Bisk – Gutter City (Review)

Bisk, Reviews

London MC Bisk is one of the most consistent and entertaining writers active right now. He’s been releasing a steady stream of quality projects, and ‘Gutter City’ is the latest in the ever-growing catalogue. Released through Radio Juicy, the eighteen-track album features Stinkin Slumrok, aptly credited on the front cover, featuring on five of the songs on here, alongside a selection of top drawer lyricists. If you’re familiar with Bisk’s work then you know that this is going to be good, if not then strap yourself in and turn up the dial.

‘Guttercitysh!t’ features Stinkin, and the looming, murky beat is comprised of pounding, lo-fi kicks and haunting sound effects. Bisk and Slummy both deliver verses packed with charisma and unorthodox swagger, and this LP is a memorable showcase of their dynamic flavours. ‘Wildcheese’ is a definite standout. The slow-moving cut features intense verses from Jack Danz and Slumrok; the eclectic styles on display are flawlessly balanced, and the production is impeccable too. Bisk’s skill is perhaps best exemplified over gritty, off-kilter production; a perfect example is the brilliant ‘Mynigga’. The track clocks in at under two-minutes, and the prolific, dexterous vocal is executed with an effortlessly mellow delivery.

‘Smoke’ is a track that has been doing the rounds on soundcloud, and from the moment the raw loop kicks in it’s easy to see why. Slumrok, Sniff, Danz and Bisk drop flawless verses laced with witty punchlines, and the melting pot of styles and accents results in a clear-cut highlight. Jack Danz once showcases again his penchant for cutting, hard-hitting quotables here; he spits “Modus operandi. We treat a rock of mandy like some popping candy”. I mean, come on. Bisk recruits Blah veteran Sly Moon for the jazzy ‘Coldsagfunk’. The reverb drenched snare and crisp hi-hats back the two lyricists as they spit with a silky demeanour and smooth flows on this classy track.

The glitchy ‘SwampaZe’ features West Yorkshire duo The NorthaZe, and this is a collaboration that was meant to happen. Bisk, Kosi Tides and Swish move seamlessly over the bouncy instrumental, and the leftfield approach makes this a brilliantly exuberant track that illustrates the wealth of talent on display. ‘Ere’ is a characteristically dark banger, and is a fantastic ending track (not including the outro ‘Uzi’); the sparse drums and screwface-inducing bassline are a winning formula, and Bisk’s menacing delivery is the final piece of the puzzle.

‘Gutter City’ is a cohesive body of work, and Bisk’s unique style is captivating for the duration. Dope collaborations and seamless production are key ingredients, and the standard of writing on display here is tremendously impressive. This isn’t a stroke of luck though; Bisk’s discography is packed to the brim with heavy releases, and if the recent past is anything to go by, there’ll probably be another banging project from Bisk online somewhere before you’ve finished reading this review.

By Sam Bennett




Cracker Jon & 2Late – You Can Take The Cracker Out Of Croydon (Review)

2Late, Cracker Jon, Reviews

High Focus never seem to slow down. This is the latest release from the UK hip hop powerhouse; a full length album from the Croydon duo Cracker Jon and 2Late. ‘You Can Take The Cracker Out Of Croydon’ is a dark, head nodding, funky journey back into a forgotten style of hip hop, reminiscent of Redman in his hey-day. This is a unique UK take on 90s hip hop; this isn’t the same old boom bap revival you’ve heard countless times already this year, this is a smokey ride through some dope beats and breaks, and Cracker’s witty lyrical content and choppy, gritty flow is perfectly suited. 

Cracker Jon & 2late Front Cover

The first time I listened to this album was on a train journey, and as ‘What You Prefer’ started to sound through my headphones the ‘tickets please’ sample was rather disconcerting. ‘I don’t like responsibility when i’m at work/To sit at home and get stoned is what I prefer’ is the bar that Cracker Jon kicks his verse off with, and it’s quotables like this that make him such an interesting and engaging MC to listen to.

‘The Funk Off’ is a dope posse cut, with a sick video to accompany it (check that on youtube). Cracker’s verse is laced with some well written multi syllabics such as ‘Memories glowing/Extendedly flowing/Better be knowing/Any opponent’. The choppy flow is something that has always drawn me to Jon’s music, and is ever-impressive. The ‘stop taking pictures of yourself in stupid poses’ bar is another example of Cracker Jon’s talent for peppering his verses with witty one liners. Smellington Piff drops one of the albums standout verses; ‘The security on the door was more blind than Blunkett’ is one of the best references i’ve heard for a long time. Eric The Red also comes through with a punchline heavy verse, it’s going to be interesting to watch the RLD Records talent grow in the near future if these 2 verses are anything to go by.

Obnoxious is my personal standout track. It sees Cracker Jon & 2Late team up with 2 of the UK’s finest rappers. Dirty Dike opens the track with a perfectly suited bar. ‘I snap a cats leg off and fuck a dog with it’ made me reload the track so many times. Lee Scott also tears the track up, with an expertly delivered verse. It’s always good when an MC on his debut album enlists veterans for a collaboration, and Cracker Jon holds his own amongst 2 of the UK’s most supreme lyricists.

You Can’t Take The Cracker Out Of Croydon is an excellent UK hip hop album. Cracker Jon has a unique flow, with consistently on point content. Going from witty references to weed and booze to scathing social commentary in 2 bars is a common occurrence, and 2Late’s funky baselines and drum loops provide the perfect soundtrack. Fliptrix spits 2 sick verses (his appearance on Think About It is an absolute classic), and this is yet another fantastic slice of UK hip hop to come out of the High Focus camp.

By Sam Bennett