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.

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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.

Brockhampton release single ‘1999 Wildfire’ in lead up to new album

3 albums in 7 months? Brockhampton are a rap collective who have made the seemingly impossible very much possible. The recent departure of Ameer Vann could have created a chaotic atmosphere in the boy’s camp but the first single off  their fourth coming record shows the boundaries they are willing to push.

Kevin Abstract and co invent a soundscape of safaris and exotic wildlife whilst harmonising in a way very similar André 3000 and Big Boi in Outkast classics like ‘Miss Jackson’. The squelchy beat perfectly complements the hypnotic flutes and dreamy guitar rhythms and expresses just how versatile of a group the Texas based group can be.

This is a tune made for the summer. The chorus’ psychedelic guitar breaks emphasises the idyllic tone to the track and makes it one of the most catchy rap songs of the year. Dom McLennon absolutely kills it on this one, his vocals seem best suited to the beat, but you’d be lying if you didn’t say that they all smashed this one.

Songs of the month – March 2018

1. Slowthai – North Nights

Pinning down Slowthai’s unique Northampton flow is difficult, with the 23 year old mixing constantly between double-time and half speed rhymes with unquestionable fluidity. ‘North Nights’ blends early 80s New York rap with the grittiness of pre-modern pirate radio grime. The rapper has hoped for a ‘scorcher’ this year and with singles like this one, I feel this is simply an inevitability.

2. CZARFACE and MF DOOM – Phantoms

I could have chosen any song from this album to be in my favourites of the month. Released only a couple of days ago, I nearly overlooked the project despite the all star line up of one of the most underrated rap collectives and arguably the most important rapper of all time: MF DOOM. Phantoms combines an uncharacteristic futuristic beat with distorted female vocals and the mouth watering flows of some of America’s best rap exports. Definitely one to carry you into April.

3. Goat Girl – Throw Me A Bone

In recent years Brixton has been known for its services to the London grime scene and being the home of multi-talented electronic producer Jamie XX. However, signed to Rough Trade records, Goat Girl are a 4 piece indie rock outlet bucking the trend and proving there is a much broader music scene in the area than many may think. Transporting you into a medieval universe, ‘Throw Me A Bone’ exemplifies why their is so much hype for the quartet’s debut LP and combines howling vocals with sinister bass lines and guitar progressions. Listen to a track by one of the UK’s current most unique outlets.

4. Jon Hopkins – Emerald Rush

As my A Level exams are looming near, I have been looking for songs that are a little calmer and easier to listen to. This track is perfect, it’s extraterrestrial nature makes it intriguing, whilst taking you to a new world that I have frankly found easier to revise in. Tom Ravenscroft has been viciously spinning the track on his late night 6 music show recently, which means it can only equate to greatness.

5. Cabbage – Postmodernist Caligula

The politically driven Fat White Family enthusiasts made some unbelievable singles  the leading up to their debut album and, as of Friday, we have been able to hear the project in full. In my opinion this is the best track off of the cut, a gut punching anthemic chorus crawls over the band’s distorted undertows. I have pure admiration for the sheer chaos Cabbage have caused for the indie scene over the past year. In an era of indie uncertainty, Cabbage have and will continue to stamp their sound on the face of the independent music industry.

6. Chris Lorenzo –  Don’t Stop

Lorenzo has been making waves with his night bass mink for a long while now. Tampering with the housy tones on his debut album ‘Destroy The Image’, the Birmingham artist has managed to create one of the best basshouse/line sounds the world has witnessed. Subtlety filthy, ‘Don’t Stop’ is a collaboration with Taiki Nulight, an equally interesting electronic prospect who will be accompanying Lorenzo at Boomtown for what will become the legendary Night Bass takeover of the famous Bangai Towers. This song will get a lot of play on the festival circuit this summer so be sure to check it out beforehand.

Jimothy Lacoste releases new single ‘Subway System’

Lacoste’s lower than low-fi sub urban indie rap has been gaining an extraordinary amount of attention in 2018. At the age of 18, the artist has already achieved a great deal and in such a short amount of time. It was only a couple of days ago he featured on DJ Semtex’s legendary radio 1 extra show and Dazed magazine were lucky enough to debut the video to his new single on their website. He recently announced a cosign with Giggs, arguably the biggest rapper in the UK, and I feel the Londoner is only just starting to scratch the surface of his true potential.

Watching and indulging in Jimothy Lacoste’s music transports you to his very own dimension, which is one of playful political simplicity, unique skanks and unbelievably catchy lyrics. On ‘Subway System’, we hear his intrinsic formula of looped synths and hypnotic monotone vocals, which amplify his unquestionably cool dance moves and black cat-eye sunglasses. I genuinely feel as if I am in a more desirable world when I listen to Lacoste, he makes life simply seem fine – even if ‘tickets are expensive [and] shit ain’t cheap’, which he rightfully raps on the track.

If you feel a little musically confined at the moment, then look no further than Jimothy Lacoste; skank your way into his world. I can assure you it is a way happier than the one we live in.

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

Franz Ferdinand @ Brixton Academy // 24.02.18

One of the most established 21st century Indie bands graced Brixton Academy yesterday with what could only be described as a fairly legendary show. Admittedly I hadn’t really listened to their new album prior to the gig but with one of the best debut albums in British history, and after seeing them at the Roundhouse 6 years ago, there was no doubt in my mind I was in for a treat.

Supporting Franz Ferdinand were Meggy Brown and Albert Hammond JR, both of which I missed but had been getting great reviews on the rest of the tour. After swiftly downing a few pints and rushing to the front through angsty middle aged couples looking to relive their uni days, I was soon being abruptly pushed around and belting out the lyrics to ‘The Dark Of The Matineé’ – which followed on from opening song ‘Always Ascending’. The demographic of the audience was exceptionally varied, there is an obvious youthful cult following for the Glasgow lads and I highly doubt there was anyone in that audience who wasn’t having a great time.

My all time favourite Franz Ferdinand song has to be ‘Jacqueline’ and I was pleasantly surprised to see it still in the set list. I feel the band especially like performing the track and it got an incredible reception from the audience, arguably as good as ‘Take Me Out’, which we all know would normally steal the show.

The encore was a mix of old and new, ‘Feel the Love Go’ set the standards high but it was the unquestionable ferocity of ‘This Fire’ that lit the fuse for madness in Brixton – Kapranos inviting everyone to crouch down and then jump up for the familiar crazy chorus.

It was a memorable night in Brixton, and I can only hope that it won’t be as long before I see them again. It seems the tour is completely sold out now but if you can catch them on one of their upcoming dates I would fully recommend it.

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.

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‘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

Bakar is back at it with ‘Million Miles’

It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what Bakar is, you may have seen him on TopMan billboards, hanging out with Rejjie Snow or as part of Milkavelli’s 616 Laigon crew but it turns out he is also a very talented musician. Bursting onto the scene with 2017’s indie smasher ‘Big Dreams’, it was hard to ignore the London based Artist’s simplistic but unique sound. If Pete Doherty and Skepta were to ever interact sexually, Bakar would be the product. Although this is a disturbing analogy, it is one that you will come to grips with very quickly if you listen to his material.

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After a short hiatus following the release of track ‘Small Town Girl’, the man is back with the instantly groovy ‘million miles’ – his biggest showcase of the musical talent we all know he has. Tampering with echoey synths that could be likened to Tame Impala has amplified his innovative qualities and will hopefully be a feature of his future tracks. I’m a sucker for a cow bell anthem too; he uses it brilliantly in this song, similarly to how you would imagine The Specials to back in the day.

Bakar is definitely one to watch this year. You can bet on at least a couple more new tracks to come soon but, for now, go and check out ‘Million Miles’.

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

Rejjie Snow releases his best track yet with ‘Egyptian Luvr’

The undisputed king of Irish hip hop last night released 4 new songs when speaking to Annie Mac for Radio 1. Featuring a single from upcoming album ‘Dear Annie’, the mini EP  is titled ‘Dear Annie: Vol 1’ and if the album sounds as beautifully blissful as this then it will certainly be worth the long wait fans have had to endure.

Produced by Kaytranada and featuring Aminé, as well as some soothing female vocals, the track is both rich in vintage Kaytranada soundscapes and Rejjie Snow’s goofy, sinister eloquence. His tone matches Amine’s perfectly and they create an undeniably sunny and springful world that should help us survive this horrid, typical, British weather. I have been saying for a long time that Snow is the most underrated rapper of recent years, he excels on any tune he makes. Whether it is the trappy ‘Flexin’ or the stoner banger ‘Loveleen’, he is one of the most versatile rappers out there. If you disagree, listen to his brilliant feature on Yellow Day’s track ‘Lately I’.

There is an overlying theme of love running throughout this mini EP, which may disappoint those who say they want Rejjie’s bangers back. ‘Snow (my rap song)’ is still one of my favourites of his and I would love him to make more tunes like this but you have to respect the creative direction he is taking and the maturity he is adopting. Also when I saw him at Secret Garden Party he played a few unreleased trappy stinkers so I wouldn’t be surprised if these feature on the album, ‘Milk and Honey’ certainly shows promise in this sense.

For now though, go and check out the Dublin Lad’s latest synthy hit and indulge in the whole EP, ‘The Rain’ is also especially great.