Getting Out Our Dreams, Inc./Def Jam
Not enough here (s'only two minutes long!) to make it Money Shot, but damn close. I find PT's voice remains one of the most compelling in hip-hop. The music here is as basic as it can get, a single bass note repeated from which the programmed snare and hi-hats seem to to flow with a truly awesome anti-groove that's so reminiscent of the kind of polyrhythms Miles used to fuck with in the early '70s. Thing is, cos it's so short, I've already played it a dozen times in the last half hour. Goddamn. Muhfukka's got me addicted like crack. Oh, who am I kidding? Money Shot by a country mile. JUST GIVE ME MORE. For all those who really, really couldn't give a shit about the latest Cudi/Drake beef, pump this LOUD.
Utter shit. Remember when Drake was a nobody? Remember when 'So Far Gone' kind of grabbed you? Remember when his name wasn't entirely tied in with bullshit diss-wars, internecine pointless beef, too much autotune, shit crossover pop singles, crap dancing and 12-year-old twats calling him the G.O.A.T? No, me neither but this sappy saccharine doo-doo isn't going to bring any fond memories back anytime soon. For christ's sake man, stop clogging hip-hop with your mediocrity. Dangerously close to making me dislike Canadians, which would be contrary to my instincts and beliefs. Don't push me man.
'Gangsta Wraps EP'
Woah. Return of the legends this month. Cracking four-track EP from the much-missed Scorzayzee — hilarious rhymes about fast-food on the title track, punchy punchlines that will ring heavy bells with anyone who can't shake the Maccy-Ds habit. The highlight here has to be 'Equestrianism' remix — stunning cameos from Jehst and Micall Parknsun and a production that lashes grungey, fuzzy bass and guitar with a neck-snapping hyper-kinetic beat. Welcome back to a voice UK rap has missed for too long.
Just love the SPACE in this track, the way the bass is almost subliminal, the way it curves into the snare and hi-hats in 180-degree strafing waves. A totally minimal keyboard riff, a beat that booms with a real sense of dub cosmology and Giggs doesn't have to do much to keep the vibe both hot and ice-cold — lyrical slackness that makes you giggle as much as it makes you check your wing-mirrors paranoically. Get the album 'Landlord' on your Xmas lists now.
Czarface X Conway
'Machine, Man & Monster'
Didn't think they'd be able to pull it off but Inspektah Deck, 7L and Esoteric have done it again. The new Czarface LP, 'A Fistful Of Peril' is perhaps their best yet and is absolutely lit up with guest appearances that really push it over the edge. Blacastan, Psycho Les and Meyhem Lauren do sterling work but for this Griselda Gang fan it's so awesome to hear Conway spitting with these veterans. 'Machine, Man & Monster' twists eerie droney keyboards, crisp jazzy beats and a bass so brutally simple it's like Quincy Jones producing Flipper. Essential track from an essential album.
'No More Interviews'
The music doesn't grab me but the lyrics certainly do — great to hear Sean expertly ripping into the bullshit currently almost drowning hip-hop in its own incestuous infantilism. And he simply doesn't stop for the track's duration — a breakdown not just of showbiz nonsense but a track that pushes deeper, almost seems to interrogate the hysterical hyperbolic mindset of modern culture itself, as applicable and sharp and incisive to the worlds of politics (and even journalism) as it is to hip-hop and music. Very much looking forward to the forthcoming album, and wish more rappers would forget about hooks and just KEEP RAPPING. Superb.
'Patterns Of Escapism'
High Focus Records
Flip drops the title track from his new album, his sixth in a career that has always intrigued. 'Patterns Of Escapism' absolutely nails a recurrent subject for High Focus artists — the desire to escape reality and identity in a world getting increasingly harsh and difficult to survive in. Flip interrogates the mindset that makes drugs and drink such a daily retreat for all of us while never hectoring or lecturing, just breaking down exactly how it is. Illinformed laces together a lovely dubby set of psyche-textures and vocals around Flip's tight lines to seal a track that is precisely as engaging and addictive as the substances and habits the lyrics detail. Great stuff from a great artist on a great label. Check the HF feature in this mag soon as you can.
'Cozy Tapes Volume 1' dropped on Halloween and I haven't had a chance to check it yet, but if it contains any more tracks as straight-up bent-out-of-shape and STRANGE as this, consider me hooked. 'Telephone Calls' sees A$ap Rocky get a phone call from each of the guest MCs — Playboi Carti, Yung Gleesh and Tyler The Creator. No surprises who totally steals the show but it's the fkn BASS up in this monster that really unsettles you and will affect your wheel-bearing, ABS and potentially knacker your big end if you pump it too loud on your Blaupunkt. Be careful out there people, but pump this LOUD as your mechanic will allow.
Oh man, welcome back to a real hero. Rodney P has more rights than most to lay claim to being Britain's greatest ever MC, so it's superb to hear him return here (perhaps inspired by the positive reaction to his awesome Hip Hop World News documentary). He's still sharp, honest, deep, conscious, allows his lines as ever to slip over beats and go beyond the constraints of bars and timings — as ever, it's as if it's his consciousness that's actually creating not just the words you hear but the sounds accompanying them. Big bold beats, stripped-down fuzzy electro bass and tiny keyboard details, a relentless interrogation of changing London as angry as it is historically aware. I hope P gives us an album soon cos 'Untitled' suggests he's, terrifyingly, getting BETTER with age. Sublime.