteed to be a couple more in contention by the time the year’s out.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@BlahRecords

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.blahrecords.com

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Sam Zircon – Anxiety Skits (Review)

Reviews, Sam Zircon

Blah Records continue their consistent dominance of all things hip-hop with the release of ‘Anxiety Skits’, the new instrumental project from Sam Zircon, a producer who has worked with a host of the heaviest names in British hip-hop including Black Josh, Cappo, Stinkin Slumrok and many more. This newest LP finds him taking a more quirky and experimental approach than much of his previous work, and the varies sonic influences and soundscapes stretch across thirty different cuts which exhibits Sam’s sampling chops and unique musical direction.

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With the bassy, lo-fi ‘Tranq’ providing a great introduction to the vibe of the project, Sam’s subtle chops and leftfield resourcing is intoxicating from the outset. The smoked out, slow-paced vibe of the beats on ‘Anxiety Skits’ are trance-inducing, and the gritty, grimey bassine of ‘Narrrgh’, which is laced with an off-kilter selection of synths and ambient samples. The weirded out ‘Take It Or Leave It’ is a definite highlight; the crunchy boom bap-esque drums, the feel it in your face bass, and basically, the wind, combine to result in a thoroughly absorbing instrumental. The pounding ‘Chopstick Splinters’ is one of the more traditional hip-hop numbers on the project, and the sparse baseline and stuttered snares make for a hard-hitting head nodder.

The off-key, spooky and clunky keys on ‘Broking’ are exceptional, and the moody production, just out of earshot vocal samples and crisp percussion are classily executed by Sam Zircon on this standout cut. The mellow ‘Evening In The Swamp’ is restrained and effective, and the following track ‘No Knocking’ is a hypnotic loop laced with great jazzy brass samples to keep the neck snapping. The tripped-out vocal on ‘Who Are You’ is dope, as is the simplistic, tight drum pattern, ‘You Know The Story’ is another cut with a dusty, lo-fi vibe and the short reflective, somber sample-based ‘Au Reservoir’ rounds the beat-tape off.

This is one for more than your traditionalist hip-hop heads. If you’re a fan of Blah’s output you’ll enjoy this for sure, and if you’re looking for instrumentals that take a different direction from standard drums and soulful samples ‘Anxiety Skits’ is packed to the brim with them. If you do like that tried-and-tested formula I’m sure that this will be of interest too. I guess what I’m saying is don’t be boxed in and check this one out, it’s well worth it.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@SamZircon

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.blahrecords.com

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

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

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.

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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

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@BigToastTPS

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.revorg.co.uk

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.

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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

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@OliverSuddenUK

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://boombappro.com