Verbals by A to the L
The Undefined – Weapon Of Choice / The Arrival (see ughh.com)
The Undefined are a crew out of Jacksonville, FL and have been together for over 5 years. The chemistry and cohesiveness show here, as each emcee flows lovely on the Wu-esque ‘Weapon Of Choice’. Its plain to see that a lot of time has been spent on this – the production is ill, and Slicemaster and Mal Demolish both dismantle the mic. The flip side, ‘The Arrival’ is more like a freestyle, right down to the beatbox effects. Again the flows are on point, but I’m definitely feeling the A-side more.
RATING: 6.5 / 10
Rodney P – Big Tings We Inna (Low Life Records)
Another banger from Mr Panton – can this man do no wrong at the moment? A fast paced echo-ey beat on this Sea On The Beach produced track, compliments Rodney’s quickfire ruffneck flow. This’ll move some ass in the clubs mos def. Backed with Worldwide – a more laidback joint featuring Skinnyman and Mr. 45, and an acoustic guitar influenced Joe Buhdha remix of Murderer Style, this is one you should definitely seek out.
RATING: 8 / 10
Roots Manuva – Dreamy Days (Big Dada)
The second single from the critically acclaimed “Run Come Save Me”, shows Roots on top form. When I did the album review, I maybe didn’t pay this enough attention as it was the closing track. My mistake – this is mad nice. Laidback beats, catchy female voices on the chorus, and Roots telling us of his hopes for the future. This will make a dent in the UK charts, its a cert. Some of the other mixes of the track leave a lot to be desired – the MJ Cole mix continues the tradition of record labels fucking up by letting house DJs remix hiphop tracks. IT DOESN’T WORK!!!! The Super Furry Animals mix is kind of bland, nothing really even happens until the 2 minute mark approx. and even then, its just a ramble to the end. The Roots Mix is more interesting, but as it removes the best parts of the original, ultimately unsatisfying. Also included is the beautifully named ‘Fly Turd Fly’, which never made the album – God knows why – cos this is hot. Get this for the original and the Turd track.
RATING: 7.5 / 10
Mark B And Blade – There’s No Stoppin’ It EP (Wordplay)
Continuing the strong string of UK releases this time around, MBAB come with this 4 track EP. ‘Superior Mind State’ features Life and is heavyweight stuff. An uptempo head nodder which starts with some typically British lines – “You’re a snake, a viper, devious and hyper, talk and spit saliva, sell out your moms for a fiver.” I likes. ‘There’s No Stoppin’ It’ is much more slow downed, another nice beat, set off with the “Bu-Bu-BuBuBu-Bu-Bu” hook. Worth a second spin. ‘Sealed With A Diss’ shows how much the gap has closed between UK and US hiphop – this beat wouldn’t be out of place on a Mobb Deep or EPMD album. Add the fact that Blade come off HARD on all the “self-proclaimed internet critics” (ain’t that me?) and this is a winner. (“Whaddya think this, some sort of a metamorphosis? I made a record that entered the charts and you think that I’m as soft as shit.”) Just to draw a line under things, they’ve gone and thrown the Blade classic, ‘Survival Of The Hardest Working’ on here too. Which means that this one gets…
RATING: 9 / 10
Rugged Science – J Rugged, Science, & Sco (Battlecat Enterprises)
This four track EP from Chicago crew Rugged Science starts with a blazin’ track called ‘Blazin’ The Third World’. A strong beat with a repeated string sample running through it. These cats are hungry, lighting up the mic with some nice flows. Its hard not to draw a comparison with Wu-Tang, as the beat is a typical Wu-esque thumper, plus the fact that one of these guys is eerily similar to Ghostface. (That ain’t no bad thing though.) Track two is ‘Windy City Hawks’, and has more of a laidback flow. The Ghostface-isms are even more apparent here, but again its no bad thing, as the emcees are more than adequate at handling the mic duties. ‘Puerto Rican Rum’ is the third track, and samples Chakachas’ ‘Jungle Fever’, which you may not recognise by name, but certainly will once you hear it. (Think 2 Live Crew – ‘Put Her In The Buck’). An uptempo party track which bumps nicely through the speakers. The production on track four, Automatic, is reminiscient of DJ Premier – this track is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. A verbal throwdown to those who are into real hiphop – the words here don’t describe how dope this is.
RATING: 7.5 / 10