Friday 30 December 2022

Album Review: Everything and Nothing by ResoNate


Everything and Nothing




I was first introduced to NC based Soul Singer, videographer and Hip Hop artist ResoNate back in 2020. It was via the Cut Beetlez, firstly on the CBNG album with Nice Guys and then on the Overflow Pt 2 single alongside A-F-R-O (who also features on this album). later that year he ran a competition to send T-Shirts to those who shared a certain post and even though I was in the UK he still sent one over and as a result of that I offered my services and so here we are today.

ResoNate describes himself as an artist who is committed to creating art for change. He is deeply introspective and focused on personal growth, while looking outward. His lyrics are relatable and inspiring, and he invites us to join him on a path of self-discovery and the pursuit of purposeful living. Those few words really set your mind wondering what kind of album and depth you are about to hear.

So, it’s time for you to join me and for us to immerse ourselves in Everything and Nothing…


The album begins with the title track Everything and Nothing, where organ and guitar notes guide us in before the beat hits, accompanied by some mellow horns. There is also that modern edge to this with the cymbals clicking in the background. There is a deeply retrospective vibe here that see’s ResoNate looking back over life and his experiences, what it has taught him, where he is now and what the future may hold as he seeks to be the greatest expression of who he truly is. Piano and organ notes take us into In The Mud before the piano sound continues alongside sparce drums and cymbals. This one has a definitive feel of thoughtfulness, the kind of vibe you get when you sit back and consider your options or direction. You really get the impression here that this one is all about not giving up on your hopes and dreams no matter how hard it might seem to keep moving forward on your path. Giving up is easy, walking forward might be hard but, it is what makes who we are and makes life its own reward. Piano and guitar are once again the opening for Other Side, but the beat soon drops alongside the ticking cymbals, giving this slightly heavier vibe which takes nothing away from that feeling we are focusing on another aspect of the road in front of us. Here we find ResoNate seemingly looking at the other side of life or perhaps the other side of his own character? We all see things within us that we may not be happy with, and it is these aspects that we contend with everyday as we constantly seek to be a better person. It’s all about bringing the positive aspects to the forefront and just being at piece with the other side…

Cruise Control sits at the midway point of the album and presents a sound that seems at stark contrast to what has gone before with xylophone and piano notes tweaking your nerves alongside the beat. Things suddenly seem to become more rounded, almost like closing your eyes to the visual stimulus and just feeling the sound. We spend a lot of our lives just cruising though it, missing so much of what it has to offer and that is the point here, stop cruising through your life and truly experience, feel, and take control of your own life, that’s how you really live. Guitar provides the main sound alongside the drums on Time Flies, this brings a far more soulful edge to the sound. A-F-R-O joins ResoNate here for a track that really focuses on the relationships we have in life and finding that one true love who completes us. Someone who makes us understand that two people can be one and individuals at the same time, no matter the situation you find yourselves in and that is the truest of love. Feel Again mixes a chilled out beat with a synth vibe that stretches your nerves a little, creating this feel that brings your focus to those moments without clarity. We all experience those times when we feel that we are just a moment from something big, standing on the cusp of something we can’t quite see. These are defining moments that can shape who we or our entire future and it’s how we view these moments and the choices we make that are key and here A-F-R-O helps ResoNate to bring some clarity to those moments. Moving into the final track of the album, Wouldn’t Change That, we get a jazzy mix of horns and piano helping us float into this final track. The beat drops, keeping that jazzy undertone and it really has you wanting to move. The overall vibe is one of reflection and we find ResoNate looking back key moments that have paved the way for him to get to where he is now. The message here is that there is no desire to change any of those defining moments because they have shaped and moulded him into who he is and made him the creative force bringing you the music you are listening to now. This is a message to us all, it’s not about changing what has been but, more about learning from those moments and understanding how they can or have already helped you…


Everything and Nothing has a vibe that mixes Hip Hop and soul with a slightly more modern vibe. Now that sound is not going to be for everyone, I get that and it has taken me a while to get used to this ticking cymbal sound that you also get with the grime sound and while it might not be to everyone’s taste, you do have to look at the whole picture here.

There is a lot to like about the album, which is written and performed by ResoNate, except for A-F-R-O’s appearances of course and produced by Yondo Beats. The sound and vibe that ResoNate and Yondo Beats create here is one that does encapsulate that path of self-discovery and self-development as does his impressive writing skills. Musically there is this deep mood that binds the album together and keeps you focused on what he is saying. It really mixes up elements of Hip Hop, soul, and those more modern vibes to bring something that is highly listenable. Vocally ResoNate shows an impressive display of mixing his soulful vocals alongside a more that capable rap style which shows solid skills in switch up flows and styles to get his point across with maximum effect. There is a lot of personal experience that is injected into this one and it really aims to uplift and inspire the listener to be more than you think you can be and to focus on being who you are truly meant to be in this life. The only thing stopping you is yourself, the minute you realise that nothing can hold you back. The appearances by A-F-R-O here fit so well with the vibe of the album and just goes to show that there is little that this guy can’t do.

Overall, what impressed me here was the depth and intense nature of what ResoNate has produced. Giving us a modern twist on soulful, Hip Hop, with words that are not just highly relatable by anyone who listens but, can easily make you think a lot deeper if you choose to contemplate what is being said here. It really hits on many levels and will appeal to a fairly wide audience too.

Regardless of your musical tastes, this is an album worth checking out as you might just find that it speaks to you more that you might think.

Everything and Nothing is released on 1st January 2023.

Huge thanks to ResoNate for the T-Shirt and for sending the album to me.

Time for me to be out,

See Ya.



Here is the Linktree for the album and all things ResoNate:




Thursday 22 December 2022

Album Review: The Journey Within by JD


The Journey Within




JD is an artist who has featured on my blog a few times the last couple of years, with 2020’s solo release Chapter Four-Who Am I? and 2020’s Freedom Of Speech and 2021’s Truth Be Told which were both released with producer Haynesy (aka DJ Cuetips) and now as we move towards the passing of 2022 he returns with his latest project The Journey Within, produced by TOMEK ZYL MUSIC.

JD has never been one to shy away from speaking his mind and telling it how it is on a great many topics, especially the injustices he sees in the world around him. So, you can bet that this release will be no different.

In recent years JD has moved to a more enlightened off-grid living, working with Guerrilla Republik UK, and creating the brand of freedom in Truth Be Told while also creating his own custom Ankh Organite jewellery to boot.

Now you might not always agree with everything he has to say but, in an age where people are being underpaid and forced to choose between eating and keeping warm, it is a time when many will choose to stand up and speak their minds, now the revolution might not be televised but, you will be able to hear about it through the voice of JD so, let’s listen to that voice speak on The Journey Within…


The album begins with Kiss Bye, which features Drax MC and Michael Black. Guitars and drums are the main sounds bringing a deep grime infused vibe with some soulful vocals sounds and the soulful chorus. The message here really seams to focus on the people that meet on our journeys but may not necessarily stay with. You might call them soul buddies, those who come into our lives to help teach us certain life lessons before leaving. These are souls we always stay connected to in some way even if we never see them again in this life. Guitars once more feature alongside drums on My Own Leader. The vibe here is one that has you moving but at the same time makes you want to close your eyes and listen. Here JD focuses on life and the fact that to live the life that is most suited to you being you, is to be the creator of your own destiny. No matter where you were born, you can be the one who sees where you need to be in life, and you are the one who can take you there. Don’t be led by anyone except yourself, because only you know who you are and only you can truly lead you to be the greatest expression of who you really are. More guitars and drums merge once more to bring a more upbeat vibe that seams touch you on a heart centred level. If I, looks at the moments we move along our path of life and often meet those who mean a lot too us but, as time goes by and we evolve on our journey, those others may not, and will seek to keep us at their level while we elevate our selves to new and higher levels of spiritual understanding. We realise we have to leave these people behind or risk being trapped in a place where our growth, as a person is restricted.   

No Turning Back, once more features the soulful voice of Michael Black, the backdrop is a deep vibe of choral vocals, synth notes, guitar, and drums with a grime edge. With a certain portion of our life behind us we have made the choices that put us on a certain path and there is that realisation that we have now come to a point where there is no turning back from. This is now the path we will walk till the day we transcend from this life; these are defining moments that show who we are to all those around us, who will either walk with us or away from us. Organ notes, synths, and drums form the sound scape for Take Warning, creating a focused vibe. JD speaks more in depth of his journey and that part of walking that path is as a warrior. One who forges their own direction and follows no one because those who follow often get led in the wrong direction and lose control of their life’s path. Synths and drums combine to create a vibe that is more love centred. No Stress sees the soulful voice of Anima Mana join JD, for a track that explores the connection between two people. This is a connection that is more on another level where two people connect on a spiritual level more than just a mental or sexual one, it creates a whole different relationship experience.

Pattern It drops with synths and drums that bring a more energetic feel to the sound. This one focuses on how its all about keeping yourself moving and evolving as you move through life. The more you focus on you and who you are, the more you will be able to focus on how you can make your life evolve, you will be able to create the life you seek just by evolving and elevating your mind, Body, and soul. Anima Mana joins JD again on Is It Possible, a grime inspired vibe of synth, drums, and strings with a heavy street feel. There is a deep unapologetic feel to this one as it explores the pointless violence that it such a part of inner-city life. This is something like a wake-up call to the youth, asking them to look at who is truly losing and who is winning and profiting from all this. When you take the time to look deeply into what is behind something you realise that only together can we stop the pointless loss of life, pain, and suffering. Organ notes and an acoustic guitar accompany the beat here which sees JD introduce us to Ryan Sanders for Search Inside. The vibe of this one is like those mariachi stories where you are listening to two guys opening up about there experiences and you are being invited to take it all onboard and then ask yourself what you believe but, you have to use your heart felt intuition to search deep inside yourself to really find the answers. All I Need drops with a heavy grime vibe but, there is almost a calmness to the whole vibe of this one. That vibe fits well with track which speaks on the true love energy that connects two people in all ways and always. This is the vibe of twin flames meeting and uniting, feeling, and expressing love energy in its purest form, no matter what you do together or apart, because twin flames are never truly apart.

The next four tracks all feature the soulful voice of Anima Mana and so I have group these final four tracks together in one paragraph.

We almost float into the albums title track on the back of that expression of love. The Journey Within, which also features Michael Black, has this soulful edge to the beat which has elements of guitar and keys. The journey through life is as much about the journey we take within ourselves. It is a very personal and sacred thing and respect for that is an important thing. All our journeys are different, and this track asks you to reflect on your own personal journey, to understand what it has taught you and to consider what it still has to teach you as we never stop learning. Synths, claps, and drums all combine on Travel On to bring a heavy thoughtful vibe. This one speaks to me about the journey we are all on and the fact that regardless of where we think we are going, it is important never to stand still and become stagnant in our lives. When we stop seeking to become the greatest expression of who we truly are, is the moment we have given up on ourselves and become the follower and not the leader. Always walk on, even when you fall, just pick yourself up and walk on because moving forward is positive energy and that can take you anywhere. Vibe Right hits with a heavy bass line, flute, guitar, and synths, the feel of this one really borders on head nod and the contrast of JD’s rap and Anima’s soulful vocals works so well. This one really has a message the speaks on keeping things in balance. To keep things in balance you need to vibe right, use your spiritual side, your intuition, to work with nature in all it’s forms to only take what you need. The human race has forgotten to work in harmony with world we live on, we take more than we need, pollute and disrespect our home and that is not the right vibe. Moving into the final track of the album, Harmonise & Grow, the sound scape is mixture of basslines, percussion, soulful vocals and guitars, which merges into something akin to a modern shamanic vibe. The message here seems to grow from the previous track, one we learn to vibe right with the planet then we can begin to harmonise with nature and grow as individuals and as a race. This prospect is one that faces our race in this moment, as many individuals seek to Harmonise and grow in their own way it begins to show promise that all is not lost and that balance can be restored but, what is key is if the rest of the human race will choose that too…


What is immediately obvious with this album is that it is a far more personal project. There is a clear progression across the album, and it really does form a distinct story from one person’s point of view. There is not anger and bitterness here, instead those energies are channelled in such a way as to breed positivity from negativity. There is a clear picture of a spiritual awakening that has prompted a move to a more heart centred focus, where personal growth and aligning with nature is key. In one way this is so personal that is almost impossible to really put across what can be felt here but, there is a deep vibe here that some will instantly get, and others will find it hard to understand. This is not a conscious rap album but, more of a spiritually awakened rap album.

TOMEK ZYL MUSIC produces an impressive sound that gets its inspirations from a great many sources. It primarily has its roots in Rap and Grime but, along the way you get this feeling that is not trying to be any one genre but, is in fact only seeking to be its own individual expression. It ebbs and flows across the fourteen tracks almost effortlessly as it provides the platform for the vocals to leap out from.

JD really mixes it up here as he switches up his styles and flows from track to track. His wordplay is solid throughout and you get this feeling that he is showing a new level of maturity and focus. His subject matter might not instantly be to everyone’s liking but, there is a deep personal side to his work here that comes from deep within and with it comes a desire to see an end to the injustice in the world and an end to the profiteering and controlling of the masses. Right now, in society there seems to be little change and so I can’t see JD laying down the mic anytime soon because the energy for revolution starts deep in the soul and JD has the energy to stand up and let the Truth Be Told.

I can’t round this review off without mentioning the guest artists. It was good to be introduced to another upcoming force in rap, that is Ryan Sanders who shows that he has the potential to go a long way. Anima Mana and Michael Black both bring some soulful balance to the album that really helps bring extra depth along the way.

Overall, I found The Journey Within to be a deeply personal album that spoke from the heart in an attempt to help us visualise a new future, one where we return to balance with nature and live as one but, in order to get there, we have to let go of the negative ways and connect with a spiritual revolution. This album fits in so well with the energy of the whole Glastonbury area too. So, open your minds, be educated, and be inspired But, most importantly, let the truth be told.

Before I go, there is a couple of points I'd like to make. After speaking with JD about the review there was a couple of differences in my interpretation of two of the tracks and, as I have done before, I just wanted to point this out. The track IF I has this air that it all about a narcissistic relationship However, if you listen close to the final verse, JD reveals that he is actually talking about the government. Yep, I missed this one too as I got so far into the relationship aspect between two people. On NO STRESS the theme is actually a slick verbal misdirection in that the track is all about weed but, written as it it is not! A wicked juxtaposition that got me on this occasion. This just goes to show it always pays to listen, listen and listen again to really get into it and all credit to JD for such an articulate piece of work.

I would also like to thank JD for trusting me to review his work once more.

The Journey Within is available now on digital and USB from Let The Truth Be Told and more, check the links below for more info.

On that note,

Peace, I’m out…



Get the album for the Official Let The Truth Be Told Website Here:

Get the album from Bandcamp Here:






Friday 16 December 2022

Album Review: AiOOiA by Brother Oak




Brother Oak


The latest release from one of the UK’s hot new labels, Good Darts, is AiOOiA by Brother Oak. Now this one is going to be a little different than my normal stuff but, it’s always good to stretch yourself and dip into something new.

The album was described to me as a mix of Hip Hop, rap, post punk and shamanic music, which immediately had me intrigued. I like a wide range of music, including music to meditate to and I have been known to do the odd shamanic journeying too, so I liked the sound of this and when I read the notes about Brother Oak, I was sold.

I’d like to quote the notes from his Bandcamp page “Take a grime MC from Thanet to the ancient woodlands and infuse with the Shamans brew for a decade or two... Cook up by the sacred fire and share around the circle... Nomadic rapper... been on road walking pilgrimage for last 3years and made this album... These are the songs from pilgrimage.”

The album is available as a digital download of nine tracks or a very limited run of cassettes which feature a mystery mix on the flip side, I’m going to review the full cassette version for and give you my thoughts on the album and the mix.

So, without further ado, I suggest you leave your expectations at the door and open your mind as we join Brother Oak for AiOOiA and the fruits of his pilgrimage…


The album opens with the sounds of people laughing and talking before the music begins with an organic mix of drums, flutes, finger cymbals and vocal sounds which give us this melodic tribal sound of Wind Blows The Ganja. There is just one verse here but, it gives us a good insight into what this is all about as Brother Oak speaks on a different way of life where we commune with the earth and all life on it. A simpler way of life where you understand how to use plants to induce a trance in order access different levels of consciousness, something native shamans have been doing for thousands of years. Guitar, drums, and a sprinkling of percussion vibes produces more of a classic Hip Hop sound on Odins Fire. This is a very deep track, and the guitar helps bring a spiritual edge to the sound as Brother Oak opens his heart. There is this strong feeling that the Odins Fire he speaks of the fire inside, the internal desire to see change in the world, a world that is such a dark place where money, power, war, pain, and suffering go on in an endless cycle that never seems to change. The youth see only that money, alcohol and synthetic drugs are the way to power and respect. But the Odins Fire burns inside in the hope of one day seeing love replaces all the pain and suffering in the world and where love and respect for others comes from simply being the greatest expression of who you are, A world where light replaces the darkness. Tree People opens with a melodic sound as Brother Oak gives us some poetic spoken words for the first minute, speaking on the Highest state of man, a state of mind or being where you quieten your mind, deal with your inner issues, and become at peace and open to all possibilities. When the beat drops it is a proper banger of drums, bass, guitar, vocal samples, and sax and will get ya head nodding. This one is speaking on our connection and living in harmony with nature. It brings to mind the cycle of life around trees, which provide shelter and food to the animals living below and they, in return provide nutrients and breath out carbon dioxide for the trees, which turn that into oxygen we breath. It is the way things are in the natural world, something that humans have forgotten in favour of fake idols and putting value on that which has none…

Call My Brother Sun is a short instrumental piece that strikes me as a Hip Hop meditative piece. Cuts, drums, cymbals, and samples vocals create laid-back vibe that draws your attention to the sky and the sun that shines down providing light and heat in just the right amounts to support life. Play this one next time you are chilling on a summer’s day staring up into the bright blue sky. Sax notes ease us into The Poem, before making way for a reggae guitar vibe and then a heavy beat drop, all merge, drop in and out as Brother Oak speaks. His message here is there is a lot of hate in the world, a lot of ways we have been taught things are negative when they are a person’s choice, there are so many questions as we move through life and who really has the answers? To be honest, are there truly answers or no real questions but, simply a chose and a way of being who you chose to be? Echoing drums, guitar, and a vocal sample guide us into Woodz Gang. It all merges and makes us feel like we are gathered round a campfire as stories are told of a simpler way of living in contrast to how most live, caught up in the commercial, capitalist world…

Horns provide a brief into for Clouds Remix, When the beat drops it has a real upbeat feel of drums and guitars with a head nod vibe. This one really has the feel of being a celebration of where you’re at, you see all the things that are going your way, you’re in a positive frame of mind and way of being and that’s the place you wanna stay. It’s like, finding that true expression of who you really are and living it, that’s what this track says to me, and its feel-good factor is spot on, you can feel that good vibes oozing outta this one. Drums, bass, and deep sax vibes create a chilled vibe for the Rooted Freestyle, as you can guess this one is on that freestyle vibe and see’s Brother Oak dropping some bars off the top of his head but, still keeping that spiritual, mystic kinda vibe of the album. The Album ends with Nibi Wabo a short instrumental piece that has this real deep vibe to it. It kinda feels like a hypnogogic state, the state that the brain is in between being awake and asleep, an interesting place to leave us…

Before I sum things up I’m going to flip to the B-Side and give you my impressions of the Mystery mix.

I’m not gonna say too much about this mystery mix as you need to get the cassette to properly absorb this but, what you have here is nineteen plus minute track that showcases some previously unreleased music. Because this is unreleased stuff the quality varies a little but, it gives a really good insight into the range of influences Brother Oak has in creating his own music. From grime and Hip Hop to the far east and some more soulful style music. Much of what is in this mix is instrumental after kicking off with a vocal grime style track but, there is a depth of music here that reflects a love of music in general and not just one genre, style, or origin. This mix is only available on the cassette so, I recommend you grab one and give it a listen and as there are only 15 available, I’d get in there quick.


Going into this album with an open mind, I found it is the kind of vibe that would really be at home here in the Glastonbury area. The whole vibe of moving away from the capitalist city areas and connecting more with nature fits in so well here but, more than that, this album strikes me as the work of someone who has had their eyes, mind, body, and spirit opened to the simpler way of life and connecting with the earth and the energies beyond that.

I found the mixing and merging of styles to really work well here and you can feel the energy and the love that has been put into bringing this out for all to here. There is an element of this being as much a very personal project as it is music for people to enjoy. The musical influences shine through on many levels and you get that underground music style alongside more tribal and native influences and creates this really deep vibe that you can either just enjoy as a musical experience or you can really feel it vibe throughout you mind, body and soul.

Brother Oak brings a wealth of vocal and musical experience to bear on AiOOiA. His production perfectly merges the differing musical influences and with is wordplay and poetry skills he really does a great job of creating a style all of his own. This kind of spiritually awaked style of music comes close to some of the more recent work of Remark who is incorporating more of this style of writing in his own work so, Brother Oak is in good company there.

Overall, I found this to be an innovative release, which at times feels deeply personal but, with a desire to reach out to people on a whole new level and inviting them to connect and be open minded to a new future. I know this is not gonna be to everyone’s taste because you will get those who will only see hippy vibes etc but, I would say simply, give it a try and if your still not happy that’s fine but, I’m sure there will many who do give this one a go and truly enjoy it, like me.

Before I go, I would like to mention everyone who was a part of this release alongside Brother Oak. Because there is a lot of live musicians on this one and that, for me, also adds depth to the whole project:

Production/Lyrics/Vocals - Brother Oak

Additional Production - Greenhill Will, Remi Rorschach

Guest Lyrics/Vocals - Mark From The Zoo, Algonquin Nation, JuJu

Saxophone - Phil Holmes, Ollie Genn-Bash

Bass Guitar - Nick Grimshaw

Saz - Matt Watkins

Turntables - Slippa Chervascus

Artwork - JuJu

AiOOiA bt Brother Oak is out now on the Good Darts label.

Massive thanks to Slippa Chervascus for taking the chance and sending me this.

On That note,

Time for me to be out,

See Ya.



Get AiOOiA from Bandcamp Here:

Get the Limited Cassette from Good Darts Here:





Friday 9 December 2022

EP Review: From Beyond by T.H.E.M.


From Beyond




From Beyond is the latest EP from UK Hip Hop crew T.H.E.M. which is comprised of Seek The Northerner, Karlow, Lomax and Bruva Smokes and signed to Northentic Records. The tracks that make up this EP were originally slated to be on the upcoming album from the group, which was originally going to be a two LP release but, due to costs etc, the crew decided to switch the album to a single disc release and drop the tracks that did not make the album on this digital release.

Out of Burnley the history of this crew goes back a long way and if you want to know more about the crew and their background, I suggest you check out their chat with Blade over on the 05:21 YouTube channel, where you can hear everything you need to know because these guys are all about real Hip Hop and connecting with others to keep the scene alive so, that interview is essential listening.

That said, it’s time to get deep into this EP and get a taste of what T.H.E.M. will be bringing to the table with their debut album…

The EP kicks of in style with Chessboard Dynamics which brings a real head nod vibe of drums and percussion vibes alongside this background of strings and flute notes that not only grabs your attention but, has you closing your eyes while your head nods, allowing the vocals to seep into your awareness. What T.H.E.M. does here is to deliver wordplay, knowledge and the kind of dexterous delivery that could be compared to the play of a chess grandmaster. At times you fully understand what’s going on, it all seems kinda raw and hardcore but, just as you think you’ve got it sussed out, the guys hit you with a new gambit, hitting your mind from multiple angles and leaving you in awe, and if that wasn’t enough the cut-up samples and razor-sharp scratches have hyped up and breathless. There is no let up as a funky guitar and more cuts galore lead us into Think Twice, before the beat drops and it all merges to form this funked up vibe that has this reggae piano twist to it, and all you can do vibe to it. Once more the verbal skills displayed here have you second guessing everything you hear, proving that Think Twice is not just a title but, also another talent these guys display as every verse and every bar has you questioning what you heard the more you listen.

Represent hits with this mind-numbing sound scape of cuts, heavy drums and what sounds like a ukulele or banjo, all combining with some sonic vibes to keep the energy levels high and the frequency vibrating your entire body. At first listen you might be for wondering exactly what this one is saying and it almost appears like there is a juxtaposition here with T.H.E.M. demonstrating how they are representing the UK scene but, you also get this vibe that they are taking a shot at those who say they are representing but, in truth, are out for nothing but, themselves and maybe that is a shot at the politicians and rich elitists who claim to be looking out for everyone’s best interests but, are only out for how much they can line their pockets. So, is it one or the other here? Perhaps it’s a bit of everything, you decide. Drums, guitars, and bass form backdrop to the EP’s title track, From Beyond and the vibe is once more on keeping those energy levels up with a boom bap style feel. Here the guys take us on a tongue-in-cheek look at real life in Burnley while, at the same time, expertly twisting and stretching our minds with their words to blur our concept of what the true reality is. We are left wondering what the truth is here and what has been taken from some weird view that is beyond reality and rooted firmly in the mind of the beholder…

The vibe of Games All Love is a more upbeat feel with drums, piano, and strings alongside the cuts keeping you moving. Here we find T.H.E.M. dropping verses on why they do what they do, the inspirations and the love for the game. This really shows that you don’t always have to be rhyming over dark heavy beats to deliver some solid bars that still reflect the reality of live and your love of good Hip Hop. Heading into the final track of the EP, T.H.E.M, we almost float into it on an orchestral soundscape before the beat drops and the cuts slice deeply into our awareness creating this banging boom bap vibe with that orchestral sound bringing an almost soundtrack feel. The guys take us on a journey into all that is and makes up T.H.E.M. but, this journey is more like an audible trip where the truths are a part of a dream like escapade that is drawn directly from their own minds to keep you entertained whist wondering what is real and what is simply T.H.E.M.

After listening to this, the first thing that came to mind was, if From Beyond is formed of tracks that didn’t make it to the album then just how good is the album? Because, From Beyond is a stunning EP and, quite honestly, one of the best I’ve heard this year.

The production is solid and has your adrenaline levels at their peak throughout the whole album and providing the perfect backdrop for what is a lyrical masterpiece. The wordplay skills demonstrated by T.H.E.M. is second to none. These guys know how to pack their verses full of intellectual and complex lyrics that flow like water through your awareness but, the more you listen, the more you realise that these guys really have proper rhyming skills, end of. Alongside that solid production and verbal mastery, there is this love of real Hip Hop in its purest form, the kind of Hip Hop that was seeded in the UK in the eighties and has flourished on the underground scene, T.H.E.M. completely embody the essence of that true Hip Hop sound.

I don’t think I can say much more. But here are six tracks of pure underground Hip Hop that has the energy to span the ages creating a sound that would be at home in the 80’s and 90’s as it is here and now. These guys have enough experience between them to take themselves to the pinnacle of the UK Underground scene and beyond. Are T.H.E.M. one to watch? Well, that’s a no brainer for sure.

From Beyond is available from T.H.E.M. on Bandcamp etc, now.

On that note,

I’m out, see ya…



Get From Beyond on Bandcamp Here:


T.H.E.M. Live Performance - EP50 05:21 Official

Official 05:21 Sofa Chat EP38 - T.H.E.M.

Friday 2 December 2022

Album Review: The Miserable Git Next Door by Montener The Menace


The Miserable Git Next Door


Montener The Menace

Back in May of 2021 I published my review for Anyone Home? The awesome follow up to the debut I Have A Hidden Hobby from Montener The Menace. At that time, it was suggested that Anyone Home? could well be Montener’s final album but, here we are, some nineteen months later and the man from Croyden is back and we are about to be treated to his next album, The Miserable Git Next Door.

The album is released on Montener’s own Hidden Hobby Records and, as with his previous albums, it see’s a plethora of producers and guest artists joining him. I have reviewed both I Have A Hidden Hobby and Anyone Home? both of which have been instant underground Hip Hop classics. Can we expect something similar from what even Montener himself suggests is his best work…?

Well, let’s see shall we. Join me as I breakdown The Miserable Git Next Door…

Montener doesn’t mess around as he instantly takes us to meet The Miserable Git Next Door. The albums title track is produced by Jack Cliff, who brings together strings, organ notes and drums to give us this easy-going vibe that just seems to carry us along, letting us focus on the lyrics. Here Montener spins a tale that seems to hover between unsettling and comedic. He is that miserable git next door who wants to be left alone. When new neighbours move in things go downhill rapidly, ending with an all-out war between the two households but, you are left wondering who was truly at fault, the neighbours, or that miserable git next door. With those thought’s still rattling around your head, that train of thought is broken by the faint whistling of a spaghetti western, before the beats drops with drums, bass, vocal samples, and slick cuts, produced by g-man, the vibe is a deep melodic head nod sound. A perfect backdrop for Montener to be joined by A-F-R-O and Skyzoo for Tomorrow’s Never Promised. There is a profound message here for all three emcees and its pretty simple, live, love and laugh for the day, this moment that you are living right now because there is no guarantee that you’ll see another sunrise so, live every day like it’s your last. It’s a sobering thought for sure but, one that’s delivered here by three emcees who know how to make their lyrics hit home. now your mind is deep in contemplation, your mind is open and Montener only has to utter one word grab your attention, that word is Gunslinger. Guitar and whistling herald the return of the Gunslinger (High Noon Pt. 2), the beat hits with tinges of bass (produced by Da Vigilante) as we are treated to what happened to the Gunslinger in the aftermath of Anyone Home’s, High Noon. Our anti-hero is now out on his own, with his mind on a new life he heads for one last score before settling down but, that story is for another day…

Sliding Doors Pt. 1 is up next and Red Master’s production gives us a reflective vibe with strings and drums providing the musical backdrop. Montener The Menace is in full story telling mode here as he details the story of an inner-city youth from a broken home who gets caught up in the gang culture. By the time the track fades out we are left wondering what will happen to Audley in part 2. With two stories leaving us hanging in the balance our minds are left with a tinge of anxious anticipation and JL Beats production on Decisions tugs at out frayed nerves with some high-pitched jazzy piano alongside drums that seek to pound those split nerve endings. The Legendary UK emcee Skinnyman, Reks and Guilty Simpson join Montener on the track that speaks on all the decisions we make in life. These decisions can take us down a great many roads, some lead to positive outcomes and others to more negative ones. How life plays out hinges on those decisions, there are no right, or wrong answers here just paths we walk based on what life puts before us, so remember, chose wisely. Drums and jazzy piano vibes once more form the basis for Hate To Love, where Barry Manalog gives us a more upbeat feel to proceedings. Here Montener takes us on an often-lighthearted journey through the Yin and Yang of what it is to experience Love and Hate as we walk through life and it is so true what he says in that those experiences that bring us Love, give us so much while anything that brings hate takes so much from us. The key thing here is to eclipse the hate with love, that will make life sure a positive experience.

Moving in to the second half of the album, we find Montener The Menace keeping our mind spinning like those old energy meters or a 78 rpm record. Jack Cliff brings us a mariachi style vibe of horns, drums, and guitars for Teachered Artist which finds Montener schooling us to the pitfalls of working as a teacher. There is plenty to make you grin as Montener warns against making teaching a career. To polish things off here there is a nice sprinkling of cuts from Jabbathakut. Strings, piano and drums, from Domingo,  merge to create a deep vibe that has that contrasting, Juxtaposition feel with the sounds of marching and cuts that also pervade the track. Verbz joins Montener The Menace here as they combine to drop a story that shows that its not always what you do in a moment but, how you look or conduct yourself is what can get you into trouble with the law. So, many times the those who are guilty of a crime are overlooked in favour of those who just dress a certain way or act a certain way but, may never have actually done anything wrong, this is just antagonistic and serves to create a situation that is negative, where it never needed to be. With our minds racing, from the injustice we just heard, strings fade in and ease our outrage. Guitar and drums drop, and Covert Pawns production gets our heads nodding. Montener becomes the Movie Decade Crusader as he takes us on journey through the movies he has enjoyed growing up. He expertly weaves the very best of the 80’s and 90’s movies into this one. It’s like a trip down memory lane for some of us older heads.

Moving into the final quarter of the album the one Keith Murrey provides the intro and production from Roccwell brings us this heavy sound of bass, drums, and horns that really makes you wanna stand up and jump around. This one is all about Montener The Menace using his wordplay skills to do two things, which is to entertain us while doing what he does best, Running My Mouth. With our energy levels pushing into the red, a soulful intro allows us a short breather before the Jack Cliff beats drops with horns, guitar and pounding drums. We are nodding our heads once more as a posse style cut drops which see’s an incredible line-up of some of cream of emcees join Montener. BVA, Sean Peng, Phoenix Da Icefire, Ramson Badbonez, Tesla’s Ghost, Genesis Elijah, Frisco Boogie, Cracker Jon, Mick Swagger, boodah, Cosm, Slippy Skills, Blade and Joe Publik all drop bars that are all About Love and the impact it has in live. It’s all about what you love doing, what brings you love or perhaps a lack of love and even whether you can see love around you or not. With a penultimate track like that how do you finish things off? Simple, you get Mighty Mindless Cartoons to drop a heavy pounding beat of drums, cymbals, and horns for a quick little Outro of the chorus from The Miserable Git Next Door, nothing else is needed, end of…


So, let’s get one thing straight, The Miserable Git Next Door is one hell of a ride from start to finish. Montener The Menace has, once again, tabled another album that is a potential classic. He shows that he matures from one album to the next and displays wordplay skills that show no sigh of letting up, the more he produces. He is just as comfortable on track with guest artists, as he is on his solo tracks. Mixing up the subject matter with tracks that are based in reality and personal experience to those that are just for fun and displaying the depth of his vocal skills and flows.

Bringing in a wealth of producers adds such a depth of musical backdrops allowing Montener and the guest artists to fully display their skills whilst fully complimenting each other. The production here is second to none really and helps keep the album flowing while systematically allowing you to focus on the vocals with ease. I can’t speak on the production without mentioning that all the cuts on the album are performed by the legendary UK turntablist Jabbathakut, who’s skills really do serve to dot all the I’s in the Hip Hop masterclass.

The guest artists that feature on the album range from up-and-coming status right up to legendary status and span both sides of the pond. The quality of all those artists really speak for themselves and need nothing further except that they add the icing to this perfectly cooked up Hip Hop cake.

All in all, what I see here is a UK emcee who always delivers quality and who has the respect of his peers the world over. Let’s face it here, it’s not everyone who can tempt Blade to drop a feature, you gotta have a special quality to do that and also good to see another legendary UK emcee in Skinnyman feature here also. The consistent quality that Montener The Menace delivers is a credit to himself and the UK scene and I for one look forward to possibility of him dropping more down the line. I mean, he can’t leave us hanging on the escapades of the Gunslinger or the outcome of Sliding Doors.

Everyone knows I don’t like giving my reviews a score. For me I want my words and the music to do all the talking, and The Miserable Git Next Door is no exception. But, if I really had to score this one, I could not give it any less than a 9, maybe even a 9.2 HA HA, because I love the drive, the vocals, the quality and the work ethic of Montener as an emcee and when you mix that with top quality production, Jabbathakut and some top-notch features then how can you score it any less.

Montener The Menace is constantly pushing himself to always be another rung closer to perfection with every release. He is all about quality over quantity, pushing the boundaries of his creativity to always deliver what people want to hear.

The Miserable Git Next Door is out today on digital and limited CD versions. I highly recommend that you grab one of the limited CD copies which gives you two bonus tracks, the High Noon Jabbathakut remix and Sliding Doors Pt. 2, giving you the chance to find out what happens to Audley.

Huge thanks to the man himself, Montener The Menace, for putting this my way.

On That Note,

I’m outta here,



Get The Miserable Git Next Door from Bandcamp Here:

Hidden Hobby Records on Bandcamp:


About Love Official Video (on 05:21 Official YouTube)





Friday 25 November 2022

Album Review: Antisocial by AiKz and Third Degree




AiKz and Third Degree


Antisocial is the debut album from the duo of Abingdon emcee AiKz (pronounced aches) and Producer Third Degree (aka Liam Byrne, one half of Sophisticated Apes) who also resides in Abingdon.

It has been five years since AiKz released his debut album “The Life and Times”, which I’m ashamed to say I’ve not yet heard. During that time, he has been working hard alongside Liam, whom he met in 2012, as they both worked hard on honing their crafts in order to be able to release something that would be the best possible reflection of their individual talents.

So, this duo that comprises of an emcee with a talent for some witty wordplay and fierce delivery and a producer know for raw and aggressive beats and whose debut album with Sophisticated Apes “Civilization” has gained over 130K streams and some major support from BBC’s Introducing in the West Midlands, has the pedigree to deliver a blinding debut but, can they deliver? Join me to find out as I take you through all thirteen tracks of Antisocial…


The album kicks off or should I say ‘hits you for six’ straight out the gate with heavy pounding drums, strings, and keys. The Intro (OX Stand Up) is exactly what it says it is, a high-powered introduction that prepares you what it to come from AiKz and Third Degree. The OX referred to in the title comes from its postcode which reflects its location in relation to the city of Oxford.

With you attention well and truly grabbed by that intro, the guys move quickly into high gear as horns, drums, and a background of horns, giving you something upbeat to get you moving on Shut It Down. Here we get the full force of AiKz as he delivers what is a statement of facts. Using his slick lyrical wordplay and ferocious delivery he takes aim at all those who talk loud but, ain’t sayin’ nothin’ and also giving us a full verbal IMAX look at exactly what he is capable of on the mic. There is also a good sprinkling of cuts here too.  Just like sitting in a movie theatre and watching events unfold on the screen, we get the feeling that is what is happening here and maybe not how we expect? Piano, strings, and cuts (The first of three appearances by the legendary Jabbathakut) guide us into Who’s He before the beat drops, which is ripe for the head nods. This is not done at pace though and those strings give it a reflective vibe. Here we find AiKz in fine form as he breaks down who he is for all those who might ask, Who’s He? That reflective vibe helps you really feel what is being said here and you kinda take an instant liking to who AiKz is behind the mic and beyond. The introduction to Animal is one of sound bites and guitar. When the beat kicks in, it’s pounding and ,alongside that guitar, gives this one raw feel. Here we get schooled to the fact that AiKz might be a likable fellow but, when he gets behind the mic it’s business and cross him and he can tear you apart like he has the jaws of an angry animal. There jaws are metaphysical as rhymes, wordplay, delivery, and flow all combine into a form that is truly devastating, especially to wack emcees…

Ugly opens with a sample from the classic, It’s The Joint by Funky 4 + 1, which gives you the feeling of something special to come. Third Degree provides a beat of drums and piano which turns up the energy levels, just enough to keep ya bouncin’. AiKz proves that the title of the song is only there to show you how far he has come. He is anything but, ugly on the track as he shows here just what can be achieved when keep you focus and faith in your craft. It’s like this, you might have called me ugly once but now look at me, all you did was to give me the platform to rise above that. The track also ends with some little dedications, which adds a little depth of feeling. Hurt by Jonny Cash is the opening to I Still Dedicate, the beat and acoustic guitar really give this one a deep emotive vibe. Occasionally you listen to a track that touches you deeply and this one does just that. AiKz speaks candidly and reflectively on personal experiences. From a broken home and a fractured family to the birth of his son and the creation of a new family. This shows the power of a true lyricist who can craft their words in such a way that with the emotive musical back drop, it expresses true, heart felt emotion. Circa 92 sees Jabbathakut join the guys again providing sublime cuts as the track opens with piano notes before a heavy beat drops and your head is automatically in nod mode. This one is a homage to the pre-millennium Hip Hop days, those days that many call the golden era of Hip Hop, the late eighties and early 90’s. It is emcees like AiKz and others who keep that soul of the real Hip Hop alive on the underground scene by paying homage and bringing those days back in their music. You can feel that love in his voice and in his lyrics right here…

Piano, Strings and nice chilled beat merge together to create this smooth boom bap sound that takes you warm summer days and BBQ’s. How Many Mics sees AiKz really display his love for that original Hip Hop sound and his despair at what the radio plays. You really get a feel for how those pre-millennium days in Hip Hop inspired and shaped where he walks on his journey as an emcee. Funky guitar vibes, drums and cuts come together to push up the adrenaline levels for So Villainous, The more you listen there is kind of a spaghetti western vibe going on here. One the seems to focus on the bandits, those who are spitting rhymes so criminal they are that good. However, the more you listen the more you realise that AiKz is those villainous aspects and twisting and spinning them into something that is most obviously coming from a positive standpoint and for your entertainment. Jabbathakut joins the guys one last time with more turntable dexterity on Infinite Jest. Organ notes and drums are the core of this one, all moulded together to give a nice funky upbeat feel. This one is all about AiKz having fun with wordplay, no need to over analyse this one too much so, just enjoy the skilful display…

An acoustic guitar and the sounds of a storm usher in the next track. Soon the soulful vocals of Teresa Meads join as does the drumbeat, creating a thoughtful vibe as it carries you along. Tom Stiles (the other half of Sophisticated Apes) joins AiKz on this one which, for me anyway, really seems to reflect the current way so many of us are feeling as we look at the life we are living. There is a storm going on around us and in the midst of this we find a need to reach out for help whilst other reach out to us. There is only so much we can give, that’s how we feel but, we carry on and walk forward wondering if we can truly make it. The truth there is we can and will weather the storm, if we all reach out to each other lend an ear for others, we will never be alone, only stronger as one. Together we can be the Eye Of The Storm, the calm in the midst of chaos. A heavy beat and piano notes, alongside razor-sharp cuts is the backdrop for AiKz to drop the Lyricist. The whole vibe of this one feels like a Hip Hop superhero story as AiKz breaks it down about what it is to be a true lyricist. It’s not an easy choice to make to be someone who stands up using words to create lyrics, the kind of lyrics that please the masses and leave you feeling that you have done the best you can. It's about balance too, living your own life each day while that alias lives inside you constantly bringing forth your creative side. Finally, it’s time to sit back and relax with the chilled out musical Outro. Just enough time to reflect on what you’ve just heard and that was something special…


From what you have just read, and reading between the lines, you can probably guess that I enjoyed this album a lot. To be honest there is nothing not to like here. The idea was to create an album that perfectly showcased both the talents of the emcee and the producer and for me they really nailed it.

AiKz displays some cracking wordplay and story writing skills, alongside a solid and hard-hitting delivery and flows. Not only that but, he is injecting just the right amount of emotion or comedic edge, along the way, to keep you entertained and focused throughout. Third Degree brings a depth of production that provides the perfect sound scape for each track, mirroring the emotional depth of the lyrical content with equally emotive music. They have kept guests to a minimum which helps to highlight their own strengths and where they have brought others in it only adds extra depth and substance. Teresa Meads has a stunning voice which is perfect for Eye Of The Storm and Tom Stiles is a great choice on there two and who doesn’t like the turntable skills of Jabbathakut, nuff said right there.

Overall, what you get from AiKz and Third Degree on Antisocial is an album that flows seamlessly from start to finish. Toying with your emotions as it switches between those just for fun rhymes and deeply emotive personal experiences, seemingly leaving no stone unturned in bringing you solid album rooted in the golden era of Hip Hop. It is a true powerhouse that is brought to you by two people who have one goal, to bring the lovers of good music a solid Hip Hop album that will never get old and will be listened to for many years to come. This album is far from being Antisocial as people are gonna be talking about this one, trust me…

If these guys are not at the top of their game yet, then watch out because they are carving out a damn good one for themselves and that’s great news for us too.

Antisocial is released today on most streaming services. CD copies will be coming soon.

My Huge Thanks to Third Degree aka Liam Byrne for asking me to review this one.

On that note,

I’m out, see ya…



Streaming links for Antisocial:

Friday 18 November 2022








Sub-Atomic Boom Bap and a Fistful of Rap is the debut release from IMMUNE, the duo of Psykoid and Cylas aka the new alter egos of UK emcee, vocalist, producer, and multi-genre spanning Remark (Psykoid) and Swiss producer Silas (Cylas) who also mixes it up when it comes to his genres of music.

Anyone who has followed my reviews will be well acquainted with these two by now, both as individual artists and from their work together. If you have not followed the reviews to date then, Why Not? Just kidding but, you should definitely check my previous reviews.

Anyway, lets get back on track and see just what Immune has to offer across the following eleven tracks…

The Album kicks off with The Mirror which slowly draws you into this multi-layered sub-sonic sounding boom bap vibe from Cylas. Psykoid takes us on a melodic trip that not only seems to ask us to truly look at ourselves but, it also asks us to look at us as beings on this planet. What do you see when you, your life and everything that humans have done on this planet, to this planet and too each other, is reflected to you as you gaze deep into the surface of The Mirror? With your mind still reeling from that initial cerebral onslaught, grows and sonic sounds grab your attention before drums join the sonic waves and you are opened up to the Sleeping Tiger inside ya. Immune presents us with what at first seems like a post-apocalyptic digital vibe but, you soon realise it is just another view of the current world society. Everywhere you go and every situation that presents itself to you can open up an opportunity for that sleeping tiger to be unleashed But, don’t think this one is coming from the outside in, this sleeping tiger dwells within and with either be unleashed on those around you or it will consume you. The choice is yours as to which it is…

Drums and sounds like those of sirens herald the next track. Soon keys, percussion, guitars, and more sonic sounds drop in alongside Psykoid’s vocals. Somebody goes beyond looking at yourself in the mirror and makes you wonder what would happen if you could wrestle with your own mind about who you are within your own body, who you wanted or didn’t want to be and then, just as your mind is recovering from that possibility, throws in the realisation that one day you will transcend the human body and have no body, where you once knew a body. This is a deep concept one that some of us already understand but, where does it take you? Huge sonic sounds and drums invade your mind, as the intro to The Shadow teases another cerebral conundrum. The grimy edge to this one keeps you focused on the message. That message is all about the self and the fact that external pressures constantly seek to keep you down and under control but, the self needs to learn and to kick back against those pressures and show that it will not be suppressed and will ultimately be free to speak its truth. Synths and sonic electronic sounds take over your mind before the pounding drums and guitars take control of your body. This is one for the Headstrong, those who refuse to be held back and controlled by the powers that be. They know their self-worth and have aligned with their soul’s purpose and always move forward drawing on core beliefs and values, staying true to the origins of their culture. They equal to all, never standing above or below anyone but, simply being shoulder to shoulder with everyone.

Cylas gives us a sonic grime vibe on Sun Rays with heavy bass alongside the electronic sonic sound that has your mind whirling. There are a lot of messages packed into this one and initially you might be forgiven for thinking this one is all about the weather but, listen a bit deeper and you realise that the weather aspect here is just a reflection of how the current state of society has most people feeling there are dark clouds hanging over their heads, created by the power and money hungry few who feed on the blood sweat and tears of the many. There is also a reference here to gun crime but, that can be extended to knife and other violent crimes. We need to bring back the lighter days that are filled with sun rays, stop killing each other and make a stand against the corrupt politicians and make our voice heard. The sub-atomic boom bap is in full effect on Demons at the Door. The sonic sounds here really twist your mind into weird mind states as Psykoid takes aim at all those who have no substance, no heart, and no real desire in what they do. In music this is all those who try to sound like the next man because their only desire is to make money but, by not bringing their true selves to their craft, they only serve to bring more and more of their own demons to their door, who will eventually bring them down. What is key is to be you, to bring who you truly are, you heart and your own experience to the floor. Do this and you can succeed in all you do, even when you try something new. Synths and heavy drums are the basis of Balance, the pounding of the drums really impress the message deep into your mind. That message is focused on the fact that there are negative forces all around us in our daily life. We cannot allow those forces to take control and we can only do that by bringing balance to life. It’s all about us everyday people being more aware of what’s going on around us, waking up to reality and bringing positive vibes wherever we go and with all those we meet.

Intense digital sonic vibes invade your ears before solid boom bap drums have you punching the air. This is exactly what Immune intended as Exile (Fireball Flingaz) joins them to Put ‘Em Up. The energy and intensity are ramped up here as the boys deliver a banger that is a homage to all those who keep that real Hip Hop music and culture alive. This one is for emcees, the writers, the DJs, and the beat makers. There is also no messing about here and no room for the mumble and wack rappers, this is for the hardcore headz and all the rest better just step off. An ominous cloud of digital sonic and grimy vibes darkens the mood. Immune throw multiple razor-sharp beats and rhymes into your body and soul ready to tear you apart. This is The Horror, an unapologetic look at the dark side of the world around us and it is not just the horror that we see and hear daily, it’s also about the horrors that we don’t see like peido’s in high places and hidden agendas such as Eugenics and population control. It’s not nice to hear but, something we have to be aware of if we are to survive. The album ends with a deluge of Acid Rain, pounding drums and grimy vibes pervade as the sonic sounds settle into the background. The message here is that with everything that is setting society on course to implode, it is important not to get caught up in the plan. We must remember and cultivate the lost knowledge that has been torn from our history. What will get us through is understanding that unity, balance, and the ultimate realisation that love is the most powerful thing we have, and it can overcome all obstacles we face.

Sub-Atomic Boom Bap and A Fistful of Rap creates this dystopian vision of a post-apocalyptic world where we live in a digital Tron like Matrix where we are controlled and kept subservient to some minority of evil overlords, whom we once called governments. Is this a true representation of where we are heading or is it just a warning? What does really become apparent from listening to this is that it takes awakened minds to see the truth behind what is thrust upon us everyday through the media outlets and way social media controls what and who we see in so many ways. There is so much in this album that asks you to be aware of what is going on around you, be yourself and discover the true meaning of what it is to be you. Don’t get caught up in being dragged down by the day-to-day pain, suffering and don’t be consumed by anger. Find that peace inside you and use that peace and the core energy of love to bring balance to the world around you.

Aside from all that Immune have also given us one hell of a banging Hip Hop album. Yes, there are some influences from different genre’s, some of which are more modern in their vibe but, none of that takes away from the concept and delivery of the music. Cylas has cooked up this impressive sound scape that has Hip Hop as its core value but, around it he merged this musical vision of a futuristic digital age where a matrix universe and a Tron like universe have collided releasing a devastating sonic shockwave. What this does is to provide Psykoid with the perfect backdrop to unload his deep penetrating lyrical onslaught. Using his intelligent and deeply knowledgeable mind state, he delivers lyrical mastery that not only educates and invites you to open your mind and your third eye but, his adept wordplay spins your awareness to a place where you feel your being integrated into a digital version of yourself like Neo in the Matrix or Dr Will Caster in Transcendence.

All in all, Sub-Atomic Boom Bap and a Fistful of Rap is both a view of a digital dystopian future and a hugely enjoyable Hip Hop album, merged into one that has you punching the air one minute and then expanding beyond three dimensions, the next. Utilising stunning futuristic production and a mix of socially, politically, and spiritually aware vocals, it takes to the edge of reality and back again. Ultimately it invites you open your mind, be aware and make yourself Immune…

Sub-Atomic Boom Bap and a Fistful of Rap is available now from Giftklass Labor, digitally and on strictly limited CD and USB editions. So, grab one before the powers that be make ‘em illegal…

Till next time, I’m out,

See Ya,



Get the album from Immune Bandcamp Here:


The Mirror







Tuesday 1 November 2022

Album Review: Configa Presents ReConfiga'd


Configa presents – ReConfiga’d




This will be the first time I have reviewed an album of remixes. And because it’s the latest from UK super producer Configa – who has been working with Arrested Development on their last two albums amongst many other big names on his resume, as well as winning Producer of the Year via B-Boy Document magazine last year – it’s fair to say that I’m looking forward to this one. I have decided to approach my review of this album slightly differently.

For this review I’m not going to be getting into the lyrics or the overall message of each track because that is not the point here. The whole idea of a remix album is for the producer to showcase his unique take on an original track. Remixing original tracks can really help revive the music, giving it a whole new sound and vibe. With Re:Configa’d, Configa has brought a fairly broad mix of tracks together with his own distinctive style and flavour. My aim here is to offer my interpretations of the musicality of these remixes and then consider how they compare to my interpretations of the original versions. So, let’s get straight into it…

The album kicks off with ‘Paid My Dues’ by Big Stat, circa 2014. The original version is a solid boom-bap track full of drums and synth/electronic notes. It’s the kinda full on head-nod vibe you like to bounce to. For the remix, Configa takes orchestral strings, horns, drums and piano notes, alongside some well needed cuts. That big orchestral sound serves to kick this up a level by retaining that boom-bap sound, but also refining it, giving it a sound that is almost soundtrack in nature rather than street.

Up next is ‘Do This’ ft Canibus, Be Kay and Chino XL from the 2009 mixtape, ‘The Foundation’ by German producer Shuko. The original is a straight-up boom-bap track with drums and piano as the main sounds with some impressive cuts thrown in for good measure. For the remix, Configa takes drums and a funky guitar sound to give this a hi-energy sound that would be at home in any club – there are also some slick stabbing cuts to get the blood pumping.

It’s time now to dip into a classic 90’s track with ‘Spam’, from the 1994 Album ‘Spam from Milk (Audio Two)’. This one features AD Rock from the Beastie boys and, alongside the twos’ high pitched rapping, the original is drum heavy with some flute notes, giving it a very sparse sound that really focuses on the vocals. Configa’s remix brings a far more musical tone to the track. He uses guitar and drums to give it a head-nod vibe, whilst mixing in some organ notes that bring a concert hall/theatre sound.

From the 90’s hip-hop sound, we move forward with Planet Asia (as Medallions) on the track ‘Having Thangs’ from 2007’s ‘Jewellery Box Sessions The Album’. The vibe of the original is very much on a street-banger tip, with some heavy drums, strings and piano providing the sound. Configa’s remix takes drums, keys, cuts, and whistles to give the track a much more chilled vibe whilst losing none of the impact of the original.

With a quarter of the album done, it’s time to step back into the 90’s with one of rap’s most infamous figures, The Notorious B.I.G. with the track ‘Suicidal Thoughts’ from the 1994 album ‘Ready To Die’. The original musical vibe is one that is straight up head-nod with drums and keys providing the musical backdrop for the deep subject matter. The remix from Configa is a far more mellow affair that sees him also using drums and keys to provide the sound. Configa also drops the phone conversation aspect of the original, allowing the vocals to do all the talking while keeping the dark head-nod feel.

Staying in the 90’s, the sound switches to R&B superstar Mary J. Blige and the track ‘Be Happy’ from her 1994 ‘My Life’ Album. The original has a big funk/soul sound from drums, bass, and strings carrying the listener alongside Mary J. Blige’s silky, soulful vocals. For his remix Configa takes drums, strings and organ notes to create a feel-good sound that is very much on a hip-hop/soul tip.

We stay in the 1990’s for another huge track in ‘Let’s Get It On’, from the 1994 album ‘Let’s Get It On’ by Eddie F & The Untouchables. The track features Heavy D, 2Pac, Grand Puba and The Notorious B.I.G. and was one of the only times ‘Pac and B.I.G. shared the studio together. The original sampled Barry White’s ‘You’re The One I Need’ and produces a real funky vibe with the drums, tambourine and guitar. For the remix, Configa flips the vibe of this one into a proper street sound using bass, horns, cymbals, sparse drums and, as the emcees trade bars, you can almost feel the cars creeping with their lights off.

Bringing things back into the new millennium, we find Configa working with the diss track, ‘Gucci Gang’, by Joyner Lucas. The original track saw Joyner sample and diss Lil Pump over one of his own trap beats. With trap being most definitely not my thing, I was not keen on the original beat, but on the remix we get treated to a far more suitable hip-hop beat, coming from drums, bass and keys, which (for me anyway) is head and shoulders above the original.

Next to get the remix treatment is Fat Joe’s ‘Murder Rap’, featuring Armageddon, from 2001’s ‘Jealous Ones Still Envy’ album. One of the strongest tracks from the album, this has a big NY sound with its heavy beat and synth notes. Configa’s remix takes the roughness out and gives it a more polished vibe with drums, keys, and strings– the drums being unapologetically boom-bap and the keys giving it the air of a soundtrack.

Time to bounce back to the nineties to 2Pac’s, QDIII produced, ‘Hellrazor’ from the 1997 album ‘R U Still Down (Remember Me)’. QDIII’s original production was very much on a soul/funk kinda vibe, being guitar heavy over the drums. The remix is very much a nod to the original and keeps it head-nod but, being more piano heavy over the drums, this kinda tweaks your nerves and deepens the sound's impact.

Stepping back over the Millennium line we get the single from Nas’s 2002 ‘Godson’ album, ‘Made You Look’. The original is one of those big anthem style hip-hop sounds, packed full of classic samples that make you turn the speakers up and play it loud. Configa expertly keeps that anthem style sound for the remix but gives it an almost big-band vibe on the chilled tip with horns, guitar, strings, and some deft cuts. This needs to be played at equally high volume too.

Next, we move to 2005 and the ‘Triangulation Station’ LP from Hieroglyphics and Souls Of Mischief member, Opio. The track is ‘Fist Full’, and its original sound is a nice deep head-nod vibe with bongos, drums, and synths. The remix sees Configa take the vibe to somewhere between the streets and the clubs. With a slightly rawer edge than the original, with drums, bass, and keys, it still keeps you moving.

We move into the final quarter of the album with Cella Dwellas and the track ‘Land Of The Lost’ from their 1996 album, ‘Realms ‘n’ Reality’. The original sound of horns, organ notes and drums has a floaty kinda vibe and comes from the underground NYC music scene known as the Mystic Rappers, which featured artists such as Funkdoobiest. Configa keeps that floaty vibe but gives it a jazzier feel with keys, drums, xylophone, and horns– a newer mystic vibe, if you will.

It’s now time to bring it forward to 2012 and a track from the ‘Raw’ EP by Nipsey Hussle (R.I.P) and Blanco. The track is ‘LA Confidential’ and features YG on a sound that is very much a nod to the G-Funk era, in my opinion, with pounding drums and electronic sounds. On the remix, Configa keeps elements of that original G-Funk sound and mixes it with piano, drums, strings, and those electronic sounds, whilst sampling 2Pac on the hook, to bring music that takes us from the streets of 2012 and lands us in the LA sunshine of 2022.

We now slide back to another track from 1994’s ‘Ready To Die’ album from The Notorious B.I.G. That track is ‘Friend Of Mine’, with it’s big club sound of drums, synth and bass. For the remix, Configa creates a mash up. He takes bass, drums, horns, and claps to bring a lighter jazz/Latin funk sound, and then mixes in and cuts up a sample from the 1989 Biz Markie single, ‘Just a Friend’, to really bring an emphasis to the ‘friend’ aspect.

The album ends with ‘True To Hip-Hop’, from the 1999 album ‘Cold Water Music’ by AG and produced by AIM. The original sound is one that is undoubtedly head-nod but, with a big-band jazz vibe. Configa’s remix takes guitar, bass, and drums to give it a huge funk vibe. In fact, this one is so funked up, it is red hot!

What can I say about Re:Configa’d overall? Well, humour me here, I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and the 80’s was a decade when the remix was a big part of putting out music. Vinyl was still huge, and artists would release 12” singles and EP’s that featured remixed versions of their singles and certain producers became sought after for their remixing abilities. As we moved into the digital age, remixes became less abundant especially as vinyl took a dip in its availability and use. I’m still a fan of the whole remix genre and always like to hear how a fresh interpretation of a track can change its whole vibe and imbue it with a completely different impact. So, I have to say that I really loved this album and the challenge it gave me in reviewing it.

Some of the tracks I was familiar with and others I had never heard. It was indeed a challenge to listen to both versions of each track and move from a feel for the original musical vibe through to the remix vibe, before analysing how the former transformed into the latter with Configa’s unique touch. Configa does an amazing job here in taking each track and reworking them to suit a far more hip-hop focused sound. He takes nothing away from the original tracks and, in the case of several, actually seems to improve the sound, in my own humble opinion that is.

Now, there are many who will say that you can never improve on the original sound and that might be so but, there are times that the remix can so change the musical qualities and the feeling of the original that it sounds like a totally different track. It might actually give you far more enjoyment than the original and so, in enhancing that original sound does a remix simply change a track or actually improve it?

Anyway, let’s not digress here… Re:Configa’d is a masterful example of what can be achieved if a producer focuses and trains their ear for musicality and then gives tracks a melodic make-over that allows the listener to re-appreciate that track. It makes you want to listen to the original again to see just how it differs. If we consider Re:Configa’d and the rest of Configa’s body of work with Arrested Development and many others, I can see no reason why he is not gonna become one of the most in demand producers in the UK, regardless of whether it’s for brand new production or for his quality remixes.

Re:Configa’d is out now on Configaration Records. Sadly, CD copies are currently sold out but digital is available.

It’s time for me to be outta here!

See Ya,



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Made You Look (Configa Remix) - Nas