Saturday 7 March 2020

Sound the Alarm & Rhyme Killa by Iceski and Merlin - Singles Reviews

Iceski & Merlin
Sound the Alarm & Rhyme Killa
Singles reviews


Having previously written a review for this Hardcore Hip Hop duo, when they dropped two free download singles toward the end of 2019, the least I could do was to give you all the lowdown on these two latest releases.

As you are all aware, previous releases from the guys have kept that Hardcore and frantic Hip Hop sound, from the late 80’s & early 90’s, well and truly alive. Whilst at the same time giving everything they do a handle on current events.

So, let’s get straight into the first single, Sound the Alarm, this download comes with the original version and a remixed version...

Warning sirens sound to herald the arrival of Iceski hitting you with the title of the track, a heavy beat and some frantic cuts. Sound the alarm is, as you might expect, a pounding track that hits from the start and does not relent for one second and if you’re a lover of this style of Hip Hop or just Iceski & Merlin in general, then this one does not disappoint. Iceski is joined on vocal duties by another UK veteran in Alikazam, both of whom deliver their verses raw and unrelenting.

 If you like a little to mix it up a little and enjoy a bit of funk in your Hip Hop then the Sound The Alarm (Firing the funk cannon remix) will give exactly what you want. Keeping the frantic heavy vibe of the original but, with the added funky feel this one is certainly the kinda thing you want from a remix. It takes nothing away from the original just simply tweaks the vibe just enough, in my view.
If that was not enough to satisfy your hardcore taste buds, then check this one...

Not letting up for one minute, Iceski & Merlin return with Rhyme Killa. The kinda track that hits with all the finesse of a battle axe, it features former Planet of the Fakes member Nekwreka joining Iceski on the vocals. This one might not be as frantic on the BPM But, it still hits with deadly force as Merlin keeps the beat banging while Iceski and Nekwreka deliver the lyrics with that raw, in your face, uncompromising style.

After listening to these three, I just need a minute to compose myself...

It’s been a while since the guys dropped the incredible Full Battle Rhymer/Elemental, around eighteen months in fact but, they are well and truly back by firing a salvo of hardcore hip hop with these two heavy hitters. Keeping their heavy raw and unrelenting style Iceski and Merlin prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are back and one of the primo duo’s on the Hardcore Hip Hop scene, definitely in Europe and perhaps the world as a whole...

 As always, Merlin’s production has that heavy hardcore edge that takes you back to the early days of the likes of Gunshot, Killa Instinct and so on and you could not ask for a more perfect emcee to fit with those beats that Iceski. Iceski has that raw sound and rapid fire delivery that really defines that hardcore hip hop sound that so many here in the UK, Europe and everywhere enjoy so much. Put all that with a couple of masterful guest appearances and these two tracks deserve, at the least, a 7” release of their own so, getting them for free is, or should say was, an early xmas prezzie for you all.
These two are not letting up with a new 7" Vinyl in the works that is sure to get the pulse racing and the adrenaline coursing through the veins. So, keep watch cos there is so much more on the way.

If you have not, for any reason, heard these yet then the links are below so, go grab em now...

Till next time, I’m out.

Friday 6 March 2020

Stop Actin' (remix by Haynesy ft Jabbathakut) by Redvenom ft Donald D - Single review

Stop Actin’ (Remix – Haynesy ft Jabbathakut)
Redvenom ft Donald D
Single review

I recently reviewed the new album from long time UK Hip Hop maestro and Rhyme Syndicate member, Redvenom (please check my review of Whataboutcha) and the original of this single is taken from that album.

Now remixes can be a fickle thing, sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t and even when they do work it’s not often they really make you sit up and take notice. However, that is exactly what this track did for me, sit up and take note. When you get a remix from the likes of legendary UK Producer Haynesy, you can pretty much bet it’s gonna be something special and if you’re not sure what I mean, check my review of his recent album Dope BeatBiz Vol 1.

As I mentioned in my review of Whataboutcha, Stop Actin’, which features a true legend in Syndicate Sniper Donald D, is a track all about those people who want to make themselves out to be something they are not and the real message behind that is to Stop Actin’ and just be yourself.

The original was a dope enough track in itself with Redvenom and Donald D together on a track you know it’s gonna be real Hip Hop and what Haynesy has done is to take that track and, in true Hip Hop style, Killed it and by Killed it, I mean taken it to the next level. He has produced a jazzy club banger style track that will have you moving and grooving with this on rotation into the summer and beyond. For me Haynesy has the golden touch right now. Everything he is putting out there is that pure Hip Hop gold and producing this track in this style is a stroke of genius. If you add to that the bonus of cuts by the UK’s own Jabbathakut, you know this special as you couldn’t wish for a better line up of Hip Hop legends on one track.

It is the perfect track to have you hyped for the upcoming Notorious Syndicate tour, which is coming to the UK this year as Donald D celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the Notorious Album. He will be joined on tour by Redvenom, Edo G, The B-Boys, Fury Anderson (Cee-Rock “The Fury”) and many more, coming to a city near you soon.  

So, what more do you need me to say...

Head over, links below, and check this one and then anything else by these artists you don’t have.

On that note, I’m out.


Stop Actin' Remix - Video


Thursday 5 March 2020

The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth by Sparkplug - Album review

The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth
Album Review

At the tail end of last year, 2019, Leeds emcee Sparkplug dropped his latest release “The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth”, an album fifteen tracks deep and packed with stories from youth. Although he has been on the scene for some five years now, this was the first I had heard from this talented artist. So, you can see how easy it is to miss some of the new and rising talent out there on the scene and this album also features production from the upcoming McDank, Whitekey and Riseone; providing some heavy beats for Sparkplug’s multi layered punchlines and words which pack a punch filled with flavour, using styles and flows reminiscent of the late 1990’s. 


With such a wealth of rising talent and the description of his word flow and rhyming style, I was eager to get into this album and see where it took me. So, let me take you through the album track by track:

Kicking off with 7 Steps a laid back vibe with a strong beat and heavy orchestral notes, this track gives us an insight into what it’s like to be Sparkplug in his day to day life. Speaking of life, it can be a heavy thing and on Fifa 95, Sparkplug takes on another ride though life. The beat is more simplistic but, the vibe still heavy and if you can remember the days of playing games like Fifa, back in the mid-90’s you will know exactly how we used to pound those controllers while playing the game. There are times you gotta kick back and some just like to take the chill out to the highs of Space Junk. A nice beat you can nod ya head to and all capped off with a jazzy piano, really sets the vibe for this one.

Many of will go through our lives never knowing the riches of money, being Forever Poor but, less is often more and being rich is a state of mind and that is what this track said to me as it flowed to a laid back vibe that brought light to an often dark subject. If you needed any more confirmation that your state of mind is key in life, then Zest of Life will help you on that note too, you’re only as good as your mind state. Bringing back the boom bap style with Oddball, as Sparkplug takes us on another trip though who he is and experiences that have shaped him into the oddball he is.

Time to get deep into the mind of Sparkplug and what it is like trying to be the true you in a world where many try to someone else and Be Yourself, with its easy flowing vibe, aptly takes to the place of defining who you are. I Stand Alone with Many takes us on soulful and jazzy vibe trip through many of the stresses, strains and challenges of life. From the stresses and strains it’s time to shine a bit of light on things with laid back, easy going Be Easy, Because life might be hard but, you gotta take the rough with the smooth and take it easy.

The beat drops heavy on 1000 Words, as Sparkplugs takes us on a journey though painting life’s pictures using words, the art of the Hip hop poet. Now taking us back to the soul tip with Fiend, here Sparkplug details how we all have times we have done things we may not be proud off but, it’s all just a part of life and the experiences that shape us. Time to drop heavy as Sparkplug school’s us on the art of what he does on Witness. An Emcee’s words come from the heart through the mind and, for me, that is what this track really says. 

One Life, has a great beat that seemed to take me back to the 80’s vibe with Sparkplug dropping a track that really talks on the seeds and inspirations that grow into ideas and then more. The penultimate track is the easy going vibe of Time. This one is all about those who have walked the path before us and who have now left the earthly plane and the effect it has on us, this is as deep and real as it gets. The albums last track is LowDown and takes us out on a heavy jazz vibe, which is one of my favourite beats on the album. Here, Sparkplug takes us through some of his experiences from his youth to nights out on the town.

I have to say that I have really been impressed by a lot of up and coming underground Emcees and Sparkplug is no exception. The album may only have one simple focus throughout, which is his own experiences of life and what he has and does see around him day to day but, is that really an issue when he is well skilled in the art of using words as a canvas to pain pictures for the listener. Not just that but, when you add into the mix a wealth of talented producers who bring some nice vibes that really fit well with the individual vibe of each track and the overall vibe of the album, then for me it does a great job of bringing a vision to life. 

This album gives the listener a perfect platform to put this album on, in any situation, and just lose yourself in the wordscapes and mental pictures that the album brings to mind. You can really feel the reality and emotion in these tracks, some more than others, and that really speaks to me. It shows me that Sparkplug really puts his heart and soul into what he is doing. The way he crafts his lyrical content is very much a credit to him and I can see more, perhaps bigger things, to come. So, watch this space.

Definitely one to watch, I would advise you to grab a copy of this album and see where it takes you. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

I want to give a quick shout to Sparkplug for sending me the album to review and also to my man Danny Brown.

So, Please go grab a copy and support but, above all, enjoy and till next time,

I’m outta here...

I Stand Alone with Many - Video

Fiend - Video

Odd Ball - Video