Friday 27 August 2021

Album Review: Lead By Example by Ramson Badbonez


Lead By Example


Ramson Badbonez


There will be few of you out there who do not know the name Ramson Badbonez. One of UK Hip Hop’s most prolific emcees has returned but this time he puts down the mic in favour of production duties.

Lead By Example has a stunning line-up of emcees from the UK, USA, and Canada to handle the vocal duties, whilst also featuring turntable trickery from DJ Miracle, Kompoze and DJ Jazz T. With such a wealth of talent being brought to bear on this album, it promises to be as good a debut production for Ransom as it is a departure from his norm.

I’m not gonna make you wait here but, get straight into it…

Straight out the gate, with On Your Mark, you get an immediate sense as to what this album is gonna be about. A perfect head nod beat with keyboards is the background provided by Ramson over which we are introduced to the album over the course of a couple of minutes and the outstanding cuttin’ and scratching of DJ Miracle. It has your pulse racing from the get-go which is just as well because there is no letting up as heavy drums and jazzed up horns hit for Stay True. If you were wondering where the bar was after the intro then there is no doubt left that it’s been knocked into the atmosphere as Reks, Ruste Juxx and Blacastan drop some incredible bars of lyrical fire to get you even more fired up. The mood chills a little as the piano heavy beat of Rap To The Future hits like a cool breeze to your grill and sees Dizzy Dustin, Mr Hooper and Moka Only take us back over some of raps early days, with cuts from Kompoze, before returning us to the present.

Nonchalant is up next with some heavy drums, bass and guitar vibes that mix together to provide the fuel for Mark Fear and Ramson himself to each drop a verse in sparring fashion. Just to remind you that Ramson Badbonez can easily drop a verse when needed. Strings, piano, and a slightly more laid-back drum vibe are the backdrop for Justo the MC, Johaz of Dag Savage and Sleep Sinatra to drop some deeper more thoughtful words on Bismillah, which is Arabic for ‘In the name of God.’ Drums, piano and a mariachi guitar vibe create the prefect soundscape for spinning tales of the cities underworld and the Wolves who walk those streets. Those street stories are spun by Ramson alongside Cyclonious and Phoenix da Icefire.

Equality for Every is like a breath of fresh air, almost an aural cleanser, with and upbeat drum and guitar vibe over which is a lively brass flavour that drives the track as Ramson and Chima Anya look at the subjects of equal opportunities and racial justice, just as if they are sat at a table musing over current affairs together. Pounding drums and sonic sounds herald the arrival of Tru Trilla, Fly Kwa and Prince AK to the ring. There is nothing pretty here as these guys are here to deliver a flurry of lyrical punches with only one aim, to knockout all those Lame Ducks. Time for Ramson Badbonez to go it alone on Chinchillas. The drums pound over a melodic eastern style vibe and Ramson is clinical here in taking out those fakes. His lyrics are as sharp as a scalpel and as precise as a brain surgeon.

The drums continue to pound alongside flutes and guitars as Az Izz of The Outsidaz, Cymarshall Law, Speed Walton and Quip break out the heavy verbal artillery. This one is high octane and as deadly as any stand off from Reservoir Dogs. The penultimate track here is a posse style cut of epic proportions and one which reads like a ‘who’s who’ of top UK emcees as Ramson is joined by Kashmere, Truemendous, Mysdiggi, Micall Parknsun, Joker Starr, Gee Bag, Confucius, Jehst and Phoenix da Icefire for the Black Hole Cypher. The drums are heavy with a sonic vibe alongside and the lyrics are cerebral, with each bar drawing you further and further into the black hole but, what’s next? Where does it lead? It leads to our final track. A great spoken word intro leads on to solid boom bap beat with cuts by DJ Jazz T. Recognize Ali, Skyzoo and Juxx Diamondz step up to drop breathless flows and straight up knowledge with one main theme, if you wanna be an inspiration, a leader in this game then you have to one thing and that’s Lead By Example


So, what have learnt from this album? What has the last 39 minutes shown us?

We started of by ticking a lot of boxes. We had Ramson Badbonez sidestepping from his usual trademark position as an emcee into the role of producer. We had a whole host of truly talented guest artists who joined Ramson from both sides of the pond, and we also had Ramson Badbonez displaying his mic prowess as well so, expectation was high, but did it deliver?

Did it deliver? The answer is easy, you’re damn right it did…

The album delivered on all levels. Ramson’s production is spot on throughout this album. It creates this perfect flow from start to finish that raises you up and keeps you there, ebbing and flowing, before taking you up a few more notches towards the end and wrapping up the whole thing on a new level of high points. The masterful use of talented guest artists is breath-taking. From legendary figures such as Dizzy Dustin, Moka Only, Micall Parknsun and Jehst to names that might be less well-known in the UK such as Fly Kwa, Justo the MC and Speed Walton, every one of these emcees drop performances worthy of those who are at the top of their game, this shows the sort of respect that Ramson Badbonez has in Hip Hop, that all these emcees and DJ’s are prepared to step up and to work with him at such a high level. It also demonstrates how Hip Hop is one and all those within it are one, breaking down borders to stand together as one.

Lead By Example truly is ‘The Real Deal’ and I have no doubt this album will be loved by Hip Hop fans the world over. This is not a UK Hip Hop album this is a straight up Hip Hop album, showing that hip hop is universal. I can also see this album as one of those that will stand the test of time and receive heavy rotation on playlists and radio shows wherever good music is played.

Can I overstate how good this album is? Nope…

Lead By Example is out today on New Dawn Records so, I suggest you find out how good it is yourself.

On that note,

I’m Out, See ya Soon,




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Thursday 26 August 2021

EP Review: Chalk Alley by Briti$h


Chalk Alley




Following on from the release of his debut EP ‘Stuck In A Bunker’, Ipswich MC Briti$h is back with a brand new release, the Chalk Alley EP.

The Chalk Alley EP is billed as a concept EP looking at the contrast of daytime and night-time life in the back alleys. With a diverse range of beats this one is sure to demonstrate the lyrical abilities of Briti$h. The EP features appearances from Sloth of Indigo Frequency and Kyle Parrish (KP) while production comes from label mate Bunker Beats among others.

So, join me as we take a walk-through Chalk Alley with our guide Briti$h…

We first step foot in Chalk Alley under the light of day and to a jazzy vibe created by the laid-back beat and a mix of keyboards and horns. Here Briti$h gives us a little introduction to where we are, while letting us know just what to expect as we experience the goings-on in both the day and night. The further we venture into the alley; the mood shifts to a mix of sharp drums and nerve tingling electronic organ notes. This darkens our vison allowing it to take on an almost post-apocalyptic feeling. This hard-hitting vibe is apt as it reflects the current state of reality and the fact that you gotta stay Woke to all the lies and false truths. Our minds are under constant pressure of fear-based media that it clouds our thoughts but, don’t close your eyes to this or get lost in a smog that hides the truth.

As the skies darken over the alley a new reality begins to emerge. A grime infused beat and a mix of twisted banjo and tambourine notes carry us to the Red Hammock. This is a place where a new smoke haze feels the air, a place where realities are less defined and where the questioning of the state of society and what is happening around us floats around in hazy clouds of coloured smoke drifting from one mind to the next. Our trip continues but, now in more ways than one, as the smoky haze accompanies us as does a boombap beat and some etheric sonic sounds. Sloth joins Briti$h at this point and it’s time to Watch Out as they treat us to a straight up bars’ session of lyrical freedom. It’s all about saying what you want, how you want, mixing it up with the music and the smoke to take us of to another dimension. It’s been some night in the alley and as the faintest hint of light begins to colour the sky once more Briti$h takes us to meet KP and together they take us through a wealth of different strains, each one blended to help us to Elevate our minds to different places as we relax in what comes, drifting off…

With the sun now high in the sky above Chalk Alley an upbeat piano driven boombap vibe fills the air. With everything we have experienced in the alley it’s time to bring our thoughts back to Who we are and finding your life’s purpose, once you know what that purpose is then you have to pursue that dream with all your heart and make it yours. We end this trip with a mix of keyboards over a grime beat. Keeping our energy up Briti$h gives us something to take away from our trip to the alley. He drops his Thoughts on a whole host of different things, musing on life, the current state of reality and what we do or don’t do as a species in respecting the place we live.


So, we have accompanied Briti$h down Chalk Alley through the day and the night, the good and the bad and at times, with some help, and in an envelope of purple smoke we have drifted beyond the material confines of the alley in new realities. We have learnt that Chalk Alley is place you may, or may not want to frequent but, it is well worth checking it out for yourself.

The EP is a highly enjoyable listen and the differing vibes from Hip Hop to grime show just how far Briti$h can stretch his style and he does so with aplomb. The production and lyrical content fits perfectly together creating vibrant visions for the listener to immerse themselves in. Those visions work so well as they twist reality with some smoked filled dreamscapes and on to more thoughtful spaces for you to create your own.

Everything here balances very well and the narrative flows so well reflecting what could easily be 24 hours in the life of a location that could be based almost anywhere in the world today, depending on where you are listening to this.

Once more we find a talented MC emerging from the UK. One who is not afraid take what he does and push himself mixing up his wordplay and style to bring us some top-notch underground rap. What more do I need to say…?

Chalk Alley is released through DJGT entertainment and is available on Vinyl, CD and also digitally on all major platforms on 26th August.

I’m off for a lie down,




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Chalk Alley

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Album Review: Overlooked / Underrated by Drawgs


Overlooked / Underrated




It’s always good to take a slight departure from the norm, once in a while, and Overlooked / Underrated by UK based producer Drawgs aka Connor Metcalfe is just that.

The album is divided into two parts with Over, noted as the more boombap focused part, and Under being a more gritty triphop edge. The dual nature of the project is reflected in both the title and artwork. I QuoteThe naming of the project was chosen due to the definition of the words. Overlooked and underrated, as descriptive terms, are essentially very similar in meaning but with opposite connotations; Over and Under. It is a perfect example of the project itself, being cohesive, in the same vein while having two sides to it. The artwork for the project was made to be rotatable by 180 degrees to further emphasise the 2 part nature of the project. The top half is a sunset representing the lighter side of the project, while the bottom half is outer space representing the darker side of the project.”


This album is an instrumental project which, for me, is excellent as instrumental albums have a lot less boundaries when you are getting lost in the music. So, let’s get into it…


The first part of the album kicks off with the Over (Intro) which immediately brings a chilled boombap vibe. This track brings a sampled meditation introduction which helps prepare us for what is coming, and it may touch us and feed the subconscious. That boombap vibe now switches to a jazz infused sound with keyboards and horns. Like the sun through the trees, it’s time to let your mind be free, Vacant if you will, and just drink in the sounds and let them carry you to wherever you wish to go. From that jazz sound we now morph to more laid-back electronic vibe full of synth notes. You can’t help but, let the sound carry you off to an Evergreen Forest where only these sounds and smell of pine inhabit your senses. As you are drifting away the beat switches once more to more blues sound to the beat mixed with horns and a wealth of layered sounds. The vocal sample seems to indicate we are constantly revolving. This is not a Revolver like a gun, here we are revolving within our own minds. Think of how the mind goes in circles due to indecision, especially when you anxious over something getting you and what that something might be, if, indeed, anything does get you…


We now switch into the second part of the album with the Under (Intro), the drums and guitar put me in mind of the UNKLE Main Title Theme from the album Psyence Fiction. The vocal samples direct you to wake up to what’s really going on around you. Now we are looking hard at what’s around us mix of Head nod beat, a sitar vibe, and samples from Casino take us to the rough streets for Nicky’s Revenge. There is duality to the message in this track, just like the dual nature of the album, as visions of the violent nature of the movie’s character and his non-stop thirst for revenge can compare to how we can keep getting up no matter what life throws at us, keeping our focus on our goals and dreams and not on revenge. A mix of heavy drums, Guitar and synth vibes seems to keep us grounded in the dark streets for Don’t Want Me. Here we are drawn into his world where being a part of something, is not always what it seams and when you see something you are not supposed to suddenly puts you in a spot where those you thought were your friends are not what you thought they were. The mood lights to more head nod drums alongside some heavy keyboards, horns, and an orchestral sound. Echoism shows how music so often echo’s real life and here you can easily sit and feel something different each time you listen, be it a darker or more uplifting vibe, it encompasses it all. Some instantly recognisable drums pull us into a guitar heavy sound mixed with multi-layered sounds for a laid-back vibe. It’s time to feel more Rested as this track seems to show that in the midst of chaos there are moments of clarity when you can make so sense of what’s going on. You could also see opposite noting the moments of chaos amidst the calm. The album ends with boombap drums, keyboards, electronic sounds and more on the ! Outro as you receive a thank you for listening to the music and a hope that your experience will bring you back again for another experience.   



Overlooked / Underrated comes in at a little 19 minutes long and I wanted more. Instrumental albums always take me to different places, sometimes quite deep, and I really wanted more time to experience each soundscape. It is one of those albums that I’ll be putting in the car or playing as I write, just so I can experience it over and over.


The inferred duality of the album transfers to an actual feeling of duality as you listen. Each aspect of the album (the Over and the Under) can easily give rise to a lighter or darker experience depending on the mood of the listener. This is a credit to what Drawgs created here musically and visually (He also produced the album artwork) as both elements can be rotated through 360 degrees in the awareness of the listener. As you listen to the music and look at the artwork, your own experiences and thoughts are drawn into the mix creating all manor of visions. Even the music itself, with its two-part, light and dark approach seems to morph into each other making you wonder what really the boom bap aspect is and what is the triphop aspect. What you end up with is a two-part urban meditation that gives you time to chill in the Over before the Under grounds you back into the reality of real life but, with enough space for that real life experience to be individually focused just as it was in the Over.


Drawgs production is spot on here as he creates these emotive soundscapes that come from his own imagination but gives the listener plenty of space to create their own personal direction. The mix of Hip Hop inspired sound is prevalent throughout the album. There is enough of a change between the two halves of the album to be apparent but, also there is enough of a blurring of sounds and vibes as to make you keep guessing as to the true inspiration.  

The album art also adds another dimension. Designed by Drawgs himself, it can be rotated mirroring the duality of the album and the design and lettering, alongside the music allows you to lose yourself in the image as you listen to the music but, it also has this almost sci-fi aspect allowing you to drift off into the future and back again if you so wish.


As I have said plenty of times before, this is one you really have to experience for yourself in order to get your own experience from. So, I urge you to give it a go and let Drawgs sound take you off somewhere new.


Overlooked / Underrated is out on 26th August.


On that note,


I’m floating of elsewhere…



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Tuesday 24 August 2021

Album Review: Future Life Progression by O.Love


Future Life Progression




With such a wealth of good music being released in 2021, I was excited for the release of the album Future Life Progression from Bristol based and Multitalented artist O.Love (aka Asian Hawk).

I have previously reviewed a couple of the single releases from this album in Embellishment and Controversial. This introduced me to his brand of electronic neo-funk, neo-soul. This was a refreshing sound, and I was looking forward to listening to the album to see what else was instore.

So, lets get right into it…

The albums title track, FLP, is also its intro, with sparce and spaced-out tones providing the backdrop, it really invites you to listen with an open mind because every time you put this on it will bring a new and exciting experience. This is mind expanding, like an introduction to a musical meditative experience. Our first full length track is Controversial which features Matt Owen (Noah and the Whale) and Keno Decosta Medford (Sounds of Harlowe) providing guitars. This track reflects the driving force and desire to leave the DJ world behind and expand to newer, more exciting musical heights, with universal appeal. This is a spaced-out Neo-Funk/Neo-Soul track that has a vibe right out of hyperspace, deep space, or some previously undiscovered alternate reality. It has a funk fuelled beat over which floats that eclectic mix of guitar, synth and melodic vocals. Those vocals bring to your awareness all that is or could be termed controversial. By the end of the track, you are feeling like you have just been dipped into some awesome mix of Prince and Parliament/Funkadelic but, with vibe like it’s all been experienced through your third eye. Now we are floating around just outside of earth’s atmosphere the Galaxy Cruise Briefing provides us with some intergalactic electronic notes with vocals that make us ponder what is about to happen on our journey.

A Wonder of the Modern Age is a slightly more laid-back vibe with synths and piano notes. There are plenty of wonderous things in our modern age with technological advances and so on but, is there anything more wonderous that watching someone you love just do the things they do, being themselves. Embellishment continues our journey and see’s O.Love’s voice bring an almost dreamy quality that perfectly contrasts yet compliments the track. As you listen you are drawn into this parallel dimension of electric funk which lifts you up and carries you, floating in an alternate colourful realisation of space. As you float along the vocals reach into your mind and create this almost trippy vision of the duality of lives and everything around us. Where things are not always what they seam and those you trust often have an ulterior motive for doing or saying certain things. We venture further into the cosmos with an upbeat extra-terrestrial Rhythm which is infused with drums, bass, rain sticks and Rhodes piano (played by Jackson). It is all about the rhythm here and how it makes you feel and move.

We venture beyond our solar system on an electronic, futuristic jazz vibe and boom bap drums, alongside vocals and a rap from Press 1. All this combines to transport your awareness In To The Parallel dimensions. Feel free to stay here, especially if you consider you own dimension and are not happy with what is looking back at you. We spend a short interlude suspended between one dimension and the next. The music is unplugged with just a piano to accompany the vocals. This short moment says so much, O.Love says Before I Leave there is still time to reflect on all those individual times you ponder on life and who you would like to spend it with. Guitar and drums accompany the organ notes on Instascam as O.Love looks at the world of social media. There is a value in keeping touch with friends and family. There is also value in making new connections but, with all the fun you can experience comes many pitfalls, especially the addiction of valuing ‘likes’ above all else.

Dumbface hits with a percussion vibes and bass over the organ notes. The message here seems to reflect the ups and downs of everyday life. Especially those time we lose control of our conscious thought when tired and exhausted. We just need to maintain ourselves with poise and positive focus and not throw it back in one’s face, no matter the situation. There are times in life where we meet someone and there is that instant energy, The Spark, between you. These times you just have to act on that impulse because something special is to come. This is reflected in the energetic mix of musical notes here from guitars, bells and syth. From one kind of energy to another. A drum and synth heavy vibe takes us back to the 3-D world where Time Is Money, working hard and exhausting our mind and bodies. We do this all for money, a created concept that has no real value, except that which we put on it…

Pre-Wind has a melodic backdrop of bells as we realise that noise is a winding mechanism tightening, increasing the tension for what is to come. Our anticipation is carried forward with that winding sound alongside drums and guitar as we continue to Wind Up. What we are winding up to is an increase in sexual tension. The visions created here are x-rated to the maximum as you and your partner engage in all manor of fore play to increase the pleasure. That pleasure and the experience of love and making love is explored further as we groove to some smooth electronic vibes and guitar notes. Here it is all about taking that love to the next level, a universal experience that takes you both to the Finish Line.

We end the album with some smooth mix of drums, guitar, and synth vibes on SMHL. The sound carries us to the moments of true deep love. When it so strong for that special someone you just want the universe to do one thing, Send Me Her Love…


For me listening to Future Life Progression echoed the passion, the energy, and the spirit of Prince. Having been a huge fan of the purple one for many years, I was truly taken aback at how this album captured the essence of the late musical genius. I do not know if this was intentional or not but, it honestly felt spooky, just as if Prince was sat on the shoulder of O.Love who channelled that musical genius through once more. That might be a huge statement to make and, if you agree or not, that was what my initial feels were as I listened, and they have not changed.

You can truly feel O.Love’s love of music here and creating an album that will uplift you but, at the same time will allow the listener to transport themselves to different spiritual and emotional experiences each time they listen.

Although I have mentioned Prince here as a major influence, in my view, you can easily feel different influences from funk, jazz and soul to Hip Hop and more modern musical vibes, there is something for everyone to feel on this album. Through all these multi-genre influences there is still something that O.Love imprints on this album that is truly his own and for me it is his passion for creating something different that people can feel on many levels that speaks out. In a true departure from the DJ that people know him as, he has reinvented himself and in doing so has created a piece of music that truly does touch you on many levels.

What can I say except, experience Future Life Progression for yourself and see where it takes you?

The album is out now and at only a fiver, it's an absolute bargain.




Get the album on Bandcamp Here:

Monday 23 August 2021

Album Review: C.I.R.C.U.S. by Frisco Boogie



Frisco Boogie


Nottingham emcee Frisco Boogie is back with a band new long player for us to get our ears and heads around. Following on from his recent releases Masks of the Morning Son (2020) and Rainbows in the Rubble (2021), his new offering of C.I.R.C.U.S, promises to give us much to ponder. I say this as the expanded title reads as Conditions In Reality Causing Us Stress, this alone brings us to thoughts and memories of what we have all experienced over the last eighteen months or so.

Now when I began work on the review, I actually did not know the title, so it is interesting to see what my thoughts and intuition have conjured up as I immersed myself in the C.I.R.C.U.S.

The album begins with the title track CIRCUS. The beat pure head nod Hip-Hop with some flute and piano create this atmosphere that makes your head spin in different directions. Any circus is filled with many acts, and you never know what to expect and here we see this reflected in the arena of life around us. Anyone looking in at life would wonder if we are going to continue to be stuck in the three ringed circus and how it affects us or will we break free?  An acappella into leads us into flute and drum driven beat that’s pounds your ears. This pounding reflects the way we pound our mind, body, and soul by working so hard, daily, just so we can provide. So often we do it not because we want to but because we feel we have to, only resting when the sun goes down at Sunset. A more laid-back vibe is created by drums, guitar, and organ notes. Here Frisco Boogie lets us know that there are too many people out there who do not give what they do 100% dedication. To be respected you need to be on top of your game and means staying with your vision, stick to your path. Always enjoy what you do and don’t let things distract you, because that 100 you put in will bring you 100 or more in return.

A darker edge settles over us with some eerie organ notes over a trap style beat. This one looks at relationships and more importantly those we have with ourselves. Those relationships are not always positive as they are often filled with deception and, you have to ask yourself, if you were on the outside looking in then who would be Clowning who. The trap style and darker edge stays with us here on Dennis Rodman, where Frisco Boogie looks at how the current state of affairs, dis-information, differing theories and uncertainty all have a huge impact on mental health. All to often this causes us to question what we see and even who we are, sometimes it leads to people reinventing themselves into a different version of who they truly are and covering up that true version. It’s back to the boom bap now with some electronic notes we take a look at those times we are Flying High on our own adrenaline. That place we go to where we feel we can do anything and that nothing can bring us down, where it’s all about that extra step, taking a chance and setting up an advantage. At the end of the day who knows what tomorrow will bring so why not go for it…

Piano over a trap style beat brings us to a reality check looking at those who chose to Runaway from their life. There is always a reason, a story behind what someone choses. Here is a stark look at the stories behind the choices. Some big orchestral violins, piano and guitar over a pounding beat create a reflective feel as the focus switches to peoples Opinions. A person’s opinion is just that, there own outlook on something and often opinions differ from person to person. Often our opinions change as we grow and learn but, there are times when some opinions don’t change. It is these times when some allow their opinions to consume them and to become more than just a point of view that conflict happens. The mood switches to a more upbeat mix of drums and mariachi style guitar vibes. Mydnite joins Frisco Boogie here to look at how emcees focus on honing their craft, constantly looking to perfect their wordplay and keep themselves at the top of their game, just like those Prize Fighters.

Piano, a sparse beat and trap vibe mix with the sung opening a chorus to create just the right sound for Theatres Of The Mind. Mental health is such a huge subject but, still so often treated as the elephant in the room. Frisco Boogie takes a look at many of the aspects of how it affects so many of us. For some that might be just a passing phase, a brief touch with the darkness. However, for many those shadows are always present making it so hard to see or only catching a brief glimpse of the sunshine. The album’s penultimate track is a posse cut, full of heavy horns, guitar and most definitely boombap. Frisco Boogie is joined by Montener The Menace, BooDah and Lee Ramsey for a tongue-in-cheek look at cancel culture, movies and TV and all those who just can’t Shut Up! Constantly going on about this and that, convinced their opinion is the law. The album ends on a trap vibe that is piano heavy. Frisco Boogie takes one last look at what is going on in the world. It may look like everything is going to shit. Everyday we wake to more lies and the fear-based media, governments who seek to control the masses through that fear. All is not lost to us, there is still a way to bring back the light. We must Raise The Stakes, no matter how hard, rise up and be the catalyst for change on a global scale…


Now you might well think that C.I.R.C.U.S has quite a dark vibe running through it and is that not surprising given the current state of society in which we live. We are not sure what is truth and what is not, what is control and what is free thought, the media constantly fills our awareness with fear-based reporting, and we wonder if there is new divide being created among us over a needle. But Frisco Boogie does enough to show us that whatever is going on, one thing is certain and that is the light will shine again and it will come from our own desire to stand tall and create a positive future.

As always Frisco Boogie mixes up his styles and flows with his intelligent and emotive wordplay. He gives just the right verbal description to fuel your imagination into focusing on exactly what he is putting across. He creates this perfectly balanced mix of music and words that has you bobbing and weaving through the album, reflecting exactly how it is in life. There is a great balance of musical styles here that will appeal to wide range of audiences and allow everyone to associate with the messages he is putting across.

The whole idea of basing the album around the analogy of the Circus creates this instantly recognisable vision you can easily overlay on current events. A place where people go to be entertained, surprised and even shocked, never knowing exactly what to expect or what is real or what is deception or misdirection. Also, there is this hidden aspect, the story behind the performers, who are they truly and how much of their performance is either reflective of or a cover for their own lives. Of course, there is also a flip side to all this. While everyone is focused on what is going on in the Circus, what is going on outside? What is their attention being drawn away from?

The world around us might be one big C.I.R.C.U.S and the only way we can break free of that is  to wake up and not give in to the fear and the lies, to stand up and leave the C.I.R.C.U.S and see what is really going on and lift ourselves up to the bright future.

C.I.R.C.U.S is out now.

So, it’s time for me to leave this circus,

Peace out,



Get the Album on Bandcamp Here:


100 Official Video

Friday 20 August 2021

EP Review: The Bedroom Rapper EP by Controverse


The Bedroom Rapper EP




I previously reviewed Controverse when he featured on two tracks for Wounded Buffalo Beats on the album Black Magic & Horns. Here he featured alongside Pacewon, Jus Allah and Mayz, so it is good to finally get the chance to review his solo work.

2021 has been a productive year for Controverse with two singles already in the bag, On My Own and Hold Tight, the Bristol emcee now drops The Bedroom Rapper EP. The EP is four tracks with a nice little bonus, and he promises that there will be a bit of everything in this one.

I think I’m just dive straight into this one for you…

The EP kicks off with dark vibe of heavy drums and melodic piano notes but there is a thoughtful air to this one too. Here we find Controverse looking at the struggles of life, the moments that define who we are and those moments that literally save us. Along the way there are those who stand by us every step of the way, those who put us down and then there are those who only choose to stand by us once we have made it. Through all these moments there are those times when we need to respond and those times when it is just best to Say Nuffin’.

Time to chill things out a little with a laid-back beat and some multi-layered sounds. Controverse takes a look at why he Don’t Smoke Weed. He takes us back to times when he did smoke, that weed is not necessarily a bad drug and tells us about the reasons behind why he made the choice to stop. This is easily one of those tracks for those who enjoy a smoke and those who don’t because you can easily kick it and chill either way, it’s your choice.

From that chilled vibe we are brought back to our feet with a gritty mix of heavy drums and synth notes. Get Ya Fists Up is not a track that glorifies violence, as Controverse makes obvious in the into. What this is, is an upbeat hard-edged track that looks at those times when you are in a situation with no choice but, to defend yourself and that could be for many reasons. So, you can get deep into this one or simply just enjoy the beat and have some fun with it.

Time for some head nod now, piano driven with a good sprinkling of cuts. Although that piano also gives this one a thoughtful aspect too. That’s Life see’s Controverse take a look at the ebb and flow of life and the storms that occasionally darken the skies on our life’s journey. The message here is that, yes, life does bring us challenges and hurdles to overcome but, the reality is that, ultimately, life is what you make it. You can choose to fall or stumble and stay down or you can keep getting up every time and forge ahead in the knowledge that a better tomorrow is coming, and you are making it happen.

The bonus track brings us a deep emotive vibe from its sparse drums and piano driven sound to the etheric vocals. On My Own is one of those deeply personal tracks that hits hard on many levels. Here Controverse opens his heart to you as her details coming through all those hard times, the times you could never imagine seeing the light again, but eventually marvelling as the sun breaks through the dark clouds above, showing that the road ahead is clear, and you made it. There is a connection here that touches us all and one we can all associate with, from those who have already come through it to those who are still wondering when the sun will breakthrough? Don’t worry, the sun will shine through…

I have to say that this one did not disappoint. There was a bit of everything here, from some fun to things more thoughtful and those that will probably have you sitting back and maybe reaching for a tissue.

The thing here is that Controverse has skillful wordplay and flows which he fuses with feeling on a level that can just leave you blown away. He really puts a huge amount of feeling and personal experience into these tracks in a way that invites the listener to reflect on their own personal experiences to great effect. It shows proper maturity and a desire, not just to entertain, but also to connect with the listeners on deep levels that shows we all have a connection on some level.

The production on the Ep comes from Nigma (Tracks 1-4) and SK Plug (On My Own) and these guys do an absolutely cracking job of mirroring the emotiveness of Controverse’s lyrics. The musical backdrops to each track really bring that vibrancy out which allows you to feel the essence of what is being put across to you. There are times when the musical backdrop does not always do the job but, here that is not an issue as you feel every emotion whether it lifts you up and excites you or brings a tear to the eye, it’s all there.

Overall, if you are going to use music to convey a wealth of emotions to the listeners then it has to be the complete package. The Bedroom Rapper EP does that with aplomb. Controverse delivers a heartfelt project that perfectly displays his skills. He brings personal experience to bear here in a way that allows us in and to feel what he feels, and it’s all backed up by a stunning musical journey which carries us across a wealth of emotions in just under seventeen minutes.

This is definitely one for your collection, regardless of whether you stream it or buy it, just listen to it.

Having said that, I would say that the paltry sum that Controverse is asking for this EP makes it more that worth your while to part with a couple of quid…

Huge thanks to Controverse for sending this over to me.

The Bedroom Rapper EP is out today with streaming links to follow on 27th…

On that note, I’m out too,



Get the EP on Bandcamp Here:

Thursday 19 August 2021

EP Review: Gallus Alliance EP by Damaged Goods & Onra The Bastardian


Gallus Alliance EP


Damaged Goodz & Onra The Bastardian


There is no doubt that Damaged Goodz is consistently putting out some top-notch Hip Hop. For this new EP he is collaborating with producer Onra The Bastardian for a Scottish French project that mixes Hip Hop and Grime influences with some epic soundscapes.

These guys share more that just a passion for Hip Hop as both were the frontmen of crossover Punk/Metal bands, so this promises to be a very interesting musical journey and one that I might be hard to even anticipate…

So, why don’t we just open our ears and our minds and see what the Gallus Alliance EP brings us…


Opening with some big ballet orchestral notes, it is not long before a solid boom bap beat drops in and immediately grabs your attention. The appearance of DJ Zeeny on the cuts is also no coincidence as both he and Damaged Goods are both huge Manchester United fans which fits perfectly on this track which is a homage to controversial football star Cantona. Love him or hate him, there is little doubt he was a talented sportsman who did things his own way and was good at what he did. This also mirrors Damaged Goodz standing within the Scottish Hip Hop community and makes for an interesting secondary meaning for the whole track.

Next, we move to a fictional story with Glasgow Kiss/French Kiss. Set around a bar brawl between three men all vying for the affections of one woman. Damaged Goodz plays the part of the three individuals whilst Becca Star plays the woman who is caught in the middle. Musically the track has some huge orchestral strings and horns alongside pounding drums and that hint of a grime influence which perfectly reflects the violent nature of the storyline in a situation that is senseless as no one really wins.

We move to a more retrospective sound which is created by a head nod beat over some keyboard vibes. This gritty sound perfectly mirrors the lyrical content here as we are taken on a ‘coming of age’ trip. Damaged Goodz takes us back to the 80’s and 90’s where he grew up on the Castlemilk estate, then one of the toughest in Europe, which was often referred to as Chateau Lait by outsiders. You get just enough in this brief insight to transport your mind to what it must have been like to grow up in such a place and the indelible make it leaves on a person.

The final track of the EP begins with a soulful piano that is reminiscent of DJ Shadow’s ‘Blood on the Motorway’, when the beat drops it leans towards the grime style, creating this sound which grips you heart and mind. L’Amour Or Less see’s Damaged Goodz take on the role of narrator and onlooker while Becca Starr gives a stunning performance as the voice of reason or solidarity on a track which looks at the gut-wrenching subject of domestic abuse against women. Across three differing situations and levels of abuse this track takes a deeply emotive look at situations that are so often hidden from view but can so easily affect those closest to us.


This was one of those times I was sent something with no pressure to review but, after listening to it the first time I felt compelled to review it all the same. The sound and lyrical content is such that it makes an immediate impression on you at a deep level.

Here we are presented with four tracks, four different stories and four different vibes which all have one thing in common, and that is that any one listener can easily associate with on a personal level. From the trials and tribulations of growing up, to football, music, and nights out that don’t end how you had expected, we have all been there and many of us might well know someone who is a victim of domestic abuse too. There are all stories grounded in reality.

Damaged Goodz once again brings his skillful story telling to bear on a number of different subjects. He mixes up the flow and style to admirably create storylines that you can instantly engage with and visualise. The subject matter is all highly emotive, containing a wealth of personal experience. Even when focusing on a fictional storyline you get this feel that is something he has seen before and is just using artistic licence to make it move vivid for the listener. The addition of singer Becca Starr is nothing short of genius as she brings a stunning voice to those two tracks, filled with a deep emotional feeling that allows you to understand exactly what her character is going through.

Onra The Bastardian brings some next level production to the project. This deep mix of urban music and huge orchestral soundscapes really does create some colourful musical backdrops for each track. It absolutely brings a new level of definition to each track where you begin to feel the message in each on a whole new level, it’s just masterful.

The Gallus Alliance EP is a stunning accomplishment that hits all the right buttons. It is great entertainment that also hits you on a deep level and leaves you feeling like you have just had a great night out, a broken heart, walked into a brick wall and had a cold shower all in less than twenty minutes.

So, my humble advice is simple, get this and have a proper good listen…

The Gallus Alliance EP is released on 20th August 2021.

Huge thanks to Damaged Goodz for sending this one over.



Damaged Goodz on Bandcamp:

Onra The Bastardian on Bandcamp:

Cantona Official Video

Friday 13 August 2021

Single Review: Readily Equipped by DDubble Impactt & Chess Moves


Readily Equipped


DDubble Impactt & Chess Moves


The last time we heard from Chess Moves was back at the end of April this year when he dropped the brutal single ‘Live at the Guillotine 88’ featuring Junior Disprol and Dj Mada. Now he is back with a new single, Readily Equipped, which sees him joined by the duo of DDubble Impactt on vocal duties.

Readily Equipped hits heavy pounding your ears and conscious awareness with a mix of drums and big orchestral strings. Musically the single is far more classic boombap Hip Hop but, still with that experimental element that keeps it sounding fresh. There is also a rawness and an unconscious cerebral vibe that keeps you wanting to listen again cos you were ‘not sure you heard it right the first time…’

DDubble Impactt’s vocals reach into your mind, skilfully infiltrating through your neural pathways with similes and metaphors whilst switching between styles and pace to grab your attention and focus. The message here seems to be simple and looks at the fact that there are so many situations that you will encounter in your life and for each of those situations it is best to enter into them fully prepared. Every time you approach a situation unprepared then you are risking failure. So, do your prep, your research and ensure that you are Readily Equipped…

By having that experimental element to his production Chess Moves always gives you something to ponder, something that needs time to assimilate so that you can fully hear and feel the content. His choice of vocalists is always on point for the project he delivers and that is demonstrated here with the guys of DDubble Impactt fitting exactly with the tone of the track and delivering vocals that impact with power and a deep conscious understanding of life and the current social situations around them.

This one is out today so, ask yourself, are you Readily Equipped for this...

Peace Out,



Check this for all the Chess Moves Links:

DDubble Impactt on Instagram:

DDubble Impactt on Spotify:

Tuesday 3 August 2021

Pre-release Review: The Rebirth of Rude by LOTEK


The Rebirth of Rude




The Rebirth of Rude is the eagerly anticipated new album from the multi-talented London based artist Lotek. Now, for those of you who may not be familiar with Lotek then let me give you a bit of background:

It was thanks in part to his brothers copy of RUN DMC’s Tougher Than Leather that drew Lotek to the Hip-Hop scene. He explored rapping but, found that it was the production side of things that really spoke to him. He rose through the ranks at Rollover Studios in London’s West End to become an engineer working with the likes of Seal and Leftfield. After this he would go on the manage a studio for Sound of Money Records, an independent label which was home to Roots Manuva, Blak Twang and Fallacy at the time. It was Roots Manuva who would give Lotek his first notable production credits. He produced and co-wrote two tracks on the highly acclaimed Brand New Second Hand. Lotek would continue to work with Roots Manuva on four more projects including Run Come Save Me and Awfully Deep. Some further notable credits include working with Diplo, Hilltop Hoods and also production and co-writing for Speech Debelle’s award winning album, Speech Therapy. Lotek also works with his own multi-genre group Lotek Hi-Fi who released two albums on the Big Dada label and in 2011 he released his solo project, International Rudeboy which would see Lotek on full writing, production, and recoding duties. He describes his style as “Hip-Hop made by a reggae fan, or reggae made by a Hip-Hop fan.”

Lotek handles vocals, production, programming, and some keyboards on The Rebirth of Rude. However, he has also brought in a wealth of guest vocalists and live musicians to give this album that  vibrant live music feel.

Without further ado, it’s time for me to take you through my experience of The Rebirth of Rude:

The album is like a reggae sound system and kick’s off with This is… (The Rebirth of Rude) which features UK Artist Daddy Speedo on the chorus and is based on the song This is Reggae Music from 1978 by Zap Pow. The music is replayed and given a Hip-Hop twist. The track is basically a summary of the history of Reggae music and picks out some pivotal moments that are a part of reggae’s DNA. From the Bullet in Bob’s Arm and Tenor Saw’s, Ring The Alarm to the Soul Rebels, Bass, Chase The Devil and The Outlaw Josey Wales, I can’t summarise everything here but, Lotek has produced a series of video’s which I will link below and I highly recommend you watch them. This one has you listening to every lyric as much as it has you up and dancing to every beat, it’s just infectious. Rude and Deadly features RayJah45 from Melbourne, it keeps the energy high with its mix of keyboards, Guitar, and drums. This really took me to the music and how you conduct yourself and deliver something that will speak to both the mind and body of the listener. It has to be both cool and so deadly that it literally takes over the listener regardless of whether they hear it live or recorded.

The Return of the General hits you with a vibe that is heavier on the drums with some electronic notes giving this that multi-genre feel. Spikey Tee of legendary UK Hop-Hop group The Sindecut and a Drum n Bass pioneer features. It brought to mind the live aspect of reggae with the sound systems, from setting up the stage to standing tall and putting your heart and soul into the performance for the crowd, giving them what they want and producing a collectively uplifting experience. Not just that but, it also shows the influence of reggae on other musical genres. Viola (See It There) features Bristol’s Zed Regal and shows the global effect and infusion of reggae. There is a Parisienne vibe to this one as Lotek takes us on trip to France for different cultural experience. This in turn reminds us of how music, in this case reggae/Hip-Hop, is such a universal language.

Run Rudeboy Run is an upbeat vibe which is heavy on the horns. It looks at the roll of money in our society and what some people do to get it. There is that reference to the rudeboy, the often-violent subculture in Kingston, Jamaica. The term rudeboy was later adopted by Ska and 2 Tone. Although there is that criminal element who use violence to get money, here the song is seemingly reflecting the current state of our society where corrupt governments leave too many in poverty or sitting on a knife edge where they do what they have to do to survive. Thru Another Day features Trevor Roots and is the perfect track to follow on. This one is upbeat and perfectly feel good with all the elements of that sound with the bass, horns, drums, and keyboard. It reflects how all the aspects of reggae culture (from the dress, the sound, the attitude, and the spirit) all come together to uplift you, feel you with a positive outlook and help get through another day.

Heavy Heart is a more soulful vibe with a slightly heavier beat. The soul is reflected in the vocals of Sistah Joyce which bring a calming element. Overall, the track is positive, and uplifting as it looks at how we walk forward in life. There is no need to look back at what has gone before with a heavy heart, keep the sun shining inside to light your path and this music can help you do that. No Fussin’ sees the return of Daddy Speedo and here it really reflects the upbeat nature of reggae music and that it is infused with peace and love whilst looking at the harsh reality of life. Here there is a vison of crime and violence on the streets but, reggae counters that in reaching those on both sides with the message that peace and love will win through.

Daddy Speedo stays with us for Destabilization (Put Down That Cowboy Hat). This bass, keyboard and drum infused rhythm takes a look at the campaign of destabilisation the C.I.A used in Jamaica during the late 1970’s. Fearful that Jamaica would become the new Cuba, they went to extreme lengths and covert operations in infiltrate the political parties and to recruit the youths. This brings that whole situation bear for a new audience. The final track of the album is This Is… Too Dub. Bringing that true reggae dub element to the albums opening track by stripping back the vocals and enhancing the rhythm element. Showing that, at times, less truly is more as it expands the track in the mind of the listener.


First thing that struck about The Rebirth of Rude was just how much feel good that seemed to ooze from every line of every track on the album. Yeah, I have heard Ragga Rap before from the likes of Asher D and Daddy Freddy or The London Posse but, there was something about this album that took the roots of reggae and laid them open for all to see and feel.

Having not immersed myself in reggae culture or really experienced much of its music it was like a culture shock to me, what have I been missing all these years. Lotek has taken his knowledge and experience of reggae and urban underground music and produced not just an admirable reggae rap album but, an album that opens you up the depth of reggae and its influence on modern music. It does that in such a way as to leave you wanting to explore more of the music. To be honest, that urge to explore more of the reggae sound will deepen when you watch the videos that are linked to This Is… (The Rebirth of Rude).

If you are new to reggae in any form this album will allow you to feel that Sound System energy. The Selecta playing the music, the DJ who is the one on the mic riding the rhythm and the crowd who are feeling that positive energy and dancing. The music lifts you and keeps you there throughout its ten tracks. There is no ebb and flow here, it’s all about taking you up to an ecstatic level and keeping you there. This is… both an introduction and a masterclass.

There is no doubt that Lotek has this deep love of both Hip-Hop and Reggae music, and you can feel that love saturate every second of this album, allowing you to feel it on every level. He brings all his years of working alongside accomplished artists to bear here as well as his own skill as an artist in his own right creating an album that is polished and accomplished on every level. There are aspects here that cover a historical perspective, modern day life and the straight up enjoyment of the music. There are times you have to feel between the lines, go that bit deeper to truly appreciate everything that is being given. This album would have a cracking piece of musical gold, in its own right, with Lotek delivering on a solo level But, it is plainly obvious that by bringing in a wealth of guest vocalists and instrumentalists it expertly encapsulates the reggae sound and raises it to platinum status. It all comes together perfectly, and you can feel it just as if you were standing in the middle of a crowd at a live sound system in Jamaica itself.

There is honestly not much more a can tell you about this album except to say that the best thing you can do is to experience it for yourself. Yes, I think it is that good and is in my top ten of the year so far and that’s no mean feat. Alongside the usual streaming and digital releases, it’s also going to be getting a vinyl release too with a limited coloured edition, what more do you want… You will want this one on your shelves for sure because this is true music for the soul.

The Rebirth of Rude is due for release in September through Traxploitation Ltd/Rebel Elements, so keep watch for the links to this and jump on it.

I’d just like to finish up by thanking Lotek for sending this to me and huge additional thanks to one Big Smoking Joe for putting me in touch with Lotek and recommending my services.


On that note,

It's time for Reggae to get me through another day,




Pre-Order The Rebirth of Rude from Bandcamp:

LOTEK Website (you pre-order here too):

LOTEK Productions (for Mixing, Mastering and Production):

Traxploitation YouTube Channel:

LOTEK on YouTube:


The following link will take you to the playlist The Birth of Rude, which I highly recommend. This is LOTEK's video series that looks at the birth of reggae and links to the albums opening track This is... (The Rebirth of Rude):

This is... (The Rebirth of Rude)

Run Rudeboy Run

Rude and Deadly