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

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.radiojuicy.com/album/gutter-city

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The NorthaZe – Dream Emulator (Review)

Reviews, The Northaze

Leeds duo The NorthaZe continue their productive 2016 with the release of the new five track EP entitled ‘Dream Emulator’. The project serves as a continuation of their silkily executed and uniquely crafted synthetic sound, which relies on bassy, electronic drums, glistening melodic lines and tongue-twisting flows.

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The ‘Dream Emulator’ EP opens with ‘Jed Eyes’, and the hypnotic, minimalistic production is an instant ear-catcher. Kosi and Swish bring their signature intricate, off-kilter lyricism with twisting, turning flows and clever wordplay scattered throughout their verses, which are laced with vivid imagery and delivered with an ever-growing conviction. The NorthaZe are steadily improving with each release, and the bouncy, glossy ‘Rise’ is a perfect example; they find pockets of the beat that no other duo would think to explore, and it’s this unique approach that allows them to stand out so easily.

The glitchy production on ‘Muddy Side’ is a treat, with the Leeds duo’s rocking over a somewhat aquatic beat; it’s not just the flows that make The NorthaZe one of the most exciting artists at the moment, the musicality found across their projects should definitely be credited too. With consistently memorable and entertaining beats and intelligent, developed writing showcased across the ‘Dream Emulators’ project, the WY crew are going from strength to strength at tremendous speed.

If you’re already on board the wave, this is a welcome addition to your growing collection of NorthaZe material. If you’re unaware of the moves these boys are making, well you’re severely missing out. With a diverse style that is performed with a distinct finesse, the West Yorkshire duo are one to keep keen eyes on over the next twelve months; this can only be a warm up for what they have planned in 2017.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@looknorthaze

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

The NorthaZe – Mellow Thrills (Review)

Reviews, The Northaze

Leeds duo The NorthaZe have built a name that is hot on the lips of followers of the WY scene and further afield, with a series of projects that highlight the group’s unique trippy and futuristic sound. Their latest nine track project is ‘Mellow Thrills’, which is distributed through Blah Records, and serves as a refined, succinct package of The NorthaZe’s left-field influenced, refreshingly eclectic brand of hip-hop.

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The crisp, spacious opener ‘Merry Go Round’ features the characteristic up-tempo, percussive and stream of consciousness writing that The NorthaZe have developed over their previous releases. With evocative, jazzy keys and experimental vocal samples laced over a simplistic drum pattern, Swish and Kosi Tides demonstrate their unique, complex flows, moving all over the beat with effortless fluidity. ‘Volume 8’, which dropped alongside an excellent visual on YouTube, is one of the highlights of the project; the left-field, chilled production courtesy of Jatce is a perfect flip side to the rapid-fire MCing from the Leeds duo.

It’s hard to give the style exemplified on this project a name, something along the lines of “intelligent trap” springs to mind; the intense ‘Burgundy’ features sparse percussion, thumping kicks and snares and stoned out verses from the two spitters. The chilled ‘Peach Beach’ is a standout too; the samples flipped across the ‘Mellow Thrills’ project are refreshing, as are the rhyme patterns and flows, resulting in an atmospheric, cohesive listen. ‘Dreams’ continues with the electronic direction outlined on ‘Volume 8’, with dreamy synth lines comprising the majority of the beat. Swish and Kosi flow with complexity and clarity, as they do for the entirety of the nine track project.

‘Mellow Thrills’ is a fresh collection of tracks with real continuity across the project; it’s great to se Blah reaching out to an up and coming duo, who are still very much developing their brand and their sound. Swish and Kosi Tides have obvious chemistry, and they spit on beats that match the vibe of their content, and the whole package is executed impeccably. I’m sure they have something else planned for the not too distant future, and for their first major step, there isn’t even a hint of a falter.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@TheNorthaZe

http://www.blahrecords.bandcamp.com

Subliminal – Pé, DULAHLI, The Northaze & Pertrelli – Live At LS6 Cafe – Leeds – 08/10/15 (Live Review)

Live Reviews, , Subliminal, The Northaze, Trelz

Subliminal has been a staple night for any Leeds based hip-hop head for the past three years. With respected artists like Task Force, Koncept & J57, Benny Diction and many more gracing the stages of Subliminal events past at HiFi and Norman Bar, the top notch MCs and the fantastic house band have made the night one to keep an eye out for. After a break, Subliminal is back with a new monthly residency at LS6 Cafe.

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The Northaze, a Leeds based duo who have released some dope mixtape releases, and Pertrelli, an MC with lyrics wise beyond his years, are on stage as I walk in. The three rappers trade flows with distinct West Yorkshire accents over soulful, jazzy live instrumentation. Trelz demonstrates his punchline heavy style of writing with a fierce live delivery. If you’ve not heard his recent ‘Clips EP’ project, check that out. The three MCs are in sync with the tight groove as their complex schemes fall in line with the drums and emotive brass licks. The improvised set takes the intimate LS6 Cafe on a journey through diverse flows and instrumentals.

Leeds based producer DULAHLI makes his debut set tonight. His wonky, synth heavy production fill the now absolutely packed room, and the crowd are vocally receptive to the airy, filtered textures and the punchy, humanistic drums. With DULAHLI’s mixture of left-field hip-hop cuts and some more upbeat, house influenced tracks, the eclectic nature of his set is impressive.

Closing out the night is Pé, a live hip-hop band who are steadily gaining attention. With subtle instrumentation and clarity from both MCs, the outfit have a really tight sound and a dope aesthetic. Their soulful vibe fills the room; the synergy between the saxophone, the keys, the bass guitar and the drums make their sound cohesive and natural, and most importantly really enjoyable.

Subliminal have marked their return with a successful event. LS6 Cafe is small, perhaps a little too small for the amount of people tonight, but as always with Subliminal, the sheer quality of the music on show makes the night a good one.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@SublimOfficial

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

The NorthaZe – Outset (Review)

Reviews, The Northaze

The Northaze are an upcoming duo from Leeds city, and they bring a selection of deep, trap influenced instrumentals and consistent hard bars with dope flows. Kosi and Sith are definitely two MCs to watch out for, amongst a huge crop of hip hop talent coming out of the West Yorkshire city. The spacey instrumentals and intricate, classy lyrics and deliveries combine to produce a really solid mixtape in ‘Outset’.

Northaze

‘Outset’ starts off with a track of the same name, and the dark, swelling instrumental is perfect for the Leeds MC’s to come storming out of the gate, with a track that makes real impact. Both rappers ride the beat with a complementary style, and the chemistry is clear to see. ‘Glass House’ follows, and the crisp, chilled Freddie Joachim instrumental is a nice choice. The complexity and intelligence shown in Sith’s lyrics is great to hear, and Kosi matches this with his own unique style. ‘Oceans’ is one of the standouts, and continues the chilled out vibe. The mellow synthesizers are sick, and the drums bump with clarity as each member of The NorthaZe flows with northern flair.

Another highlight of the ‘Outset’ mixtape is ‘Hills & The Woods’. The resounding trap production and the savage, quick paced spitting makes for a heavy listen. The menacing nature of the track immediately has the effect of encouraging you to snap your neck back and forth; the chilling vocal sample and confident and aggressive delivery from Sith and Kosi make for one of the best tracks from the project. ‘No.8’ is another dope cut, and the spacey instrumentals with rattling hi hats and snares really suit The Northaze’s approach.

The sound on ‘Outset’ is a really consistent one, but the Leeds spitters manage to show their versatility at the same time, with the guttural, trap infused flows sounding heavy, no matter whether they’re on the harder hitting cuts, or on the more chilled out hip hop vibes. The instrumental for ‘Northjitsu’, provided by Spaceage, is hypnotic. The chilling keys and sample work make for one of the standouts on the project, and the rapping is very convincing here. ‘Eccentric’ is a jazzy cut with tight brass lines. The NorthaZe team up with Pertrelli & Blacx here and every MC shows real skill and talent.

‘Outset’ is a solid project from a really exciting duo. The NorthaZe have a unique style and approach, and try their hand at a variety of different styles on here. They impress no matter whether they are spitting on hard hitting trap beats, or raw and classic chilled hip hop instrumentals. The bars are well structured and the delivery is convincing throughout, this is definitely one to check.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@LookNorthaze

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

https://thenorthaze.bandcamp.com/album/outset