From Then Til’ Now 2011 – 2015 – Fabp aka Fabpz the Freelancer (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

FROM THEN TIL NOW 2011-2015 - FABP.jpgThis is the third time I have reviewed a release from this artist in as many months, you can’t deny that he has to be one of the hardest working rappers out there. You would have thought that by now I would be getting quite familiar with his style, his approach, his attitude towards making music. Well, to be honest the more I hear the less sure of where he fits in to the grand scheme of things and this 4 year retrospective doesn’t help to clarify things much.

But that is the sort of artist I like, one who deals in curveballs, swerves expectation and gives you not what you want but what you never in realised that you wanted. This hefty musical tome embraces hip-hop, rap, reggae, urban electro, R&B and more but it is how they are joined together, (w)rapped around each other or somehow brutally collided that produces the goods. It’s raw, roughly woven, roots, underground and lo-fi. You will recognise the building blocks but the finished sonic architecture will make you think twice about what urban music can be in the modern age and more importantly where it might be going.

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Scene and Heard – CCCLXXXI : God Flow (No Sucka MC’s 6) – ether.UNLIMITED (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

tmzSbman_400x400Not every piece of music has to start revolutions, similarly not every track has to merely re-invent the wheel, and between the cutting edge and the tried and tested you find ether.UNLIMITED, a blend of old-school, grooving hip-hop, confident street level rap and skittering backbeat vibe. Okay, we have all heard something similar before, sort of, it’s built on a certain familiarity, for sure, and sticks faithfully to the rap canon of cool flow and edgy content but it is also cohesive, glossy, stylish, and sophisticated, as the unique melodies get compressed through a hypnotic and powerful delivery.

So whilst tipping its hat to the past, God Flow pushes out to the future too, smooth electronica fills the space between glitchy trap percussion and the eloquent, top end rap and the end result is a confident forward step into hip-hops bright new future.

And if you like what you hear, you can vote for this track in RhymeStars online rap contest HERE and help shape the sound of the future.

 

 

Change My Mind – DEVMO  (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

ii_jjst3qcr0_164b380c6cd82db8I’m always wary around rap, hip-hop, urban…call it what you will… music. Not that there is inherently anything wrong with such genres, of course not,  it’s just that as part of my music writing income there is a place where I am employed to review new, emerging and unsigned music from a more A’n’R point of view. It means that most of it is low budget, most is pretty unreconstructed and most of it is rap. And sadly for every one shinning gem I find, I have to wade through dozens of mumbling, bedroom based, self-aggrandising misogynists blending trap beats with whatever pre-programmed electronica was on the pre-settings of their Casio keyboard. Thankfully DEVMO is everything that is not.

It just goes to show you that even though Change My Mind is constructed using a lot of the same sonic building blocks, skittering trap beats, glitchy and pulsing electronica, fast and flowing rap and edgy and socially poignant lyrical content, it does a number of things that those urban wannabes don’t. It makes clever sonic choices, offers interesting arrangements, uses its imagination and wanders wilfully across the dynamic spectrum. Everything that the aforementioned also rans could only dream of.

Changed My Mind in particular wanders through some dark and sensual places, flitting between and flirting with both the profound and the profane, it bears its soul and throws caution to the wind and Kylie Jenner is a mesh of intense pop textures, futuristic dreamscapes and celebrity adulation. Get My Shit Together is a hip-hop-pop hybrid, all off-kilter dance groove and slick word play. The individual sonic components may be familiar but the way they are put together is astounding. A builder may stack bricks but it takes an architect to create beauty.

In a world where I often feel that rap music has gone down a certain rabbit hole, DEVMO is the Alice that holds a mirror up to Wonderland by showing it how ridiculous it is, just by not following the rules. It pricks its bubble of pretension and self-importance and reminds me that there are indeed artists who represent a bright new future for the genre. You just have to know where to look.

 

Change Up – Ben Green (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

33923415_846622298856242_3112983328249085952_oThere is one line in particular that stands out on this debut from Ben Green, “Don’t go dumb while the world goes stupid, gotta stay above it all keep that bird’s eye view,”  a phrase charged with a lot of relevance to the world today. It could refer to anyone, the everyday person in the street, a message to stay informed and not get taken in by other people’s tricks, traps and trolling.

It could refer to the aspiring artist, a reminder to stay focused and not be distracted by the things which aren’t important in the long run. It could also refer to the big picture, to the games and machinations of the political classes and world leaders getting caught up in their own agenda’s and forgetting who they really work for. Take which ever meaning that works for you, take all of them, that’s the great thing about the fluidity of lyrics and the ability to derive your own meaning from them.

As a piece of music it neatly encompasses where urban music is today. You can hear the echo of hip-hop pioneers and rap originators in its electronic rhythms and trippy trap percussion, the reserved lyrical flow and its late night, ultra cool hazy vibe. All music should push the genre forward, if you can do so whilst making people think then all the better.

Web: BGreenMusic.com

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/benjamingreeen

Instagram: @Benjamingreeen

Twitter: @Bengreen717

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bengreeenmusic/

Reverb Nation: www.reverbnation.com/bengreen7

Xhaling Emotions –  REEM IIDOL (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

23722786_1470725112981811_8976807007190931197_nReem is telling it like it is. One of the great things about rap music is that it looks you in the eye, shoots from the hip and draws first, firing off salvos of reality, truth bullets packet with explosive honesty. But what do you do when it’s those closest to you that are the jealous ones, when people let you down, when friends are turning their back on you or trying to hold you back. Well, what you do is pull out your best rhymes and turn your feelings into music.

Opening track Changes mixes spoken word and flowing rap deliveries and driving it on skittering trap percussion and a confident beats, and that sets the pace for the album as a whole. Throughout it Reem waxes lyrical about loyalty, honesty, reality and the fact that the world is a tough place and sometimes you have to accept that fear is stronger than love if you want to survive. Xhaling Emotions is a collection of gritty narratives that follow his life and world views, his hopes and aspirations. 

It is an addictive combination of hypnotic vocal delivery and trippy accessibility which really moves the ball forward, breaks out of the comfort zones and offers a new take on an old sound. It is the perfect eulogy for the streets, the hustle, the hassle, the grime and the game, it plays to stereotypical images but it drips with dark reality. If ever rap music spoke of the lives and aspirations of the young urban experience, this is where it is said most eloquently in raps own, new first language.

Scene and Heard – CCCXI: Living My Life  – Droop ft. Layvon and Coto (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Droop_Cover-620x420Revelling in the past is all very well and good but the best music, or at least the most original, seems to be made as people move things forward. It’s all about evolution, it’s about forward-thinking, it is the way the world turns. Living My Life is the sound of the world turning and music moving into pastures new. Droop pulls together various urban strands, skittering trap beats, hip-hop rhythms, cool rap flows and strange and glitchy electro-groove musical motifs and even a few sultry R&B tones and smooth, late night smokey vibes. Hip-Hop purists might argue on where this fits in to the generic jigsaw, but this is 2018, aren’t we beyond all that labelling and pigeon-holing. Isn’t it time to forget all about rules and traditions and just make the music that comes from you naturally, that best represents who you are as an artist, to actually say something about you and your life.

And it is this addictive combination of hypnotic vocal delivery and trippy accessibility which really moves the ball forward, breaks out of the comfort zones and offers a new take on an old sound. It is the perfect eulogy for the streets, the hustle, the hassle, the grime and the game, it plays to stereotypical images but it drips with dark reality. If ever rap music spoke of the lives and aspirations of the young urban experience, this is where it is said most eloquently in raps own, new first language.

Fast Life – Reemo (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

22154664_122839421749275_515465980460991075_nHip-Hop and therefore rap and all the other sub-genres that it spawned has always had a love of the hedonistic lifestyle. Commerciality may now be more of a driving force for the music being made on those tough streets but it never lost its sense of wanting more, craving success and the glamour of the lifestyle that it brings. Some might see cliche running through the song but this is a genre which has always known what it wanted and this may be just a mission statement rather than playing up to well used stereotypes. Okay, it is actually playing up to a stereotype but players will play…and why not?

But at least Reemo is honest about his aspirations, revelling in the fast life of the title, the money, the prestige, the respect, the power and everything that comes with standing out from the crowd. And he delivers a scatter gun of lyrical salvos, a fast flow and relentless delivery of rap narratives and scene setting storylines. Everything about the video plays into the concept too, not just the imagery, the gangster vibe, the money, the dope-smoke haze, the cars and the gold, but the way that the video is cut, jumping from street to party to studio in a blur of uptown glitz and down town glamour, of the mean streets and the urban sprawl. This is the music of the here and now, no looking back.

He delivers his narratives over skittering trap percussion and solid beats, it runs on a minimalist, future R&B groove, as much as it does a rap vibe and whereas many people making music in this urban arena are happy to rest on the musical laurels of past glories, Fast Life, as its name suggests, is more about moving forward and making your dreams come true.

But more than anything this song, and the video which acts as its visual wing man, is all about energy. It is there in the speed of the delivery, the cut of the visuals, the bravado of the lyrics, the inherent confidence, the desire to rise to the top no matter what it takes to get there. And despite the relentless aggression and the painting of the dark undercurrents of the world he lives in, there is fundamentally something good natured about the man himself, as if we all know that this is just Reemo living up to the image of the music he has made his profession, that this is really a different sort of game being played, that this is more about partying than playing the part of the bad boy.

Either way, Fast Life as a new contribution to the musical canon of urban music really adds something, perhaps writes the opening lines to a new chapter, but that remains to be seen.

Scene and Heard – CCXCVII : Living My Life  – Droop ft. J-Love and Codo (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

UnknownWhat’s in a name? Ambient hip-hop? Trip-rap? Space-Trap? Sure, I’m just making things up now but truly original music requires you to do that and Living My Life comes from a truly original place. Rap, hip-hop, urban music, call it what you will genres are a thing of the past anyway, has come a long way in a short time, embraced studio possibilities and the sonic potential afforded by the advancement of audio technology and reivented itself every few years.

Okay, you can pick at the sonic weaves and find urban threads, trippy electronica, ambient vibes and late night haze but as always it is how these are put together that counts and Droop and his cohorts have found a new angle on blending all of these disparate sounds.

So they may prove to be the masters of deconstruction but the main thing that they use to piece the musical building blocks back together, the musical glue if you like, is space. It is the atmosphere, the gap between the beat, the things which aren’t played and the pause between the lyrics which make it all so effective. Many musicians believe the most effective form of communication is to get up front and in the listeners face… or at least in their ears but Droop’s Living My Life shows that less is most definitely more and that absorbing music by some sort of creative osmosis is equally…no, make that much more, effective.

Eye For An Eye – Leon Vic (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

cover_pic_180404031306.jpegRevelling in the past is all very well and good but the best music, or at least the most original, seems to be made as people move things forward. It’s all about evolution, it’s about forward-thinking, it is the way the world turns. Eye For An Eye is the sound of the world turning and music moving into pastures new. Leon Vic pulls together various urban strands, skittering trap beats, hip-hop rhythms , cool rap flows and strange and glitchy electro-groove musical motifs and even a few sultry R&B tones and smooth, late night smokey vibes.

It’s a track that tips its hat to the past whilst shaping the future and it does really feel like a first, a bold step forward, a post-urban style that pushes beyond the rules and regulations. Ignores the fickle finger of fashion and has no time for musical guardians and narrow-minded pedants telling it what hip-hop, pop, rap, trap, electronic music or any other genre should be about.

And it is this addictive combination of hypnotic vocal delivery and trippy accessibility which really moves the ball forward, breaks out of the comfort zones and offers a new take on an old sound. It is the perfect eulogy for the streets, the hustle, the hassle, the grime and the game, it plays to stereotypical images but it drips with dark reality. If ever rap music spoke of the lives and aspirations of the young urban experience, this is where it is said most eloquently in raps own first language.

As a calling card for his forthcoming EP, Forever on Some High, this is the perfect teaser to make you want to explore his world, his attitude and his music much more closely. Urban music, it would appear,  just took a bold step into the future….

Scene and Heard – CCLXX : Leading Nuh Race – Dupriece Kreed (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Various_Artists_Dupriece_Kreed_Brave_Life_Antik--front-large.jpgLeading Nuh Race is a strange creation, one which sits at the cross roads of a number of conflicting ideas. It combines a soundtrack feel with a forward thinking rap work out, it has the honesty of a live take, an improvised flow (check out the unedited noises before the vocals start) but comes with a visually high concept video. It is lo-fi in its production, wilfully meanders into and out of the song but has a vocal catch which stays in the mind long after the video has finished.

Not everything has to be polished up and presented to the highest standards, the fact that this feels more like a demo makes for a wonderful change from all the slick gloss that passes by me these days. It also shows how great the technological revolution is, that music isn’t just made in high end studios and that anyone with a few hundred bucks worth of equipment can now be part of the underground revolution which is taking back control from the big industry machine. And often it is where the most innovative ideas come from…no big budget to justify, no expections.

Leading Nuh Race is wonderfully minimalist, a mix of ambient vibes and skittering trap beats but with an “in your face” top end vocal delivery. It’s beguiling and odd, it’s like little that you have heard before and it resists easy pigeon-holing or genre assignment. But that’s the whole point I guess.

Various_Artists_Dupriece_Kreed_Brave_Life_Antik--front-large.jpg

My Life –  Hot Dizzy  (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Hot_Dizzy_12_PRO02.jpgAs previous releases have proved, Hot Dizzy speaks about the world as he sees it. He doesn’t trade in fantasy scenarios or dream-laden ambitions, he trades in stories that reflect his own life, spins tales where he is the central character commenting on the highs and lows of life from a very personal point of view. If Fake Nigga was his take on the falseness and the lack of loyalty amongst people he thought he knew, My Life does literally what it says on the tin. A 5 minute auto-biographical wander through his life to date.

East Coast lyrical dexterity meets underlying West Coast swagger, golden age 90’s vibes but laced with the fresh and exploratory sound of the contemporary scene, Hot Dizzy is the perfect blend of familiarity and forward thinking, of knowing your place in musical history and being brave enough to write your own chapter. From their he warps other genres through the music, it may be built on rap flows and hip-hop swagger but like all artists working at the cutting edge of todays sound you will also find strange electronica, trap-percussion and other up to the minute adaptions.

Like all music that moves the ball forward, the core values and intent of the chosen genre remain in place but it also brings new to the table. Evolution is the way forward!

More Hot Dizzy  below…

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hotdizzy
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hotdizzy
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hotdizzy/
Website: http://www.hotdizzyhd100.com/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/hotdizzy

 

Hustla Intro – Gutta Mayne (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

avatars-000409093518-xdr9tr-t500x500Not every piece of music has to start revolutions, similarly not every track has to merely re-invent the wheel, and between the cutting edge and the tried and tested you find Gutta Mayne, a blend of old-school, grooving hip-hop, confident street level rap and  skittering backbeats vibe. Okay, we have all heard something similar before, sort of, it’s built on a certain familiarity, for sure, and sticks faithfully to the rap canon of cool flow and edgy content but it is also cohesive, glossy, stylish, and sophisticated, as the unique melodies get compressed through a hypnotic singsong delivery.

Boss runs on trap-rap percussiveness and staccato vocal salvos and Worldstar is a brooding and bruising statement of intent. It is Hustla Intro which stays truest to the old school way of doing things, but this is an artist with a foot in both the past and present and that, after all,  is how you create the sound of the future.

And it is this addictive combination of compelling vocal delivery and trippy accessibility which really moves the ball forward, breaks out of the comfort zones and offers a new take on an old sound. It is the perfect eulogy for modern life, the highs and lows of relationships,  it plays to universal images seen from a personal perspective and it drips with dark reality. If ever rap music spoke of the lives and aspirations of the young urban experience, this is where it is said most eloquently in raps own first language.

Find out more about Gutta Mayne here :

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Gutta-Mayne-2122915494661775

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mayne_gutta

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gutta_mayne

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