Jam Baxter – Mansion 38 (Review)

Jam Baxter, Reviews

With his fourth full length studio album, revered MC Jam Baxter delivers creative lyricism and imaginative angles in abundance on ‘Mansion 38’, the latest release from the insanely talented High Focus Records. The LP is orchestrated by the versatile producer Chemo, and the pair continue the groundwork they started on Baxter’s last album ‘…So We Ate Them Whole’, but things get a little more gloomy this time round.

Opening with the anthemic and traditionally vivid ‘Down’, the tense, overcast and encapsulating ethos of the album is instantly apparent. Chemo’s synthetic, glitchy production moves seamlessly with Baxter’s unique structure and dense lyricism. ‘Dumb’ features Trellion and Lee Scott, and the combination is as witty as you would imagine. Trellion has been on an incredible run recently, and the slow-moving boom bap is perfect for the cleverest dumb bars you’ve heard since the last Trelli verse you clocked. The double-time flows and sparse beat is a brilliantly successful formula for the cinematic ‘For A Limited Time Only’. The Contact Play MC blends a mixture of weird imagery and complex, layered writing with a cocky, street-smart vibe that makes his material wildly entertaining.

The trapped out ‘Soi 36’ is an absolute banger; the single from the album exemplifies Baxter’s flawless ability to mix an unashamedly leftfield vibe with a current, accessible presentation. Lee Scott appears on the flawless ‘Titanic 2’; the bouncy, pounding instrumental, skippy, imaginative flows and cutting, satirical lyrics make the swagged-out track a standout. The charisma on display here from two of the UK’s leading artists is a testament to the talent on offer from the crop of MC’s active right now, and High Focus is a well oiled platform for these wordsmiths to shine. ‘Just Us’ is a characteristically off-kilter introspective cut, and Jammothy’s rugged lifestyle is described in great detail over a bouncy Chemo soundscape. The use of the word ‘shmerkle’ in a bar also deserves respect in it’s own right.

‘Bulletproof’ is a highlight, and the silky piano-based beat is perfect for Baxter’s smooth flow and eclectic bars; he drifts from topic to topic seamlessly and with an underlying gritty undercurrent to his writing. Fellow CP spitter Dirty Dike accompanies on the crisp ‘Chateaux In Toulouse’ which also finds fellow Dead Player Dabbla killing his verse, as is always the case for the veteran MC. The collaborations sprinkled across ‘Mansion 38’ are utilised excellently, and the album maintains it cohesion throughout, and the gifted Chemo must get a lot of the credit for that. The sophisticated ‘Teeth Marks’ is expertly executed with complex lyrics lacing the sporadic drums and haunting synthwork, filling the space with finesse and masterful precision.

‘Mansion 38’ is a exhilerating album that gives a fascinating insight into one of the most creative and talented lyricists of our generation. Jam Baxter has been quietly growing his stature in the UK scene (possibly the cringiest sentence on this blog yet), with a string of quality releases, and this LP solidifies his place as one that is surely to continue his ascent with future work. As diverse as they come, Baxter is such a clearly gifted lyricist, and Chemo such an amazing producer, it’s really no surprise at all that this is an early contender for album of the year.

By Sam Bennett






Black Josh -Ape Tape (Review)

Black Josh, Reviews

Blah Records haven’t stopped working this year; 2016 has been filled with an abundance of dope projects from the independent powerhouse, and Black Josh’s highly anticipated LP ‘Ape Tape’ continues the trend. The Mancunian MC has a diverse style, and has been building his buzz steadily through some successful projects such as the ‘Smoking Kills’ EP, as well his work with 0161 crew Levelz, and this is a concise release to close the year out.


Josh kicks things off with ‘Yung Ratchet’, which is preceeded by a vocal intro from our evening’s host, Manchester legend Chimpo; the trapped out production and cocky vocals are executed with confidence and undeniable energy, and the incredibly simplistic ‘yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah’ chant in the hook is guaranteed to nestle itself in your ears in the days after hearing it. Cult Mountain feature on ‘Gezuntight’, and it’s is an early highlight; with swegged out lyricism, wavey flows and a slow-moving, looming beat this is classic 616 material, and the kids are bound to be hooked on their unique sarcastic take on synthesized ignorance. Milkavelli, Lee Scott, Trellion and Black Josh all come correct on this cut, with far too many quotable lines to count.

‘Lo Fi’ has a clear traditional, nineties influence, and Josh recruits frequent collaborator and fellow Mancunian MC D’Lyfa Reilly for the smooth, laidback Clay-produced track. The raw, energetic follow-up ‘Henne Boize’ is a standout from ‘The Ape Tape’ with crisp drums, funky bassline and an infectious sample-loop; Black Josh’s ability to deliver witty lyricism and flow with precision (bars) over various styles of production is very refreshing, and this makes the project consistently entertaining, and keeps the listener on their toes. The more restrained approach continues on ‘Riches’, before the project closes out on the excellent ‘Late Night Walkin’

‘Ape Tape’ is an eclectic project; it’s polished and enjoyable from front to back, and Chimpo’s hosting is certainly entertaining. No matter your stylistic preference, this release is guaranteed to have something to your taste, and Black Josh’s skill is such that even the most traditionalist boom-bap aficionado will be bouncing to the sounds of tracks like ‘Gezuntight’. Shouts to Blah for delivering the goods once more; we’ve still got a few months left this year, can they fit any more product in before we welcome in 2017? We’ll have to cross our fingers and patiently wait for the Cult’s plans to become apparent.

By Sam Bennett







Bisk – Don’t Piss It Off (Review)

Bisk, Reviews

There’s no stopping Blah Records this year; the longstanding independent label continues its incredibly productive schedule with the release of ‘Don’t Piss It Off’, an LP from London MC Bisk with production handled by North London beatsmith Formz.


The LP opens with ‘Slippin’, and the gloomy, slow-moving instrumental backs Bisk’s signature gritty, cocky lyricism and murky flows as he drops hard-hitting punchlines in creative bars laced with vivid imagery and drenched in swagger. ‘Big City’ features veteran Blah MC Lee Scott, and the crisp, jazzy drums and haunting piano lines are perfect for Bisk’s braggodious approach, and Lee’s witty verse is an absolute killer, and finds the Runcorn lyricist spitting quotables such as “lost in me own mind/The Higgs boson was in me pocket the whole time” and the genius closing bar “why? It’s just the letter after X”.

‘Cult De Sag’ is a banging posse cut; the track features Danny Lover, Salar and Sleazy F Baby and the four Blah heads go back to back cramming in short, energetic verses. The track lasts just over two minutes, but the concise format definitely works in it’s favour. Sheffield based MC Sniff appears on the lazy, ultra-chilled ‘Beazy’; Formz’s low-key production and the intoxicating vocals from both rappers make this track a highlight of the ‘Don’t Piss It Off’ LP. Closing out on the subtle piano based ‘Marooned’, the concise, cohesive project is yet another one to add to Blah Records ever-growing discography; the independent label is enjoying one of it’s most consistent and creative periods in it’s decade long history, and Bisk is one of several new additions to the roster that has been killing it for the past year or so.

With one of the most impressive work-rates in the game, Bisk is one to keep tabs on. ‘Don’t Piss It Off’ is the latest in a healthy run of projects for the London MC; with Formz at the helm of the beats, Bisk is free to let loose with his razor sharp pen-game, bringing a unique and distinctive outlook to the table, executed with flair and finesse across the album’s ten tracks (discounting the intro and outro). Something tells me it won’t be too long before we hear from the Blah MC again, but until then ‘Don’t Piss It Off’ is sure to remain in rotation for the foreseeable future.

Morriarchi – Buggzville Sessions (Review)

Morriarchi, Reviews

Blah Records continue their insanely productive 2016 with the release of ‘Buggzville Sessions’, the full length LP from longstanding and respected producer Morriarchi, with features from a who’s who of the best in hip-hop from the British Isles, as well as Canadian MC Danny Lover also making an appearance.


The menacing ‘Hush Ya Beak’, with it’s glitchy drums and screeching samples, is a perfect opener; it serves both as a reminder or as an introduction (depending upon your familiarity with Morri’s work) to his distinctively gloomy, hard-hitting sound. The shrouded-in-mystery MC Rox Slicken appears on this first cut, and he absolutely destroys the unorthodox beat.

‘Campbell & Algar’ is a slow-moving, swegged out banger from two of the UK’s finest lyricists. Jehst and Lee Scott collaborate on what is a long anticipated pairing for rap fans the underground over, and it doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. This is witty, sarcastic hip-hop at it’s genius best; Lee’s savage bar claiming just how much of the pie is his is a standout, and Billy Brimstone’s ‘Why everybody wanna rap hella fast? I’m in the bath with a copy of The Telegraph’ lyric is simply incredible. Only Jehst could make such a simplistic segment of writing sound so poignant.

Welsh Collective Squid Ninjaz are represented by MC’s Hekla and Joe Dirt who appear on ‘Roach Lyfe’. The gritty, grimey and smoked out production, which comes complete with hazy switch-up’s that compliment the lyrics as they hammer through the system, is absolutely fire, and the hard-hitting lyricism is silkily executed. Morri’s remix of Bisk’s tune ‘Pimpfunk’, which was originally produced by Lee Scott and was released on Bisk’s ‘Raw Shit’ EP, is up next. The smooth, cinematic, Tarantino-esque production takes Bisk’s raw, passionate vocal to an entirely different place from the upfront, hard-hitting original version.

Sheffield veterans Trellion and Sniff appear on ‘Buggzville’ and the leftfield, tripped out beat is perfect for both Northern lyricists’ cocky, laidback styles. Trellion’s verse shines, with some characteristic quotables; ‘I’m way iller anyday/but I don’t know shit about shit, who the fuck’s J Dilla anyway’ is just one of many. The Danny Lover solo track ‘Kapcha’ is the highlight of the LP, with the phased, affected bluesy guitar samples perfectly combining with Danny’s lazy flow and infectious delivery.

The album closes out with a Bisk solo track, entitled ‘No Phone Calls’; the simplistic, subtle production backs the Blah MC’s savage tongue as he delivers relentless screwface-inducing bars with a mixture of passionate realness and comedic flourishes.

‘Buggzville Sessions’ is quality through and through; the dark soundscape created takes a few listens to properly comprehend, but the vibe Morriarchi creates is thoroughly original and leaves a lasting impression long after Lee Scott’s adlibs on the final song have faded from the speakers. Blah Records’ talented roster is represented heavily on this release, and with Sleazy F Baby’s solo project due for release very soon they show no sign of slowing down.

By Sam Bennett






Lee Scott, Trellion, Milkavelli & Sumgii – Cult Mountain (Review)

Lee Scott, Milkavelli, Reviews, Sumgii, Trellion

Blah Records godfather Lee Scott joins forces with Sheffield’s Trellion, of Bad Taste Records, Piff Gang’s Milkavelli and Sumgii, who is behind the swagged out, wavey beats heard on many PG and LDZ tunes, on this cult edition project, entitled ‘Cult Mountain’. Any longtime Blah head will know that Lee and Don Silk have worked together previously; both were members of the legendary Children of the Damned, back when Milkavelli was known as Monster Under The Bed, so to hear this reunion of two of the sharpest spitters this country has produced, with the addition of one of the most distinctive rappers coming out of the North and a truly exceptional producer is a real treat. 

square pic logo

‘Cult Mountain’ starts off with ‘616’, and the spacious instrumental, bass heavy kick drum and swegged out lyrics (you know if you’re ’bout that life) combine to make an infectious piece of cocky, lazy hip hop. Milkavelli’s verse features a nice section where he reworks part of his verse from Piff Gang’s ‘Bionic’, and it works well in the new context; It’s clear from this opener that the three MC’s tones and styles of delivery are very well suited.

‘SMFDB’ instantly impressed when it was uploaded onto YouTube, and it’s a punchline heavy track, with Don Silk stating that ‘all these rappers getting sacked like they’re David Moyes’. Lee Scott is rated ‘on a scale of excellent to extraordinary’, and his stylistically unique and distinctive approach is emphatically effective, and his prolific output as of late is something to be respected.

The wonky instrumental of ‘Ay’ is a highlight; Sumgii’s style compliments the slow paced spitting perfectly, and Trellion’s menacing verse is heavy, as is Milkavelli’s cocky and technical multisyllabic ridden appearance. Trellion’s fellow Sheffield based, Bas Taste representative Sniff makes an impressive appearance on here, and if you’re not already aware of it, make sure to check their previous work together.

‘Cult Mountain’ is a dope little project. It’s on an ultra-exclusive steez, and I think the vinyl is sold out, so you better hurry to pre-order the tape versions. It’s packed with five cohesive and banging tracks, with three of the UK’s most talented MC’s coming together to produce a quality release. Get this while you still can.

By Sam Bennett









Lee Scott – Tin Foil Fronts (Review)

Lee Scott, Reviews

Lee Scott is a founding member of legendary UK hip hop crew, Children of the Damned. Tin Foil Fronts is an album any fan of the scene has been eagerly awaiting. Lee has such a history of creating quality music, which always sounds so fresh amongst the other albums being released from his counterparts. 


This is an album every UK hip hop fan has been looking forward to since rumours of its existence first started circulating. Lee Scott is such a prolific and forward thinking musician, it’s always very exciting to listen to a project from the Children of the Damned representative. Tin Foil Fronts is a dark exploration of Lee’s mind, with gritty hip hop beats and amazing verbal imagery making it impossible to switch off from this effortless display of how to rock a microphone and kill a beat.

Tracks like ‘GM Smooth’, which features lyrics such as ‘So here’s some random words to fill another bar’ as well as fantastically placed references and more abstract imagery and messages, are typical examples of Lee’s original style. It’s this command and exploitation of the English language that makes Lee Scott so well respected, and makes his music so unique and different. It’s great to hear Lee switch from gritty, boom bap tracks to songs such as ‘Yes He Did’. This features a more modern production style, and some weaving multi syllabics. With a flow that never strays off beat, it’s very pleasing to hear just how progressive this album is; this isn’t 16 tracks of the same dusty old 90s beat, this is simply some sick rap music.

‘Tunnel Deep’ has already been doing the rounds on YouTube, with a fantastic, vivid visual counterpart to the intense and mysterious track. Lee packs a punch with this track, and it still remains one of the standouts. However, the standout is ‘Puta’, it’s too good. Lee’s verse is fantastic, and it’s great to hear him team up with Don Silk, formerly known as Monster Under The Bed of COTD fame, and now rapping as part of Piff Gang, as well as two incredible spitters from Sheffield, Trellion & Sniff. This mean, slow paced hip hop is something Trelli & Sniff, as well as Lee himself specialise in, and this track is something else. The menacing beat, bars and flows represent underground hip hop at its core. Tin Foil Fronts is an album that anybody who prides themselves as a lyricist will appreciate from start to finish. Tracks like ‘Pie Eyed’ & ‘Goat Rap’ both see Lee Scott using some fantastic rhyme schemes, with so many internally connected syllables it makes it sound as if he’s simply gliding along the instrumentals. This album will hush anybody doubting Lee Scott’s ability as one of the best writers in UK hip hop.

Tin Foil Fronts is a fantastically crafted album, with a very unique sound and style throughout the entire LP. Lee Scott has always been a prolific rapper, with his back catalogue being packed full of gems and underground classics, and this album is yet another dope piece of work to add to that. Displaying incredible lyrical ability, as well as an expertly selected beat choice, this is a very dark hip hop album, but one that is sure to brighten the day of any fan of real lyricism.

By Sam Bennett