Friday 30 June 2023

Album Review: BOMBERMAN by MC Oliver Twist




MC Oliver Twist


It has been a crazy road to this debut album for MC Oliver Twist who has battled more than his fair share of demons along the way but, that road has led him to become a stronger person and one who can finally realise a dream in releasing an LP to the masses. That long road to recovery and ultimately finding solace in the company of God, will surely impact the vibe and power of the words he delivers here on Bomberman.

It's been a while since I last featured MC Oliver Twist here on the blog, that was way back in April of 2021 with the release of MC Oliver Twist Meets Pandamonium. That release featured a Pandamonium remix of Fly Antics (Link Below), which features on this very album. Now that remix featured cuts by the one and only Jabbathakut who is one of a host of guest artists to feature and drop production on Bomberman, which also includes DJar One, Renee Soul, Prince Po (Organized Konfusion), Chrome (Def Tex, Chrome+), Dee Jay Random & DJ Chud (The Steel Devils), Junior Disprol, Mista Bohze, DJ Krash Slaughta, Franky Roar, Chris Warner, Nay Loco (Local Healers), ES, Loop Skywalker, Dirty Joe, Kit Glover, Aspect 852, DJ Miracle, DJ Pandamonium, Specifik, Chat One, Jeye Servere and DJ Demon. With a line-up like that alongside Mr Twist and the fact this album is getting a release on one of the UK’s premier Hip Hop Labels, B-Line Recordings, and with artwork from the legendary John Dyer. Bomberman looks likely to be one of the standout releases of 2023 and it’s been a long time coming too…

Move Smooth kicks off the album with a jazzy beat full of drums, horns, and double bass from DJar One, who also gets busy on the cuts here too, who has you grinning and bouncing around from the get-go. The vibe is pure upbeat feel-good fun as MC Oliver Twist shows what his lyrical prowess is all about, and that’s having fun on this one flipping the similes and metaphors and rhyming about whatever comes to mind. Next up is Fly Antics which see’s Jabbathakut on production and cuts. This one is heavy on the drums with vocal samples creating this slick head nod sound with some classic samples cut up on the bridge. Here we find Mr Twist guiding us on a brief trip through some of the key experiences of his life and look at some of what he’s been up to more recently. This is just a look at some of what makes MC Oliver Twist the man and the emcee. Jazzy piano vibes, heavy drums and a hint of horns from Frank Roar which keeps you bouncing in ya seat, or wherever you’re listening to Still Got You; Renee Soul provides an upbeat soulful chorus as Mr Twist takes us down memory lane to his early days, breaking it down about some of the experiences and people that inspired and shaped him on his journey into Hip Hop and picking up the mic.

Forever brings heavy drums alongside guitar and keys and vocal samples on the bridge as Chris Warner brings a more soulful vibe with Specifik providing the cuts. Here we find Oliver Twist reflecting on his journey through the early days of UK Hip Hop, breaking down more truths about what was going on around him at the time. DJar One is back on production and cuts for The Truth Is, giving us drums and vocal samples bringing an etheric and emotive quality to the sound. Here Twist takes us into a deeper vibe as he looks at what’s going on in the world around us and the affect that has on all of us, the struggles we all experience and how those struggles can so often affect our mental health. There is no quick answer to all this but, it starts with looking after you and progresses to the community around you before progressing beyond. Next up is the album’s title track, Bomberman, which features Prince Po and Chrome with DeeJay Random on the cuts and production from Frank Roar. Banging drums, bass, guitar give this one a solid boom bap sound that will have you bouncin’ off the floor with the volume up a few notches. This one is all about three emcee’s lighting the touchpaper on the mic and letting the words explode in your eardrums. It’s really that simple this one is as volatile as nitro-glycerine, you’ve been warned, turn this up too loud and you’re likely to cause maximum chaos.

Halfway through the album and the adrenaline levels are already at their peak and you’re hooked, ready for what’s next, which see’s Mr Twist joined by Junior Disprol and Mista Bohze, Krash Slaughta on the cut. DJar One is on production, dropping a double bass heavy jazzed upbeat that has you movin’ and groovin’ to the sound. This one is all about having fun at live shows and setting the stage alight with slick verbal wordplay while switching up the flows and whipping the crown into a frenzy while Rippin’ Up Shows. Feeding off the pure adrenaline it’s time to switch into Battle Mode with Nay Loco and ES joining Mr Twist on vocal duties, Loop Skywalker on the cut and Pandamonium on the beats. The guitar heavy sound with the drums and horns hits your awareness creating this weird, almost disorienting effect which puts you into this situation where vocals seem to be coming at you from all sides at once. This is a one-sided battle right here with Twist, Loco and ES bombarding you with intense verbal wordplay that leaves you comatose and unable to fight back. Dirty Joe provides production on My Baby, a pounding sound that is straight up head nod but, there are some keys on there too which give this deep edge. There is also a deep edge to this track as Twist takes us through some of the hardest times in his life, this culminated in a suicide attempt before he took time out and found a shining light to guide him on. Through so much of his life he had his baby with him. Now you might feel that this track describes his love for a child, and I had that same thought but, to me there was something deeper. However, Twist’s description of his suicide attempt was all I could think of and so I got in touch will him and he pointed out the one thing I missed. The end of the third verse references Coco, his beloved chocolate Labrador, who is the real focus of this track and through all the struggles this track touches on, it is the love between himself and his baby Coco that turns this track into something beautiful that transcends music and even life. Coco may not have been physically with him at such a dark time in his life but, it was Coco that ultimately played a huge role in helping see that everything would be ok. There is so much in this one track I could cover but it would take its own review…

We move into the final quarter of the album with the Long Lastin’ produced The Joneses, a funk fuelled vibe with organ notes, sax, and drums. This one see’s Twist looking at that peer pressure vibe created of wanting to be like someone else, those others who have the latest phone, the coolest trainers and all the banded gear. This who situation has been going on for years, once it as all about clothes, TV’s or the like but, now people want to physically like others. TV and branding is big business now constantly bombarding us with celebs, sports personalities and more, all covered in branding and all to male more and more money from those who really don’t have it. The penultimate track is Flight Of The Phoenix, produced by Aspect 852 and featuring DJ Miracle on the cut. The guitar vibe on this has an almost calming effect against the pounding of the drum beat and sharpness of the scratches. At first this appears to be just MC Oliver Twist having fun with sci-fi references but, perhaps there is something deeper here? Could this be a metaphoric look at the way MC Oliver Twist, himself, has risen from the ashes to become the phoenix and this album is the first flight or maybe this is just a story from the mind of slick storyteller? The album ends with Paranoid and Prang featuring Chat One (who also produces the track) and Jaye Servere with cuts by DJ Demon.  The sound is heavy on the drum beat with an underlying orchestral, soundtrack vibe which just elevates the sound. This one see’s us being taken into the mind of paranoid individual who trust no one or nothing around them and is scared of most of what they see around them, questioning everything and wondering who is watching…

Sometimes you have to take a step back before you can properly sum up what you just heard, and this is one of those times. I know it has been one crazy road for MC Oliver Twist to finally get an album put together (considering the track Bomberman started out as verse back in 2007) but, what he has done with Bomberman is nothing short of incredible. As an album this would be solid by anyone’s standards but, as a debut this one is simply outstanding.

There is a depth to everything here that you can’t miss when listening to it. MC Oliver Twist puts his heart and soul into this one and you can feel that in every verse, every sentence, and every word. Bomberman has everything you would want in a release, there is top notch production from top to bottom across the album, there are cracking guest artists who all add extra depth to the album but, what truly stands out here is MC Oliver Twist himself who makes every word perfectly clear regardless of the flow or style he is using. There are tracks which are strictly for the Hip Hop heads that display straight up wordplay that brings a smile to your face and then there are tracks, such as My Baby, that are emotive and uplifting. In fact, for me, My Baby is one of the standout tracks I have heard this year, with its metaphoric look at a beloved pet to the shear wealth of information packed into one track and I wish I had the time to fully go into it, such as the influence of Prince Po to the reconciliation with a childhood friend Daz.

For me, what MC Oliver Twist does with Bomberman are two things that demonstrate the sheer power that music has; Firstly it shows just how the listener can connect with emotions that the artist puts into the music they produce and secondly, it display the deep connection some listeners will get with the artist, and what I mean by that is the depth you can interpret and then feel the messages and the stories within the tracks. When you really take the time to listen intently to the words, every track can then take on a whole different meaning for you, it takes beyond listening or reading between the lines and places those emotive feelings directly into reality…

I have been lucky enough to chat to MC Oliver Twist on a number of occasions and to see him perform live at Rope-A-Dope in Bristol in 2021. This is a guy who has had the life experiences to put such depth and emotive content into what he writes that every word seems to touch you deeply, making you feel that you are stood right there with him as you listen to his words.

I really could go on talking about this one for hours, letting you know that the awesome album artwork comes from no other than John 'Digital' Dyer but, I really just need to say enough to make you go have a listen and even grab a copy, because it really is worth every penny.


My humble thanks to MC Oliver Twist for asking me to review this and for our chats and the humbling and open chat we had regarding My Baby, Thank You my friend.

Bomberman drops on July 7th from B-Line Recordings / Hip Hop Be Bop...


On that Note,

I’m out, see ya…



Bomberman will be available from Hip Hop Be Bop:

Get the Vinyl and T-Shirts from The Cold Krush Website Here:

MC Oliver Twist on Bandcamp:

MC Oliver Twist Social Media Links:

Hip Hop Be Bop on Facebook:

Review and Links for MC Oliver Twist meets Pandamonium:

The Bomberman Launch party is on September 29th at Mama Liz's Voodoo Lounge in Stamford. Check the link below for tickets to this Not To Be Missed event:


Thursday 29 June 2023

Album Review: Inkwell by Jack Wolff and Ty Healy




Jack Wolff & Ty Healy


Inkwell is the new album from producer Jack Wolff and emcee Ty Healy (The Local Healers), which was written, recorded, mixed, and mastered in just 22 days, pretty impressive! It is also the follow up to 2022’s The Fresh Organic album. The guys have also been dropping singles from Inkwell for nearly a year, quietly preparing you for what’s to come.

In fact Ty Healy has said, via Social Media, that this is his “favourite piece of work I’ve ever done!!!”, which if you’ve heard any of his work I have reviewed such as The Local Healers and Louis Cypher The YearLong EP which was produced by Pandamonium or, more recently, the Bamboozled EP which was Ty and Pandamonium, you will know that is some statement for Ty Healy to make.

Ty also said of this project that this is one where the guys want the music to speak for itself! That said, let’s do just that and see what the music has to say…

The album kicks off with Pizzazz which has jazzy mix of keys and drums but, with a few softer sounds mixed in gives that one a fresh, alternative sound. This one is all about Ty Healy demonstrating his pizzazz on the mic but, more than that, it sets the tone of the album from the get-go, showing that Jack Wolff and Ty Healy are the very definition of Pizzazz by being stylish, exciting and energetic. The vibe then moves to a more funky feel from Jack Wolff that mixes a head nod beat with keys and synth sounds, to give you this infectious body moving sound that is Magnum. Here Ty Healy is all about telling it how it is about being on the mic and dropping those quality rap vibes, be it freestyling or classic tracks, it’s all about the quality and the force of the delivery. The sound switches back to a jazzier one on Pijamacat, which is a little more laid-back with sparce drums and keys mixed with this chilled flute sound that carries you along, dreaming of lazy summer nights and that’s those summer nights spent with you special someone indulging in whatever brings the most fun…

Timeshare has this sound which takes you back the days of creating beats through a sampler, such as the SP1200, pushing buttons to create a whole track from a collection of sounds that were either recorder live or simply sampled. This one is all about taking it back to how things were and how they change over time as we live and grow. Scrolling has this mind and nerve bending sound that makes you feel like you are spinning round and around. That whole vibe of the music fits so well with the fact this one is all about how so many get addicted to those micro computers in our pockets, otherwise known as a smartphone. The fact that you can go anywhere and see people scrolling is a little dis-concerting as they would rather do that than engage in a conversation. Choices comes with this mix of drums and jazzy organ notes which kinda helps you focus on the lyrics, which works perfectly as this one focuses on the choices that we all make day-to-day. There are good choices and bad ones, there are also the times we struggle to make any kind of decisions. Every choice or lack of, still has an impact on our life and the direction we take on that journey.

The mix of keys, bass, drums, and other sounds on Somebody serves to wonder if you’re listening to a jazzy vibe or a funkier one. This one seems to be looking at how we react to the things we see and experience everyday of our lives and, I guess, the message is not to sweat the small stuff because is it really as bad as it looks and, in the end, all that stress is only gonna affect one person. The drums and bass of Well, gets ya head nodding on what is like a skit that speaks on Hip Hop and making music. It really has this feel of people sat round a table, having a chat, and talking about the finer points of music production. Drums, keys and some electronic sounds come together on Wake. The way this one tweaks at your nerves is important because it makes you focus on the fact that this one is all about knife crime, those who lose their lives, those left behind and the fact that it you rarely hear the stories of those who lose their lives to what is almost an epidemic.

We now move into the second half of this album, which is 18 tracks deep, with Baddies. The BPM rises on this one with its bass heavy sound which gives it a more modern rap vibe. Here we see Ty looking at how the younger generation of men seem to feel they have to take on this persona of being a bad boy because that what the ladies like. But that is missing the point because the best way to be is by just being yourself and not aspiring to be something you’re not. That modern trap kinda vibe continues with Portals, which starts of laid-back before the beat drops and pushes the BPM up, although the pace does seesaw through this one, something which mirrors the way our outlook on life changes from one moment to the next. It is the balance between waking up to what is really going on around you or just staying in an ignorant bliss. Sparce drums, bass and synth vibes create this short little head nod sound to accompany Ty breaking down what the word Midlands means when you talk about that geographical area of England.

Breezy has this multi-layered percussion vibe with the addition of a few keys, all of which creates this soulful vibe but with this street, almost grime edge. What I get from this one is that it’s all about keeping it cold, no matter what you’re doing, because the cold keeps our attention focused on what we do and what’s going on around us. It’s all about the details, so the more to keep it cold, the more you are focused on always bringing the best of yourself. Noir is almost an interlude but, its short length does not lessen the impact. Ty focuses on the cultural bias and racism towards those of that skin colour and says just as much in just over a minute, as some do in hours. Jack Wolff provides a sound scape of sparse drums and electronic vibes with a more lo-fi sound. Ink is this short instrumental interlude that comprises of piano, synth, and organ notes. The way Jack Wolff brings it all together kinda has this effect of making you wonder what it would sound like if you splashed ink on to a page and each time the ink hit the page it became a different note…

The sparse drumbeat, and the piano vibes of Crayons brings a very uplifting feel to the proceedings. That uplifting sound comes with an emotive edge as Ty details how the innocent musings of his cousin’s son on how he sees the world can make such a deep impact. Sometimes how children view the world around them makes so much more sense than what humans have created. Borders, power, and wealth is something that has caused so much pain and suffering, as well as separation, causing us to see each other and judge each other based on all those things, when in reality we are all one. The chilled vibe continues with drums and piano uniting on Burnout, which sees the Healer and the Wolff combining to bring us some reflecting on how we so often work hard, even to the point of burning out, just to make ends meet but, regardless of how it affects us we still push on, always doing the best for those around us; even if it’s not always the best for ourselves to keep pushing. The final track on the album is Sometimes a light-hearted jazzy piano vibe that has a definite feel-good air about it. As you listen to the words, the spoken word vibe of Jack Wolff sees him detailing how he makes beats in his sleep, while Ty raps his way through what seems to be a weird dream world. It might be a bit tongue-in-cheek style but, it’s a cool bit of fun to round off the album on an upbeat, positive vibe…

This might mark the end of my journey but, if you grab the digital Deluxe Edition of the album, you will be treated to a bonus track, Boastin, which I’m afraid you will have to experience yourself, so enjoy…

For something that was put together in such a short space of time, Inkwell is an epic album that takes you on some journey. This is less of a rollercoaster ride and more of trip through life, where you experience so much of what life can bring, even the emotional stuff.

Inkwell is one of those albums where both producer and emcee seem to gel so well together. Jack Wolff delivers this jazzy, funky, Hip Hop infused sound that ebbs and flows along, perfectly supporting Ty Healy’s ship, which is full of this plethora of vibes, flows and styles; every time Ty switches things up or down, Jack’s sound morphs perfectly in response, or is it the other way around? Well, whichever way round it is, does not matter because the outcome is the same.

I can easily see how Ty sees this as some of his best work to date because he shows the range of his writing and performing skills, some of which are pushing his limits a little, which is what all good performers do, they push their boundaries with an ever-increasing repertoire of vocal and writing styles, never sitting still but constantly evolving.

Credit where credit is due to Jack Wolff really pulls some stunning production work out the bag here and playing all these sounds himself and putting it altogether gives Inkwell a more authentic and individual sound that is all his own, and it could be that that makes it work so well with Ty’s lyrics. I mean, it is almost impossible to figure out which came first the music or the lyrics, because they just feel like they were born as is and not crafted, they just work so well together…

Anyway, Inkwell from Jack Wolff and Ty Healy is released tomorrow, 30th June, through the Dock Heist Unit label.

My huge thanks to Ty Healy for asking me to review this cracking album.

So, don’t miss this one, it’s a must for sure.

On that note, I’ll see ya next time.



Get Inkwell from Jack Wolff on Bandcamp Here:

Jack Wolff on Instagram:

Ty Healy on Instagram:




Baddies (Live at the Bodega)

Scrollin ft Joe Egan (Acoustic)

Find more from Jack Wolff and Ty Healy, plus a whole lot more on the Dock Heist Unit YouTube Channel:


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Friday 23 June 2023

Album Review: Demons by Steg G




Steg G

Now, it’s been a little while since I last reviewed something by Steg G, in fact it was way back in June 2020 when I reviewed the album No Justice, No Peace by The Scottish Hip Hop Artists for Equality (Click for my review of that one), so its high time he was back on and his latest album Demons is what I am focusing on here.

For those of you who may not be aware, Steg G is an award-winning artist/producer from Glasgow Scotland. He is also actively involved in music education, broadcasting, and community development. So, what can we expect from Demons; Demons delves deep into the internal battles he has faced in recent years. Steg G drew inspiration from the mental health issues and the process of facing his own personal demons head on. Although the album is a more personal take on the impact of current affairs on his own mental wellbeing, his words are still wholly relatable in their meaning. Demons features Steg G on vocals and production duties with guest appearances from Best Hip-Hop act winner at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards, Solareye (Stanley Odd), Nottingham-based rap artist Cappo, rapper Freestyle Master and renowned performer Empress, and other hotly tipped rappers McRoy and Jam of duo CCTV.

Bearing all that in mind, lets get straight into Demons…

First up is Weegie which features Freestyle Master and Jam. The mix of drums, bass, keys, and triangle sounds, starts off in a way that makes you think this is going to be quite dark but, once the beat kicks in, it uplifts the tone and gets you head nodding; and you need that because the focus of this track really seems to be the internal struggles of the mind. This is a place so many of us go to where we question what is going on around us, because all we see is negativity, and the mind begins to question its own sanity and its ability to even want to continue. With the stage set, we move on to the album’s title track Demons, which features Freestyle Master. It has a heavy live instrument sound with drums and bass taking the forefront, with some sonic sounds and heavy electric guitar mixed in for good measure, giving this one a raw, rock-rap vibe. The way the sound grates on my mind is the perfect platform for the darkness in the vocals. We all have our own demons to deal with on our journeys through life and, during the times our mind is most vulnerable, are the moments in which these demons can so easily come to the surface. we can then find it so hard to tackle them and our vulnerabilities can allow the demons to take control of that fragile mental state. An eerie piano sound then toys with our nerves but, allows the lyrics to take the centre stage on Exodus, again featuring Freestyle Master. You might think that’s how this one will play out but, the beat kicks in following a sax solo, all of which combine to emphasise the loneliness in which you can find yourself, something the lyrics bring into stark reality as we explore how someone can deal with the pain the demons bring; you would do anything just to numb the pain or to find a place where the demons can’t find you…

Livin Devilish features the legendary figure of Cappo and Solareye, the biggie sample takes us into a heavy head nod vibe that has keys, bass and other sounds that combine to create this reflective sound. Moments of clarity, maybe when you wake first thing in the morning, can allow you to reflect on the things you have done and said, these are the moments that are filled with regret for all the things you have done but, wish you hadn’t. The outcome of this can push you one of two ways, either towards a desire for change or, as so often happens, it creates more stress and anxiety as drag yourself into your day. Drums and piano are the main component of Voices, which creates this feeling within about being lost in your own mind. Freestyle Master joins Steg G here to highlight how those demons in your head can become so strong they take on their own persona and have their own voice. Those voices can become the controlling factor in your live, telling you how to live and that the only one you can trust is the voice itself. There are mental health conditions that can involve voices that only that person can hear, and it is important that these are highlighted and the stigma and discrimination around them is removed.

Vultures features McRoy and has a far more modern grime/trap vibe to it, while still having a heavy sound. The vocals have more pace to the flow and this, in itself, tweaks your nerves as you look to keep pace and listen to the message within. That message is all about those vultures that look to feed off your success, taking little pieces for themselves until it’s all gone, at which point they are the first jump ship and look for the next corpse to feed off. Freestyle Master returns for Scheme Songs which has a heavy sound from drums and a host of multi-layered sounds. The track focuses on the addictions that so often come hand-in-hand when you struggle with your mental health; it’s only when you begin on the road to recovery do you understand when role those addictions played, then it's all about doing what you can to keep yourself in the light and to stop yourself slipping back into the darkness…

Strings, melodic drums, and synth vibes create a deep vibe that seems to grip your heart on Torments of the Flesh. Featuring Empress, Jam, Freestyle Master and Solareye, this is like a posse cut where each emcee opens up and details their own struggles. You get the sense that this one is almost saying to you, ‘you’re not alone,’ ‘we all have our demons, and it is safe for you to speak up.’ Knowing you are not alone is huge and feeling that within the music speaks to you on so many levels. Empress remains here for Saint and Sinners, which has that live instrument vibe to it. You can almost picture dark dusty place where a small band play while Empress grips the mic and speaks one her own struggles through the darkness and the battle of good and evil, to a place where the light ultimately wins out, dispelling the darkness and opening up a new road on life’s journey. The final track of the album is The Grand Plan and feature Freestyle Master, the melodic drums, keys and flute give this one a thoughtful air, allowing you to really focus on the lyrics. Here Steg G and Freestyle Master bounce of each other, line for line, as they take a deep look at what is the acceptance of who you truly are, all the good and the demons too. That acceptance I what can ultimately set you free as the demons no longer control you and perhaps that is what the grand plan truly is, you accepting you for being who you truly are, the one thing that gives you control over your life and can help you stop the influences of the external pressures…

There is no doubt that Demons is a deeply personal and challenging look at struggles of life and how these can have a disturbing impact that can change who we are, how we see ourselves and how others can see us. These changes can make us stop seeing the love and value of all that is around us and can make us want to give up. But we can free ourselves from this by gradually opening up to others, accepting who we are and learning to love ourselves once more. It is never easy to open up and to tell your story and what Demons does is to tell a story that is very personal but, at the same time so relatable to so many of us. Ultimately Demons is an album that makes a bold statement in that it speaks to those of us struggling and shows us that we are not alone. It also speaks to those who may not be struggling, and it asks those people to open their eyes and their hearts and to recognise the pain of others and to be someone who will listen. Because those who struggle only need to find a sympathetic ear to be able to find their voice…

Now, aside from the deep impact this album has there is also a lot more besides that to look at. Musically Steg G has created this stunning sound scape that flows so well and highly listenable and enjoyable, while keeping a very emotive edge to every track in order o help convey the powerful message within the lyrics. Those lyrics from Steg G and those guest artists keep you hanging on their every word as they use emotional and intelligent lyricism to produce some stunning mental images in the mind of the listener and I have to say that I commend Steg G and all those guest artists for delivering what has to be, for me one of the most deeply thought provoking albums I’ve heard this year, if not singly the most thought provoking.

Demons is also a very important album because, as I have said above, it brings a spotlight on to mental health issues and the struggles so many of us go through as we navigate the stormy waters of life’s ocean, and I know this on a personal level too. Demons shows the powerful force that music, in this case Hip Hop, is in being able to convey such important messages; because within the music you can hear one persons story, their ups and downs through live and their ultimate triumph in stepping into the light from the darkness but, beyond that it speaks to those who are also struggling and those who need open their eyes to what others are experiencing. It might tell one story but, it has many messages to many people.

Demons is available now on Powercut Productions in these formats, Limited Edition vinyl, CD and Digital.

I would also like to give a huge thank you to Steg G for sending me this stunning album to give you my thoughts on.

On that note,

I’m Out,



Get Demons from Bandcamp Here:

Album and Merchandise available from the Steg G Website Here:

Powercut Productions YouTube Channel:

Steg G social media links:


DEMONS ft Freestyle Master






Monday 19 June 2023

Single Review: RUSSSHHH!!! b/w Let's Go Back by Dillon & Tom Caruana


RUSSSHHH!!! b/w Let’s Go Back



Dillon & Tom Caruana


Released last week on 9th June this single is one of the latest releases from Bristol’s’ AE Productions and sees Dillon (Full Plate) team with producer Tom Caruana (Tea Sea Records) for this hot new single release. There is even an appearance from AE Productions own Mr Fantastic who provides the cuts on RUSSSHHH!!!. Plus, with no plans to release any further collaborations, these tracks are exclusive to this release, which is available on 7” vinyl and digital.

This release marks the return of both to the AE label. Dillon's previous outing on AE was the amazing J-Zone remix of Rap Safari 7" by himself and the late great Paten Locke (RIP) and Tom Caruana produced one of AE's most popular releases, the Age Appropriate album by Oxygen (Click for my review).

The single kicks off with RUSSSHHH!!!, a drum and string fuelled banger that kicks your adrenaline levels up more than few notches. Dillon displays his talent as an emcee by keeping the pace elevated across all three plus minutes of this track. In fact, it takes your breath away just to listen as he delivers bar after bar of similes, metaphors, and intelligent lyrics, mixed with a good dose of bravado as he details exactly why you will get such a rush from listening to his rap style. The pace of Dillon’s vocals is matched perfectly by Tom’s production and Mr Fantastic’s razor sharp cuts, all of which work together like a well-oiled machine.

Let’s Go Back is in total contrast to RUSSSHHH!!!, it is a very laid-back funk vibe of drums, bass and organ sounds that see’s Tom Caruana still get your head nodding. Dillon eases back on the flow and takes us back to Duval County in Florida and some reflection on times gone by. His descriptive lyricism gives us enough information that means we are able to picture this place in our minds as we listen, giving us this real sense of what it is like not just to have grown up there but, to live there too.

What you get with this single, especially if you grab the 7” disc, is a two sides of the same coin vibe or a yin and yang kinda vibe, with two tracks that have totally different pace but, nevertheless still complement each other perfectly.

You get to see just how versatile both Dillon and Tom Caruana are, they give you one straight up banger with dope rap lyrics to get the crowd jumping, then they flip it into a more funked up head nod vibe, that is more chilled but, reflects those real-life stories that are just as captivating as the just for fun club style vibe. What is also immediately apparent here is that they both work so well together. It is simply not enough that these two awesome tracks first catapult you into the atmosphere before bringing you back down to earth but, they also leave you screaming for more…

Let’s face it, these are two very accomplished and respected artists, one and emcee and one a producer, who always bring their A-Game to any project, and this is no exception. This is another AE Productions release that you don’t want to miss and I’m sure it’s one you are gonna hear a lot more of over the summer.

The single also features artwork and design by the one and only Mr Krum, making this a total package from AE Productions.

The single is out now, so be sure to grab your copy while they are out there as they won’t be around for long.

On that note,

I’m outta here, See Ya…



Buy the Limited 7" Vinyl Here:

Get the digital version from Full Plate Here:

Get the digital version from Tea Sea Records Here:

AE Productions Links:

Tom Caruana & Tea Sea Records Links:

Dillon and Full Plate Links:

Friday 2 June 2023

Album Review: Strange Places & Familiar Faces by Max Thomson


Strange Places & Familiar Faces


Max Thomson


Strange Places & Familiar Faces is the latest album from Glastonbury based recording artist Max Thomson. I met Max, through Gfm (Glastonbury FM) community radio, the day before I was due to attend the gig by the Scribes at Glastonbury’s Red Brick Building. Max was due to be support for The Scribes and so I took this opportunity to forward my talents in reviewing his latest album, and after hearing his set and speaking to Jonny Steele, of The Scribes, I’m glad I did.

Before I get into the album lets just get a little insight into just who is Max Thomson:

Max Thomson grew up in Glastonbury, UK and started making music at a young age. To begin with he would beatbox for his friends as they rapped in freestyle cyphers at the local parks. He then turned his focus to understanding that art of lyricism while studying Music tech at college. Since then, he has spent years developing his skills as a singer songwriter, producer & rapper.

Max's style and content is often very deep and thought provoking, with beautiful songs that explore and celebrate the flaws and perfect imperfections of all human beings. He has a big focus on lyrical content but never forgets about the overall sound of the piece of music.

If you want to zone out and let the music wash over you, then a lot of his catalogue
can put you in a euphoric state of peace. But donʼt get it twisted! If you want to get turnt up and party, Max also comes with hard hitting bars and beats that are sure to get you
out of your seat.


The album kicks of with Superman, which has this laid-back drill vibe to it with a chilled drum vibe alongside horns and a xylophone style sound. Listening to this you get this feel that what Max is saying here is that his music is not about the fame and fortune but, it’s about making the music he loves and then bringing that music to the fans and it’s that appreciation by the fans that really makes him like Superman. You might not have superpowers but, the feeling of hearing how much people enjoy that music is what brings the energy that makes you feel like you do have those superpowers. Next up is Familia, this has a more Hip Hop feel to it with heavy drums and this mixed in flute sound that tweaks at your nerves slightly, helping you to focus on the words. From the title you might think that this one is all about family however, the more you listen you realise that this one id focusing on racial inequality and the fact that music, be it Hip Hop or otherwise, does not support racial stereotypes when it comes to the music. It’s all about the music and if you can make that good music then, essentially, although you might not recognise someone immediately, you’re still family by virtue of your mutual love of good music. Acoustic guitar and piano notes lead us into Vice City, when the beat drops it has that drill/trap sound to it. This one really looks into the vice’s that can be a temptation for us as we move through life. Whether you’re looking for a one off good time or something to drown out the pain you see in the world around you, these vice’s can give you that quick buzz or they can put you into an eternal sleep. I guess the real message here is to know what you are getting into, don’t let it become an addiction and don’t give into the demons and let them take from those you love…

After Burn creates this air of smoking that green with its laid-back drums, acoustic guitar and cymbals that seem to swing between genre’s, sometime feeling more like trap and others just carrying the sound. The essence of this one is taking one hit or more just to calm the nerves when experiencing a relationship breakup. Sometimes when we are in a dark place, we retreat into a space to try and make sense and come to terms with a situation, we all do it differently and here we find that individual experience of dealing with those difficult feelings. Strange Places is the albums title track. The track is kind of in two parts, which begins with this calming guitar driven element which is essentially sung by Max in which he briefly details coming to the southwest and what he has come with and has to give. Then this chilled beat drops in with this trap vibe to it, while also being soulful, this forms the backdrop for him to speak more how being here feels, in a strange way, like a familiar place. I guess it’s almost like that Deja-vu feeling you get when you go to a place you’ve never been but, immediately feel you been there before, and you know this is exactly where you need to be in life. With those feelings of high strangeness still floating in our awareness we are greeted by the incredible vocals of Brittney Barber taking us into I Wonder. The guitar vibes and beat have this soulful Hip Hop feel that has a very thoughtful feel to it and that feeling stays with you as you listen and take on-board what is being said. This is all about the struggles in life that we all encounter, those times when we turn our heads to the sky and wonder if it’s all worth it, it feels like a lonely place, and we wonder if anyone can truly hear our calls of desperation. Just the realisation that there are people out there can often be enough to push on through the darkness and make it into the light once more, finding out that someone was listening, a realisation that brings so much…

Cruising stays on that chilled trap sound with the drums more in forefront and backed by some chilled organ notes. This one is all about those times that we have those moments of clarity, understanding what’s going on for us and knowing things need to change. These are the times when we just need to cruise for a while, not thinking too much, just watching for a while as life drifts by in the rear view. Ther doesn’t have to be a destination just a knowing that when we get there, we’ll be exactly where we need to be in life. Organ notes take us into Call Me Crazy before the beat and bass drop in on what is an upbeat funk fuelled sound. That sound works so well here on a track that is all about meeting a special woman who you feel so strongly about you would do anything for her to want to be with you. It’s really just that simple. Drums, bass, and synth vibes create this upbeat sound that has a dash of funk and a twist of soul for Love, Drugs & Music. Now, if you have wondered what an alternative rap love story might sound like, then you need look no further because that is what this on is. The foundation is that it’s a love story but, then there are some distinct tongue-in-cheek elements too that all mix in with the underground street vibe to bring you this alternative look at what the love story of today looks like…

We drift into the final quarter of the album with Oxymoron, which is simple in its complexity and see’s Max drop a track that is littered with more contradiction in terms than you might care to shake a stick at. Also, you see this contradiction in terms within the music, albeit on a more subtle level, as the chilled melodic beat is interspersed with high paced cymbals, creating a musical background that fits perfectly with the subject matter. The penultimate track is Obsessed, which has this soulful hip hop vibe which is created from this mix of drums, keys, and guitars. Here we find Max singing for the entire track as he finds himself obsessed with someone and the track see’s his internal struggle in trying to get the thoughts and feels for this person out of his head, in order to free himself. The last track of the album is Hometown Love (Feat Kate’s Poem) R.I.P Harry. The sound is piano driven with chilled beat over the top creating this sound that makes you want to sit back and reminisce, and that is exactly what Max does here. For Max the hometown is Glastonbury but, we all have a hometown we have memories and thoughts of. This is another song of too halves and the second half of this track is a wonderful memorial poem from Kate that says so much in a way that we can associate with when we think of a good friend we have loved and lost. Can’t think of a more personal and emotive way to end on…


Max Thomson Live at The Red Brick Building Glastonbury 29.04.2023
©S.Rider – Infinite Images 2023

Now, I heard Max live before I heard the album and that makes listening to the album a slightly different experience as more often than not, we always hear the studio recordings before the live sets. So, I went into this review thinking, OK I’ve been impressed by the live set so what can I expect from the studio album?

Honestly, I felt that Strange Places & Familiar Faces was such an impressive and enjoyable album overall and just goes to show how long you can live in a place without always discovering the true wealth of musical talent it has to offer. Musically, it mixes things up with a majority of the sound being based in the realms of the more modern rap sound but, it also incorporates elements of other genres and sound while retaining that grip on a foundation of Hip Hop. This all adds up to a multi-genre sound that will appeal to a wide range of audiences the world over. I know that sound is not going to appeal to everyone though, but no single form of music always does have that appeal and so if you base you decision on the sound alone, then you are missing one fundamental aspect, which is the vocal talent of Max Thomson.

As a rapper/vocalist Max has got some skills, you have to be honest here. He switches in up in terms of his range of flows and in his styles of rap, and at the same time this guy can harmonise and sing at the same time. So, as an underground artist he has this range that means he can switch things about and create a sound that is easily enjoyable across a wide range of genres. This means that you can listen to this album and think to yourself that you’re not keen on that element of the sound but, it doesn’t matter because everything works well here and keeps you listening and focusing on Max’s wordplay and the content of what he is saying. He also incorporates some fun parts alongside more personal and emotive elements, this sometimes keeps you guessing as to what’s what, which is ultimately a huge part of what grabs your attention.

For me Max Thomson has been one of Glastonbury’s best kept secrets and one that I am now glad I have become aware of, and I’d like to suggest that you do the same. Firstly, check out Strange Places & Familiar Faces, of course, and that check out his other work, and then be sure to catch him live too as he is cracking live and a really nice bloke too.

I’d like to personally thank Max for giving me the album to review and for the bio I have included above in italics. I look forward to seeing more of him once I get started at Gfm (soon to become GWS Radio) in Glastonbury.

Strange Places & Familiar Faces is out now on digital, streaming and there are also some physical CD’s available too, you might need to contact Max direct or pop into Rogues Gallery in Glastonbury who have a limited number of copies available.

On that note,

Time for me to be out,

See Ya.



Get Strange Places & Familiar Faces from Bandcamp Here:

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I Wonder ft Brittney Barber

Vice City

After Burn