Ramson Badbonez & DJ Fingerfood – Hypnodic (Review)

DJ Fingerfood, Ramson Badbonez

Revered MC Ramson Badbonez partners with producer and turntablist DJ Fingerfood for the wildly entertaining ‘Hypnodic’. The concise thirteen track album features a selection of heavy lyricists and production that will have those necks snapping in that familiar rhythm from front to back.

The title track is an early reminder of Ramson’s savage flow and charismatic style. His tone is perfectly balanced between aggressive energy and experienced clarity, and the raw production is the perfect backdrop. ‘Stir Fried’ is a quirky boom bap banger, and Badbonez drops descriptive punchlines with his characteristic hard-hitting delivery. ‘Hypnodic’ has a fantastic run of tracks to get underway; the crisp, jazzy samples of ‘Find Me’ are beautifully executed, and Fingerfood’s cuts are a welcome addition.

Frequent collaborator M.A.B. blesses the punchy, bouncing beat of ‘Anti Convo’, and the chemistry between the two gritty lyricists is blindingly apparent as they trade battle-ready stanzas over the rough and rugged instrumental. The legendary MC and producer Leaf Dog accompanies Ramson on ‘Mental Clix’, and both artists deliver unorthodox flows over the traditional production, which employs dramatic samples to build the intensity until the track comes to it’s conclusion.

Split Prophets representative Res One features on the amazingly titled and blistering banging ‘Komodo Saliva’. The boom bap afficionados display their technical writing and twisting, turning flows delivered with an impressive precision. Ramson recruits some excellent guests on this project, and it’s dope to see him collaborate with artists outside of the High Focus pool of talent. For instance, Deeflux’s appearance on ‘Solitude’ is flawless. It’s one of the standout cuts from the release, and it’s great to hear the prolific Farnborough MC get some exposure to dedicated HF heads.

‘Hypnodic’ is certain to be a fan favourite, and deservedly so. Ramson Badbonez and DJ Fingerfood deliver track after track of raw, high-octane lyricism and cohesive, crunchy production that results in a consistently entertaining release. 2017 has been another year of solid releases from the High Focus camp, and we’ve still got plenty of months left.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@RamsonBadbonez

@HighFocusUK

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.high-focus.com

Joe Snow – I Know You Know Me You (Review)

Joe Snow, Reviews

Joe Snow, representing Leeds crew Defenders of Style, returns with his latest solo effort, entitled ‘I Know You Know Me You’. The EP features appearances from York MC Lego, Split Prophets and Prys, as well as production from an international selection of heads including Hashfinger and Able 8.

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With twinkling keys, punchy drums and Joe’s signature tongue-twisting and witty lyricism, the opening track ‘Clownin’ is an early highlight and serves as a welcome reminder of the Leeds MC’s entertaining style. The gritty production on ‘As Usual’ instantly sets your head nodding, and the melodic, animated delivery and unorthodox flows make the track memorable and full of replay-value. The well-executed hook and crisp mix (which is the case for the entire project) gives the ‘I Know You Know Me You’ EP a really professional feel; Joe’s debut solo album ‘Sense Outer Madness’ had a rawer vibe, and this one definitely shows some notable growth, even though the aforementioned LP was only released two years ago.

DatKid and Res One from the Bristol based collective Split Prophets both make an appearance on ‘She Wish’; the track is one of the strongest from the EP, with a tarantino-esque beat and witty, concept-driven bars from each top class lyricist. The gloomy, gritty closing cut ‘If By Chance’ is my favourite from ‘I Know You Know Me You’; Joe Snow is joined by fellow Defenders of Style MC Prys, and the chemistry between the two, as well as the signature dark sound heavily exploited by the DoS crew, is on full display on the EP’s finale.

This is a great project; at seven tracks it’s concise, but Joe Snow keeps the sound diverse, with his unique delivery and refined flow making this an energetic and entertaining ride from front to back. With Jack Danz delivering last year on his ‘Ouija Slang’ full length release, it’s great to see that the Defenders crew aren’t halting the productivity. With a project from Upper Echelon (Danz and Disgust) rumoured to be in the works, the premier Leeds hip-hop crew are on an impressive upwards trajectory, and it’s well and truly deserved.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@JoeSnowDS

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.defendersofstyle.bandcamp.com

Split Prophets – Delta Bravo Kilo (Review)

Reviews, Split Prophets

Bristol based collective Split Prophets have been one of the most consistent groups operating in the UK hip-hop scene in recent years. They’ve released quality collaborative projects, and MC’s such as Upfront MC, Res One and DatKid have built up significant reputation’s as solo artists. 2016 brings their debut full crew studio LP ‘Delta Bravo Kilo’, and it’s most definitely worth the wait.

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The LP gets underway with ‘The Mojo’, and the jazzy flute sample quickly gets chopped and turned into a crisp boom bap backing for the Bristolian crew to announce their arrival. Upfront MC’s rapid verse and unique bar structure is a perfect kick off for ‘Delta Bravo Kilo’, and instantly hooks you in. ‘This Is War’ follows, and it still hits as brutally hard as when the video was first uploaded to YouTube; Upfront, Bil Next and Paro trade verses over a loud, textured boom bap beat, and they effortlessly showcase why the Prophets are some of the most respected lyricists in the UK.

“I ain’t never gave a shred of a shit, why would I start now” says DatKid on ‘Make Your Mark’, a gritty onslaught that proves yet again the sheer resilience and skill that SP have in their roster. Both the bars and the beats across ‘Delta Bravo Kilo’ are of the highest quality, and with no features or guest producers, the Split Prophets ranks are not to be tested. ‘Roadhouse’ is an energetic, rowdy cut; the Bristolian crew have refined their raw sound, and the diverse collection of MCs come together to deliver a hard-hitting, consistently entertaining LP.

Upfront and DatKid collaborate on the upbeat ‘Tung Fu’, demonstrating tough lyrical acrobatics with tight rhyme schemes and obvious chemistry. ‘Super Organisms’ is a further contribution to the eclectic production styles on the LP, and it’s a testament to the lyrical and instrumental caliber that the Prophets sound this good over a variety of beats with a variety of flows. The witty ‘Suck My Art’ is a scathing analysis of wack MC’s and general wastemen, ‘K.A.O.E.M.’ is a professional, slick offering and the title track closes the Prophets debut group album out with a bang.

With an arsonal of talented MC’s, and cohesive, exciting production from BadHabitz, the ‘Delta Bravo Kilo’ album is a force to be reckoned with. Split Prophets are one of the leading forces, pushing real, raw hip-hop from the British shores to global rap listeners. The bar’s been set high with this one, and the movement is only just getting started.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.splitprophets.bandcamp.com/

Illinformed – The Mould Tape (Review)

Illinformed, Reviews

RLD Records, the label headed up by BVA and Leaf Dog, add to their growing list of quality hip-hop releases with ‘The Mould Tape’. The album comes from Illinformed, a producer who specialises in funky boom bap, who also happens to be Leaf Dog’s brother. The album features appearances from a vast array of the finest UK wordsmiths, including Jam Baxter, Fliptrix, Jack Jetson, Split Prophets and Eric The Red (the third brother; that’s one of the rawest families in hip-hop), amongst many many others.

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BVA’s solo cut ‘Still Slippin’ is an early highlight. With an intense instrumental, and a decisive delivery from BVA; the production is memorable and the writing intelligent. The album is packed with hard hitting posse cuts, and ‘War Drum’ is one of the sickest. Index and Smellington Piff have perhaps the verses with the most impact, but the line-up of six MCs is versatile and interesting. The tight flows and effective rhyme schemes demonstrated by BVA, and the charismatic, punchline heavy showing from Leaf Dog on the simple, gritty production makes ‘Back Down’ another great track.

‘My life’s a dish best served steaming’ says Jam Baxter on ‘Half Dead’. The gloomy instrumental is suited as Baxter, Lee Scott and Bill Shakes drop verses with vivid imagery and humourous references, Lee for example spits ‘chonging a cig like Dot Cotton’, and later requests that the other rappers he’s just ‘sonned’ refer to him as ‘Dad’. Manchester rapper Cheech and Blah Records spitter Stinkin Slumrok join for ‘Blunt Rock’. The jazzy sample work and crisp drums back the melodic flows of Cheech, and the grittily charismatic delivery of Slumrok perfectly.

‘The Platoon’, an uptempo cut that features Bristol collective Split Prophets, is another standout. Each MC represents to the fullest. The SP crew have a wealth of talented lyricists, and they each deliver on this track. ‘Smokey’ is a jazzy affair, and Cracker Jon, Verb T and Life MC trade off each other with three absolute killer verses. The album closes out with a solo track from J-Man; ‘Gettin Mouldy’ is a tune with a nice concept, and J-Man’s versatility is ever impressive, and here he displays his skill for dope hip-hop.

‘The Mould Tape’ is a really great project. Illinformed has a really cohesive sound, with a diverse array of collaborators, and that is a winning formula. Some albums from producers sound forced, or sound confused, but that isn’t the case here. There’s not a track that needs skipping, and a listen from start to finish is enjoyable. RLD have impressed again with this.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@IllinformedProd

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://http://www.rldrecords.co.uk

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

Upfront MC – Upfront & Personal (Review)

Reviews, Split Prophets, Upfront MC

Split Prophets are a driving force in UK hip hop. A very skilled collective of lyricists and beatmakers, based in Bristol. This is a solo project from Upfront MC, and it’s packed to the brim with tight, complex flows and multi syllabics as well as some first rate instrumentals guaranteed to keep that neck moving backwards and forwards. 

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‘Where’s The Love’ is a scathing message to rappers who have been completely consumed by the motivation to make money, and no longer rap for the love of the music. The SP crew have many tracks on a similar subject, but the fact that the track doesn’t lose any of its desired impact certainly shows just how consistent the Bristol representatives are. This track also features another Bristolian MC, Mistafire, and both he and Upfront MC combine to create a very sick track.

‘Not All Bad’ is a certified banger. Smooth piano and brass samples sit well over a hypnotic boom bap drum loop. Upfront drops some sick punchlines, such as ‘your music’s been watered down like a high juice’, but it’s his flow that really impressed me. The stripped back beat really allows his consistently on point flow to shine through. The internal rhyme schemes and multi’s on this track will instantly appeal to any hip hop head.

Croydon based producer 2Late contributes a dope funky beat for ‘Coming Thru Your Speakers’, and Upfront kicks some sick rhymes, proving his lyrical ability  is of a very high standard. 2Late’s beat is a nice variation for inclusion on the album, with the producers signature sound clear to hear. This track also shows the Split Prophet MC’s versatility, Upfront sounds just at home on this style of instrumental as he does the more in your face aggressive boom bap sound of a lot of Split Prophets material.

‘People Say’ featuring fellow Prophet, Res, along with vocalist Chikaya, is a great positive cut. This has an accompanying video on YouTube, so check that if you’ve not already peeped it. Res spits some great bars, with some excellently delivered patterns and schemes landing with strong impact. This is a more introspective track than the other songs on Upfront & Personal, and it certainly stands out from the crowd.

Upfront & Personal is packed with killer flows and well structured lyrics, and Upfront certainly pulls of a project on his own. There’s some great tracks on here, in a variety of styles. Production is excellently handled by a variety of beatmakers, including Blanka, Badhabitz, Leaf Dog and also Majesta who contributes a heavy beat for the obligatory posse cut, ‘Prophets Get Personal’. The hype around Split Prophets is building, and it’s only going to grow if they keep putting out projects of this quality!

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

http://splitprophets.bandcamp.com