Denzel Curry – TA13OO Trilogy Review

Denzel Curry is one of the true originals left in the hip hop game. Where everyone is becoming a mumble rapper, producing merely 2 minute tunes, Denzel is releasing tantalising tracks, with lyricism rich in diversity and intelligence. This sees the dispatching of Curry’s 3rd album, which he has split into three Acts and proceeded to drop on three different days. At first this seems weird, but as a complete project, it makes sense, with the album getting progressively devilish.

Act 1 (light) merges psychedelic rhythms and vibrant production, utilising features from the likes of Goldlink to cement an atmospheric tone at the start of the record. As colourful as the instrumentation may seem, Curry’s intense lyricism focuses on molestation and suicide, creating a hellish and demonic mood. In tracks like ‘BLACK BALLOONS//13LACK 13ALLOONS’, there’s a real OutKast vibe; the catchy chorus could have come straight off ‘Stankonia’, but this doesn’t last for long. ‘Sumo//Zumo’ is a ferocious end to the first act, utilising punchy one-liners and Denzel’s gritty vocals to lure you into the next part of the record.

DENZEL TA13OO

‘SUPER SAIYAN SUPERMAN//ZUPER ZA1YAN ZUPERMAN’ is an incredibly intense start to the second act (grey), manipulating synthesisers and haunting echoed vocals to emphasise this Halloween fixated world Denzel manufactures. ‘SWITCH IT UP//ZWITCH IT UP carries on the chilling atmosphere ‘if life is hanging by a thread, then a n***a might just be dead’ raps Curry in an uncomfortable and psychotic manner. The J.I.D collaboration shows the Florida rapper is an advocate for provocative music, the track expressing a political angst in the lyricism. Comparing Donald Trump and Donald Duck seems fitting and shows an intelligent and poetic mockery of one of the most powerful men in the world.

DENZEL CURRY TA13OO 2

The third Act is definitely the most hard hitting and thought provoking. Taking digs at the music industry and mumble rappers, in one of my favourite songs ‘PERCS//PERCZ’, the 23 year old draws on elements of heavy metal, whilst maintaining his unique ‘Soundcloud rapper’ style. However, the album as a whole, shows Denzel will be here beyond any streaming service; his music is more universal now, and this album will be at the core of any success he gets in the future.

Stream the LP below and go see him on his UK tour this December, definitely not one to miss.

Buddy – Harlan & Alondra review

I only became aware of Buddy a few months back, when he released his highly anticipated collaboration with A$AP Ferg. The hard hitting melodic trap banger ‘black’ was a catchy introduction to his music for me. On this album however, Buddy shows he is much more than your average American rapper, blending a variation of Afro-soul and funk instrumentation into one of the most pleasant albums of the summer. ‘Trouble on Central’ could slip very fittingly onto an album by the likes of Goldlink or even BROCKHAMPTON. ‘The Blue’ transports you to a world full of beaches, sunshine and general happiness. Do I need to sell it to you anymore? It’s a brilliant debut album and one I will have on rotation for a while.

My favourite track has to be ‘Trippin’, his collaboration with popular vocalist ‘Khalid’. As one of the more vivacious songs, touching upon the problem with drugs and mental health, it champions a blissful psychedelic melody, which sits so fittingly on top of a hard beat, that works simultaneously with his natural flow.

I was slightly sceptical when coming into this album, but only for the reason that I thought it would be another rap album full of trap beats, and with no real variety or story behind it. This was not the case. What Buddy has created is very exciting and deserves more praise than it will probably get.

The Internet – Hive Mind review

Syd the Kid has come along way since her more provocative days in Odd Future. Legend has it that Tyler, the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt and the rest of OFWGKTA would go to her house to make their early mixtapes. Now though, Syd, Steve Lacy, Matt Martians, Patrick Paige and Christopher Smith are making music so effortless and funky; blending genres like R&B and Jazz to distinguish themselves from the cult-rap collective they were once associated with.

THE INTERNET

Lead single ‘Roll (Burbank Funk)’ combines tantalising textures of soulful vocals with an incredibly infectious baseline; strong enough to get anybody grooving.  Steve Lacy’s imperative lyrics are luring and invite us, as listeners, to join their party of unravelling rhythms. The album was created “all over the world” said Syd in a Reddit Q&A, this really comes through – especially in the last three tracks. Made in Australia, the tunes have a hazier vibe and show a switch in mood for the LP. Relaxed, soothing and breezy, ‘Beat Goes On’ and ‘Wanna Be’, especially, sound a lot more carefree than the other tracks.

Key themes addressed in their lyrics, like homosexual love, are uniquely interweaved into scintillating synths, which sit fittingly throughout the whole record. This project is the strongest sign of all of the member’s solo projects coming together to produce an exclusive sound that their family like following craves. The lack of features on this LP is probably the only initial downfall I can think of. Previously, we have been treated with features from the likes of KAYTRANADA and Tyler, the Creator. Often, this takes their music to the next level, adding an element to their music that makes it more out of the ordinary. You could therefore, maybe, say that this new album feels slightly safe; Syd and Co don’t heavily experiment with the sound they are known for. However, considering how good their previous album ‘Ego Death’ is, this doesn’t necessarily matter, and can consequently be an aspect we hope to see in their future LPs.

 

Bakar releases debut album ‘Badkid’

It’s been over a year since Bakar released his momentous single ‘Big Dreams’, a contagious 3 chord instant indie classic that won the hearts of so many. Now the finale to his first LP, ‘Big Dreams’ completes a body of work exciting enough to compete with any rock outfit out there at the moment. But this record only scrapes the surface of the indie sphere, Bakar combines elements of garage and grime with synths that Foals would have welcomed with open arms on their debut album ‘Antidotes’.

Cutting between post punk distorted bass-lines and a chorus of psychedelic guitar riffs, BADlands is definitely one of my favourite tracks off the new album. Released as the final single before the LP, it justifies the praise he has received from Skepta, Rejjie Snow and even Elton John. If the mention of Elton isn’t enough to make you listen to this album then I don’t know what will.

‘WTF’ is another stand out tune, which captures manipulated vocal pitch tones that  Archy Marshall would have craved for on his ‘A New Place To Drown’ album, which is still one of my favourites of all time. The Camden based artist creates a beat that flips between garage influences from Mike Skinner and electronic house that could be likened to Jamie XX. Definitely one you could kick back and bun a zoot to in the summer.

Arguably, the only missing element from Bakar’s game, at the moment, is a concrete run of tour dates. Described by NME as ‘one of Britain’s most exciting new acts’, his show at Live at Leeds made waves around the internet for its explosive energy and ‘electrifying performance’. It’s time for Bakar to break big and this album is sure to be the root of his inevitably meteoric rise to fame, especially among the sounds of the underground.

This is a truly unique body of work, an album that will hopefully get the praise it deserves. Give it a listen below.

The Magic Gang debut album review

The Brighton Boy’s indie endeavours have taken them quite some way since their debut EP ‘No Fun/Alright’. With their first full length album out now, and a mammoth festival tour in the summer, the only way is up for the promising quartet.

The Magic Gang have had to wait their turn, with the undisputed kings of UK rock Royal Blood owning the Brighton music scene, as well as close friends Wolf Alice ripping up the festival circuit for quite some time now. With this debut LP, The Magic Gang offer a completely different taste of what is currently coming out of the sea side city; their anthem infested album is rich in multipurpose nerve tingling jingles that could make you dance emphatically or mosh contagiously – as I found out a couple of years ago at Latitude. Since then, their successes have elicit any responses to their critics and made them a staple part of Indie British music.

It is an exciting time to be a fan of The Magic Gang, their euphoric music has come along way since they were recording 4700 miles away in the Tough Gong Jamaican recording studio. Although tracks like ‘She Doesn’t See’ are still some of the best the band have produced, songs like ‘Getting Along’ are far more epidemic and, you feel, exactly what the lads want to be producing.

Critiquing the album is difficult. The songs are typical of the refined sound we have been hearing from the band over the past few years but maybe this is in itself a criticism. As unquestionably unique as their music is, I feel there is room for more creativity in the group; they can definitely turn it up a notch if they want to be propelled into the more mainstream success they deserve.

All in all though this is a very promising first body of work from the quartet, definitely an album to get your teeth in to this month.

Rating: 7/10

Rejjie Snow releases his highly anticipated debut album ‘Dear Annie’

Back in late 2017, Rejjie Snow promised us all that 2018 would be his year. With several mixtape and single releases, fans were getting anxious that the Irish rapper would never announce a debut album but luckily, as of yesterday, we have one; its definitely been worth the wait.

rejjie on a sofa

‘Dear Annie’ is an album diagnosed with love, Rejjie’s fresh and vibrant tones are certain to interpellate the hip hop music scene and hopefully put him up there with the likes of break out artists Goldlink and Mick Jenkins. It would be easy to compare Snow’s aesthetic as one similar to Loyle Carner’s but actually, due to working out in LA with producers as famous as Kaytranada, it seems this LP has sucker punched the artist’s visions in a more funky and soulful direction.

Has there been a more successful Irish rapper than Rejjie Snow? The quite simple answer is… No. Rejjie is a one man army here to revolutionise hip hop and once again he has out done himself, cutting his chest wide open and exploring ideas and concepts that, maybe 4 years ago, we didn’t think he ever would. With this album, has come a sense of maturity in the artist and his work, the album features the forever evolving ‘Jesse James Solomon’, on ‘The Ends’, and breakthrough American rapper Aminé on ‘Egyptian Luvr’. However, after giving the album its first full listen, the tracks that stood out to me were ‘Spaceships’ and the intro track ‘Hello’. Focusing on ‘Hello’, the beat is scatty and beautiful, implementing the happiness and cohesiveness of a gospel choir over a punchy trap beat. It is concepts like this that has made me so infatuated with Snow’s music and I can only hope that what we hear in the future is an evolution of this quite phenomenal body of work.

Be sure to go and check this album out, it is setting a high standard for hip hop in 2018. He is also going on tour very soon, previous shows have been unmissable.

rejjie tour

Rich Brian – Amen album review

Rich Brian, formerly Rich Chigga and 88Risings breakout star, has proved he is more than capable of making an enticing debut.

The immature fun of tracks like ‘Dat $tick’ and ‘Gospel’ is unfortunately gone, but his name change clearly shows his more mature direction, which is shown excellently on this album.

That’s not to say there are no bangers, ‘Chaos’, ‘Kitty’, and ‘Trespass’ are just some of the bragadocious, infectious tracks on this album which will most definitely hype you up. But the album shines most with its more reflective and self aware moments, the opening track speaks on how he’s the ‘stereotype’, who stresses over not getting Straight A’s, and how he’s doing it for the kids that look like him.

‘Occupied’ has a nasty, menacing trap beat that clearly shows his evolution. Whereas songs like ‘Cold’ sound heavily inspired by Kid Cudi’s ‘Man On The Moon’, and these influences help him shine. Tracks like ‘See Me’ capture the sound of youth and innocence, in fact the album is really about a young boy finding him self in his new found fame. And when Brian gets on his ‘Mac Demarco shit’ on love songs like ‘Glow Like Dat’, he definitely has our attention.

rich chigga 2

The smooth, silky production is most definitely a strong point, and Brian’s personality shines through with his catchy hooks. The features are a little one dimensional, Offset delivers, whereas 88Rising’s Joji sounds as uninspired as ever. But luckily, no tracks overstay their welcome, and Brian is always the main star.

The album is a little confused as to whether it wants to be ignorant, or aware, and at points, it becomes a little repetitive in terms of subject matter and flows, but the production switches up enough for Chigga to ride the beats with confidence.

Many thought, in the era of ‘meme rap’ that there was no place for a teenager with an offensive stage name, but this album will likely let people know he’s grown passed this. We get a lot more sense of his backstory and personality on this album. He’s no longer just flexing on Hip-Hop culture, he’s found his place.

Rating: 7.5/10

Shame – Songs of Praise album review

Coming into 2018 as one of British Indie music’s hottest prospects, Shame are destined to reach the dizzy, gritty and scuzzy heights their South London based mates Fat White Family have of recent years. Shame’s raw ethic harks to everything from new wave grunge acts like Drenge and Girl Band, to even some classic early 90s Manchester scene bands like Happy Mondays.

Charismatic, politically driven and spoken frontman Charlie Steen has one of the most beautifully abrasive voices I have heard, its provocative tone could make anyone become as anti-establishment as themselves. Songs like ‘The Lick’ are best examples of this, complimented by the droney bass lines and melodic guitar swings that are becoming so intrinsic to the boy’s unique sound.

My favourite cut from the LP has to be ‘Tasteless’, it is a track that you simply cannot fault. It has everything from subtle guitar lead breaks to visceral drumming patterns and the cascading vocals of Steen.

Go grab yourself an album that could well end up being one of the best of the year. 2018 is looking like a lively one for Shame.

Rating: 9/10

 

Brockhampton – Saturation 3 review

Completing the Saturation trilogy, Brockhampton today released their highly anticipated third studio album, which  is currently sitting fittingly in the top 10 album charts accompanied by big time rappers G-Eazy and Eminem. Sharing an egalitarian blueprint model similar to Odd Future’s, the DIY self-proclaimed ‘Boy Band’ cement the smooth, scintillating synths with the unorthodox flows we fell in love with on their first few LPs. Slick and Introspective, the band seem to have traded their bangers for slick and mellow thinkers, however a few tracks buck the trend and are absolute smashers.

It’s their most complete album, and the most consistent, whilst it lacks the raw appeal of SATURATION, and the expensive sounding production of SATURATION 2, it instead incorporates elements of UK Garage and other electronic sub-genres. The second track “ZIPPER” is extremely contagious, and will have you swaying in your seat, whilst tracks like “STUPID” are riddled with mental production choices.

It is, in a way, a coming of age story that almost sounds like a soundtrack to an indie film, as the main protagonists gradually find their way in life. “BLEACH” is another mellow track, that echoes with eerie backing vocals complimenting the song perfectly. The album borrows brilliantly from their peers, with soundscapes inspired by Tyler, The Creator and Steve Lacey adding to their signature, innovative Brockhampton vibrations.

Whether you are a critic of the Californian collective or not, you have to admire their ambition and the queer empire they have fabricated in only a matter of months. Aesthetically, Brockhampton have solidified their anti hyper-masculine image on this album, lyrics expressing their love for Harry Styles would seem ironic or maybe even crude by other indie artists but, on the track ‘JOHNNY’, you genuinely feel sorry for Kevin Abstract failing to get the One Direction stars phone number.

Van Ameer is by far the group’s most accomplished rapper, spitting truthfully about his tales of trauma and distaste for American racism. ‘Stains’ is definitely one of my favourite cuts from the album and a true portrayal of how Ameer does this so well. The different personalities of the rappers make for such elusive and intriguing contradictions of lyricism and hooks. Joba and Matt Champion have especially grown on this new record and should be credited for their more mature approach, but one that is far from sophisticated.

Brockhampton seem to be doing everything right at the moment – with an app and a film on the way, accompanied by a fully sold out American Tour. What they do need to do however is come to England, hopefully this will come off the back of the new record but for now go and check it out, embrace the hype.

RATING: 8.5/10

King Krule – The Ooz album review

Since releasing his debut album in 2013, King Krule has been dropping music under the alliances Archy Marshall, his full name, and Edgar the Beatmaker. However, now he is back with his second piece of work under the label that made him one of the independent music scenes most treasured individuals.

I didnt really know what to expect from Krules following LP; reaching the highs of 6 Feet Beneath the Moon was always going to be difficult, especially given his 4 year absence from the industry. I feel The Ooz proposes a more sophisticated and instrumentally varied track list in comparison to his last album, the Peckham born artist has taken the experimental jazz we loved on A Lizard State and combined it to the post punk of Easy Easy to create an enjoyably gritty soundscape

Personally I prefer the scattiness on tracks like Emergency Blimp to the smooth jazz on Cadet Limbo, but this shows the variation Marshall can bring to an LP. It seems effortless to him and, to be honest, there is no other artist I am more excited to hear from at the moment.

If you have been lucky enough to get King Krule tickets then I am very jealous of you, I lost my phone at Reading when they were released and of course they were all sold out when I got back. So fuck you but also have a good time, will probably be one of the best things you ever get to see, especially at the Koko, Christ almighty.

Rating: 8/10