Wednesday 30 September 2020

Album Review - Don't Fight Your Demons by Arrested Development


Don’t Fight Your Demons


Arrested Development

Album Review


The date of 25th September 2020 was a ground-breaking day the Hip Hop Music and saw the release four huge albums. One of those albums was from 4 x Platinum and two-time Grammy award winning group Arrested Development with their latest release Don’t Fight Your Demons.

The group have championed empowerment and consciousness within the Hip Hop culture since their debut back in 1991. Using a diverse range of sounds and styles from African rhythms, classic Hip Hop beats and tribal vibes has continued to contrast how many see Hip Hop music. Over the years their unique style and sound may well have divided the fans and they might not be as much in the limelight as they once were but, AD and frontman Speech have still been releasing material with that unique vibe and the same conscious message.


Don’t Fight Your Demons, is been executively produced by Speech (Vagabond Productions) and Configa (Configaration Records) and features production from AD’s Speech, Configa, Cris Acosta and MRK SX. The album also features a host of guest artists. So, I’d just like to get straight into album track by track and give you my thoughts and feelings.

The album opens with the heavy pounding boombap vibe of Back Down produced by AD’s own Cris Acosta. One for everyone here that see’s Speech look deep at the state of how black people are negatively promoted in the mainstream media and the need for more conscious thought to be put forward in music. Moses takes us on a more soulful vibe with an underlying, almost trap style, cymbal giving it a slightly modern edge to the sound from Cris Acosta. Here we get Speech reminiscing on his life, career and what it is to receive and give respect being free as you walk life’s path. Speech takes over the production reigns for Amazing to which he brings a jazzy vibe which is soon joined by a banging head nod beat. The message here is the evolution of the mind to combat the racism and disrespect in society. Up next is the first single to be released from the album. Becoming is the first track produced by Configa and opens with choral singing and funky mix of bass guitar, cymbal and tambourine which is joined by a proper head nod beat funked out piano. An upbeat vibe that takes us on a trip through visons of growing up with domestic violence, crime, and prison to switching your focus to the positive vibes of family, love and creating your own story on your own journey.  


Young Americans eases in with Speech’s production bringing a laid-back mariachi guitar vibe, providing a nice backdrop for the track focusing on the struggles faced by many young people from ethnic minorities growing up in America. Configa returns with another head nod vibe on The Same People, the guitar vibe running through it brings an almost eastern European feel to the track. The Same People explores the role of capitalism in our societies, where money is king and sickness is big business and speech is joined by Skyy High, Kuf Knots and Christine Elise to open your eyes to what is going on. In a society where image is everything the Do or Die Mantra explores the fact that times are so tough for so many there is very much a do or die mind state to make ends meet. Configa provides a soulful boombap style groove as the platform for this one. Moving in to Sunset in Ghana Configa feels our ears with an easy listening tribal vibe with a soulful guitar that is the perfect canvas for AD to be joined by O’hene Savànt and Rambo to paint this aural picture of what it is to have that link between where you are to where you roots lie and that can be your personal roots, your family roots or even your ethnic roots. Play with Fire brings a multi-layered production from Speech that fills you with Electronic, Ragga fusion and features Let The Dirt Say Amen and Fro Magnum Man. This one takes us through life experiences and that to learn the lessons we need in life, we do sometimes have to get burned by the risks we take and no matter the out come we grow and spiritually evolve from all those experiences.     

For Ecclesiastes Speech brings a more laid back vibe of electronic, percussion and piano elements with a dreamy slide guitar carrying us along on a look at how others, even within our families, will often allow their own narrow minded views to impact how they talk and attempt to lead those around them. The title comes from the Old Testament and has several meanings, one being a book of teachings and this brought a lot to mind as I listened and considered experiences on life and the opinions of others always have great influence on us as we grow and move through life. There is a far more modern vibe coming through on the production from MRK SX (who also features on the track) for Pardon You For Disrupting. A laid-back track this one looks at the deeply personal struggles so many of us go through and something I can personally relate to. So many times, these struggles cause us to miss so many important experiences. Time to take it more upbeat as Cris Acosta returns to bring a more electronic dance vibe with some soulful piano as together we Journey On, and life is a journey in so many ways. There are so many elements or facets to life as we walk its path and we are always moving forward and seeking to create a better future. We’ll See had a vibe that instantly made me think of Prince (R.I.P) it just seemed to have an essence of his musical influence on Cris Acosta's production here. The track speaks of how we look at things as we grow and how things actually turn out as our experiences change. We may think things have not gone the way we expected but, in truth things are exactly how they should be and we just need to be at peace with it. 


We now move into two remixes of the track Amazing. Both remixes come from Configa and demonstrate the power of how you can take the vocals and produce difference sounds and vibes that can make one track instantly more appealing to a much wider audience whilst still keeping the original message. Producers from many influences have been doing this for years and it is so refreshing to see it demonstrated here. The first is the Configa Higher Level Remix and gives us a pounding dance vibe, mixing up influences and cuts to form a highly listenable version that will appeal to many and be at home in the clubs as well as in the car. Next up is the Configa Gutter Remix brings are far more street vibe to the track with a more heavy, gritty feel that takes as much inspiration from modern street music as it does from the more traditional Hip Hop vibes.

Time to move into the final track of the album, The Forsaken. Here Configa gives us a funk fuelled delight of beats, guitar, and strings so, you gonna be moving to this one for sure. This upbeat track looks at some of those moments where people are overlooked or forsaken for whatever reason. Not getting the recognition you deserve or being thank advantage of can fuel us to do many things, we can go the negative way or let it become just another rung on the ladder as we climb higher.


Overall, the roots of this album might stand in Hip Hop but, Arrested Development and Configa have crafted something that has multiple levels of appeal. There is a plethora of musical influences here that make this album a pleasure to listen to. Now, I am under no illusions that it might not appeal to everyone but, you could say that about any release from any genre. But I honestly believe Arrested Development deserve a lot of credit for this album.

The subjects that are explored on this album are those that are impacting the lives of all of us on a daily basis. The challenging times we are currently living in have seen the impact of Racism, capitalism, mental health, and many levels of violence touch our lives deeply. We have seen debates rage across the globe on social media it has opened our eyes to how those around us see the world and we have not always liked what we have seen. An album like Don’t Fight Your Demons speaks on many of these subjects in a way that is universally understood. Music is a universal language, regardless of the genre you enjoy the words you hear or the energy, vibration and frequency of the music that you feel, we all enjoy music and music can and does carry important messages to everyone. From the age old tribal drums and rhythms to the modern day music that grew from it, if those creating the music have a connection to what they say and that connection fuels emotions, then that emotion can and will be felt by the listener and that comes across perfectly in this album.

The album was a pleasure to listen to start to finish. I’m not always a fan of some of the more modern musical vibes, such as trap or grime but, I would not skip a track on this album. The flow from track to track works exactly as it needs to and allows the listener a perfect flow without too many peaks and troughs creating a rollercoaster effect of energy. The production from all involved is top notch all round and weaves in the various musical influences in such a way as to create a wealth of audible soundscapes for the listener to enjoy, add to that the depth of lyrical content from Speech and the other guest artist's and you have perfectly crafted expression of conscious revolutionary Hip Hop that truly does bring a whole host of social issues to bear and more than hints at the fact that change, on a global scale, is what is needed if we are to truly unite as one people with one understanding. 

One last thing I would like to add is this, if you look at the title, Don’t Fight Your Demons, and really think about it there is so much you can get from those few words. It is not about fighting, it is about learning and spreading the knowledge to reach and teach others. If we pass on what we learn, pay it forward if you will, then real change can be achieved in our lifetime.

I have always enjoyed the music of Arrested Development, even those tracks many felt were not that strong, perhaps I just connected on that deeper vibe? I recommend you check this one out and make up your own mind.

Huge thank you to Configa for sending this to me.

Don’t Fight Your Demons is available now to buy and to stream from all platforms, check the links below and don't forget to connect on social media too.

Peace Out,



Will open in a new window

Buy Don't Fight Your Demons on Bandcamp:

Buy the Single Becoming on Bandcamp: 

Becoming Streaming links: 

Configa and Configaration Records on Bandcamp:

Arrested Development Website: 

Speech Website:

Configa Website: 


Official Becoming Video

Friday 25 September 2020

Album Review - Collective Thoughts by Kryptik


Collective Thoughts



Album Review


Collective thoughts was originally released back in May this year and was one of those occasions where I saw the album promo online from friend and the artwork kinda pulled me in so I went over to Bandcamp, listened, grabbed a copy and connected with the man himself and I’m glad to be finally able to get my thoughts out on it.

Collective Thoughts marks Paisley based emcee Kryptik’s return following 2015’s Necessary Evil. During that time, he was building his own studio, dropping production for a host of other artists, and starting Dental Rekords. With this return Collective Thought’s was detailed as a front seat into his life experiences and revolutionary moments in a well-balanced and easily digestible, story-telling format. Combined with a diverse and somewhat left-field soundscape, ‘Collective Thoughts’ goes against what’s currently trending and challenges otherwise taboo topics such as addiction, ego, self-doubt, conflicts of a creative mind as well as tackling turbulence, trauma and other testing times from his own personal life, and it was reading though this on the Bandcamp page that really drew me in. Plus, the proceeds from this release go to help the ‘Sunny Govan Community Radio’ a local radio show which regularly tackles addiction and mental health, which really makes this worth supporting.


OK, so as this album is 14 tracks deep, let’s get into it…

First up is Let It Breathe which has production from Physiks, The organ intro eases you into the album but, as the beat hits with the huge horns running through it, you are automatically nodding your head as Kryptik explores his frustration with the fakes in Hip Hop and the fact that he was born to spit. Keeping it boombap is Crink’s production on Tell Me Something a track that see’s Kryptik taking us through surviving the stresses and strains many of us experience as we walk the path of life. You might even want to dig out the air guitar as the track ends on wicked guitar riff. The guitar heavy vibe of Oh Why puts you in mind of the musical vibe of Tarantino movies. This one also features Sonny Green and delves into alcohol addiction and the issues that come with that.

Ayahuasca has an electronic etheric vibe to it that merges with wicked and almost tribal drum. Here Kryptik explores the effects of the traditional South American drink used in shamanic ceremonies to aid individuals in their spiritual journeys. Heavenly vocals and a simplistic beat are core for the short almost poetic Lonely Tear. Although short this track hits as deep as any track as you are drawn into looking deeply into your soul and some of the realizations that come from that. The tear of thoughts not realised and looking toward the path to redemption and freedom. Time to expand your mind with DMT, the banging beat and almost dreamy guitar helps you switch up your perception of reality as Kryptik takes you on a mind bending verbal journey to the outer reaches of alternate realities and beyond.

Boaby Hit-the-Deck features some funky dope production from Tha Vilest. The beat keeps you nodding along while the funk piano has you swaying and Lu Angels stunning vocals have you sat in some seedy smoke filled bar listening intently to stories drifting from the speakers and here that story is the sad tale of one persons decent to their lowest point. The instantly recognisable Clubbed to Death by Rob Dougan is the base for Shattered Dreams, a hard-hitting view of personal experiences of life and the light at the end of the tunnel that is holding on belief when everything else appears lost. Laid back keys and Jazzy production from Sik Sense are the platform for Kryptik on Burnout, as he looks at what it takes to bring yourself back from the dark times. 


Going Under is a chilled vibe from DJ Riseone that sees Kryptik take us through the things we do and the regrets we can have as we do our best stay standing whilst all around us seem to be falling. Time to take it more upbeat with Found the Love, which has a nice soulful feel to it with production from Crink. Sometimes the one thing we need is closer that we think, we just don’t always see it for what it truly is until our heart opens, and we truly see what is in front of us. Taking the sample from the track of the same name by rock group Boston, More Than a Feeling is a personal look at Kryptik and how he see’s his journey through his own music and life in general.

Into the penultimate track You Want It, produced by Crink with truly soulful vibe. This one is a deeper look at life and the fact that life is just what we make it and if you truly want it, it’s yours to manifest and make it happen. Into the final track Perched which is produced by Sterling. A nice head nod beat with some dreamy harp sounds carrying you along. Kryptik looks at how we often see life from the stand point of being perched on a knife edge, constantly swinging one way then the next, and the way we swing is ultimately down to how we see life around us and how we react or don’t react that is key to our experiences.


Overall, I found this album to be a great balance of vibes and subject matter that flows from start to finish perfectly. There is nothing here that screams filler as you listen which means you won’t put this one on and feel you need to skip the odd track or two. The energy and emotion you get from each track flows effortlessly from those deeply personal moments to the more light-hearted ones and this just adds that extra dimension to the listenability of the album.

The production is all top notch be it Kryptik himself or one of the guest producers and this would sound equally interesting as an instrumental album. Musically the album takes you on its own trip alongside that of Kryptik’s storytelling, speaking of Kryptik’s lyrical ability, as an emcee he is one of those who has put a deep connection to the words he writes and the visons those words create in the mind of the listener. From those more personal memoirs to the more light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek tales you can feel that love of his chosen craft and of Hip Hop.

This most definitely one you do not want to miss if you have not heard it already. This is, from start to finish, a well crafted and highly listenable album that explores the areas of life that most of us have been or will go at some point, be that personally or with someone close to us. It is how we relate to what Kryptik is saying that makes this album essential listening in my view.

What is also worthy of mentioning here is the stunning artwork from CWORDS. It really does a proper good job of setting off the deep aspect of the album and is another thing that drew me to this album. Just goes to show that getting the presentation of the release just right can make it speak volumes in other ways.

So, grab Collective Thoughts now and check out Kryptik’s other work including that under the guise of MC Sexion of Delivery Room. I’ll post the links below.

On that note, Peace, I’m Out.



Grab the album on Bandcamp Here:   

Kryptik on Facebook:   

Spotify link Here:

Dental Rekords on Bandcamp (Delivery Room, DJ Rise One, Crink and Crimzon Ink):