Friday 23 February 2024

Album Review: Love And Honour Pt 1 by Decksterror


Love and Honour Pt. 1




The last time that I featured the work of g-man (Decksterror Prod.) was way back in 2021 with his production on Mattanza by COSM. Recently he signed to Hidden Hobby Records, the new label created by Montener The Menace, and his debut release on the label is Love and Honour Pt 1.

To help this release really showcase his production talents, g-man has drafted in some top artists as well, including Hus Kingpin (USA), COSM, C.o.N_Vers, Ill Sykes, King Kakarot and Ash The Author, alongside Jabbathakut on cuts. Now, with a line-up like this you can bet that this six-track album is gonna bang, so let’s get straight into it…


Proceedings kick off with Tom Clancy, a heavy head nod sound with pulse pounding drums, organ notes and horns, to fire up your adrenaline levels right out the gate. C.o.N_Vers provides the vocals here as he uses the analogy of the infamous American writer to show that writing rhymes and novels are not that far apart. The rhymes that rap artists use are often intricate and use a variety of flows and styles, just as a writer will display intricate plot twists and flows of pace to fit the story line. Just as the soundbite at the end explains, it can often be easier to display you craft to the listener or reader than it is to explain how you do it, something I can associate with as a writer. Next up we have the album’s title track Love and Honour, which features Hus Kingpin, COSM and C.o.N_Vers. The intro has motorcycles sounds and elements from Kill Bill while g-man soundscape has a vibe of the movie soundtrack with the heavy drums and guitars tacking the forefront on this one. First impressions are that this one is a platform to display the vocal talents of these three accomplished MC’s but, the more you listen, the more you realise that each verse has this story to it that, like the plot of some Hollywood movie, shows the things one might do for love and for honour. Ash The Author and Jabbathakut join g-man on The Invisible Man; where the drums are mixed with electronic elements and cuts to give you the kind of vibe that takes you into a weird sci-fi universe where nothing is what it seems. Ash The Author takes us on a journey as the invisible one, twisting the tale this way and that; even having us question if he exists in reality or just as part of a digital existence in the machine.

Halfway through the album and its time to Move Back as King Kakarot steps up while g-man brings more pounding drums, backed by electronic elements and heavy horns, the kung-fu movie sound bites have you looking over your shoulder for what’s about to come. As you listen it becomes clear it is only the wack rappers that need to be looking over their shoulders as King Kakarot unloads his frustrations on those rappers who have no love for the music and who care only the image it gives them, or those safe rappers who never speak on the real-life subjects. Here its all about not being afraid to be yourself and stand up for something, to speak from the heart and with heart. Running For The Shade sees C.o.N_Vers join g-man for one more track. The drums still pound, while strings and other elements give this a lighter, more uplifting sound. There is also an uplifting message within the words here too; you get the sense that what C.o.N_Vers is saying is that people are so used to the darkness in society and the world around them, that when the good times and the light finally breaks through, they are often still running to take shade from it as they are afraid to be in the light but, you just have remember that the light is something to welcome and not to fear. The final track of the album is Dark Speed which features Ill Sykes on vocals with g-man crafting one final beat that seams to be an audible reflection of the name Decksterror, with heavy raw drums and strings bring the kind of sound that stretches your every nerve to breaking point. Ill Sykes brings an equally raw rhyme style that pulls no punches, moving from the darkness with speed he hits you with words from every angle with an unrelenting salvo that leaves you wondering if you’ll ever be the same…


Lets be real here for a moment, if you are going to sign to a fledgling label (regardless of who set it up) then you what you first release to be a statement, a shot across the bow of others, one that shows exactly what you are all about and what to expect moving forward; and that is exactly what g-man does here, he openly displays the quality of his production and how good a stage it sets can set up for any emcee out there. Bringing in some of the UK’s brightest talent and a rising talent from the US (all of whom are on fire here, by the way) shows that he has the capability to work with anyone as his work here shows the producer compliments the rapper and likewise.

First impressions here show that g-man has a sound that is boom bap Hip Hop on a hardcore vibe but, on reflection, you realise that its all about that boom bap Hip Hop sound and bringing a sound that has vibrant energy, one that will really catch the attention of the listener and leave them with a lasting impression, long after album is done. I have been lucky enough to review g-man’s Decksterror production before and so I know this guy is making huge waves out there but, if this is your first time listening to his work then, I am sure you will agree with everything I say.

Overall, Love and Honour Pt 1 is a solid album that gives you a heavy dose of pulse pounding, head nodding Hip Hop, that is likely to receive some heavy rotation in the coming weeks. It displays the craft of one of the UKs premier Hip Hop producers and shows that Hidden Hobby Records is well on the way to becoming a force to be reckoned with on the underground Hip Hop scene. Honestly, there just isn’t anything not to like about this one, trust me.

My thanks to Montener The Menace for the chance to review this one and it’s out today too.

On that note,

I’m out.



Get the album from Hidden Hobby Records Bandcamp Here:

Your links to all things Decksterror related:


Love and Honour

Friday 9 February 2024

Album Review: Bullets In The Chamber by Arrested Development


Bullets In The Chamber


Arrested Development

Produced by Configa


Following on from Don’t Fight Your Demons (2020) and For The FKN Love (2021), Arrested Development have once more teamed with UK Super-producer Configa for their latest album Bullets In The Chamber (who also serves as Co-Executive Producer for Configuration Records alongside Speech for Vagabond Productions), which was released on January 12th this year.

As with the previous two albums, Bullets In The Chamber also has an impressive line-up of guest artists and producers, alongside AD The Band and Configa. Guest artists include Rass Kas, DoitAll Dupree (Lords of the Underground), Canibus, Diana King, SkyZoo, MRK SK, Twan Mack, Chuck D, Grandmaster Caz, O’Hene Savant, Sa Roc, Flavia Coelho and special appearances from original AD members Montsho Eshe and Rasa Don. Additional production comes from Will Montgomery, Sol Messiah, Mistact and Fenix.

Now, with all that said, if you are not already oozing with anticipation, then it will help to know that this is a double album with the original Bullets In The Chamber (17 Tracks) and Round Two (4 Tracks), all of which culminates in a huge release firing twenty-one shots (20 joints and 1 remix) of Hip Hop musical dopeness, that is sure to have our minds buzzing as much as our ears...

So, let’s not wait any longer but, press play and unleash those Bullets In The Chamber


Opening with Hello, produced by Configa and featuring 1 Love and Ras Kass, this one hits with an uplifting party vibe sound but, this is a party vibe with depth and attitude. The drums take the forefront here but, there is that multi-layered sound that Configa always brings. Speech, 1 Love and Rass Kas really set the tone for what’s to come, there is much here about celebrating the music and the contribution of AD to Hip Hop. While welcoming the fans to this third album with Configa there is also a hint that this might also be the last album from AD. Now that we are all fired up Configa keeps the energy going with an infectious sound of drums, horns, bass, and soulful background vocals, which has a rawness with a funky edge that keeps your head nodding. Classy sees Rasa Don provide a reggae infused chorus while Speech brings the spotlight to those peoples who struggle under a veil of oppression, both in America and around the world. The more you listen, the more the track takes on the feeling of an anthem for those peoples. Will Montgomery takes over production duties for Overachiever, where horns take the forefront alongside the drums and bass, bringing a deep funk vibe to the sound. Montsho Eshe features on the chorus bringing a soulful edge as Speech celebrates everything that Arrested Development is, a multi-talented group that spans decades within Hip Hop and music in general, achieving everything they set out to do and much more.

Crowd Surf finds Speech joined by DoItAll, 1 Love, Fareedah and Dee Wiz, while Configa comes with an energetic head-nod vibe of pumping drums, bass, horns, and cuts. This one will really have you bouncing around without a care in the world, wanting to surf the crowd as AD celebrates and brings the energy of the live shows into this track, and if you have ever been to an AD show or Hip Hop show, you’ll know the feeling. There is a deeper vibe to the sound Configa brings on Hour Glass, the sound is undoubtedly Hip Hop but, there is this unconscious heartfelt aura to it. Speech, alongside CanIbus, SkyZoo and Diana King on the chorus, bring some deep verses with emotion that reflect the real-world experiences that form the individual grains of sand that fall through the hour glass, combining to create our life experiences, our memories, and shaping who we are as individuals. Horns and Drums form the main elements of the production from Will Montgomery on Still Fired Up. Speech is joined by Montsho-Eshe on the chorus here as the track gets you moving while still speaking to you on many levels. This one reflects back to 1992 and AD’s first Album, 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days In The Life of… showing that AD is still here, still bringing focus to subjects that matter and still calling for a revolution, just like this is a part two to Raining Revolution from that original album; they are still calling for peace too.

And This I Know features MRK SX and Twan Mack alongside Speech while Sol Messiah handles production, bringing a more laid-back emotive vibe but, still with those pounding drums. The focus of this one touches on some troubling subjects such as gun violence, exploitation, white supremacy and more but, at the same time, with all of these dark issues we witness, there is also a lot of good things to see and be thankful for. This track is all about those things that you know for sure, just speaking real truths. Configa is back on production with For Free as he brings a pounding beat with organ and string elements that creates a sound that you nod to but, also makes you focus on the lyrics from Speech and April So Lyrical. The message here is that, as humans, we are the ones who created the issues we face, we have made ourselves separate from nature, and we are the ones who have created a society where money is rated above all else, making us pay for things that nature has provided for us already for free, we just have to live in harmony with it. With that thought of the society humans have created, We Want This (To Be Ruled) continues this thought process. Speech is joined by Kamonzi for a joint that looks at how we, as humans, are responsible for this way in which we live, we have created being ruled and controlled, humans created the social standings and inequality that we see around us, and there is only one way we can truly find freedom, which for us to all stand together and say that we no longer want this. Configa brings a pounding boom bap beat with drums, organ notes and bass at the forefront, creating a sound which gets you animated, bouncing, and throwing your fist in the air for freedom.

Ride finds Configa bringing an uplifting beat with drums and piano vibes with soulful background vocals, this creates a summertime sound that raises your mood a few notches. Speech reflects that uplifting sound with lyrics that speak on things that are important to him, from womens rights to Hip Hop and just having fun, this one encompasses those things and so much more while bringing warmth throughout your body. Next, we move to a track that can only be described as an anthem as Speech is joined by Chuck D (Public Enemy) and Grandmaster Caz (Cold Crush Brothers) for Hip Hop Saves Lives. Configa provides a slamming beat with strings that merges that boom bap sound with an emotive energy that lifts you up. Speech, Chuck, and Caz speak on how corporate and white supremacy has sought to take over the music, trying to take it away from its roots and use it to make money but, Hip Hop is more than those entities can ever understand, and this joint celebrates that, the pioneers of the culture, AD’s contribution and peace within Hip Hop. More than just an anthem, this track stands for true Hip Hop and those who still hold that foundation true. Arrogance has sparce drums and other percussion which gives this a more native sound which allows the lyrics to take the forefront. Speech, O’hene Savant and Montsho-Eshe drop a freestyle type joint that looks at the arrogance of people, the music industry and more. This is one will get your mind working in many ways as the lyrics are impressed on your awareness.

Ain’t Got Much To Say No More sees Configa drop a solid head-nod beat of drums, bass and keys that has a light-hearted sound. Speech takes a look at those internet critics who chose to talk loud from behind their keyboards, screens and avatars, while they don’t have much to say; well, nothing that carries any weight or has any real validity. They are the type of people who would never stand up and talk that stuff to your face either. Fire has been two or three years in production and was originally written during the U.S. Riots following what happened to George Floyd (R.I.P.). Here, Speech speaks on the dangers of ignoring inequality and injustice (in its many forms). When you chose to ignore or even perpetrate many injustices, you light the touchpaper that burns brightly until it ignites the fire in the hearts of the many who will then stand, united for justice and freedom. Configa brings a slamming beat of banging drums, guitars and horns that helps fuel the fire inside your body alongside the fire in the lyrics from Speech. That message continues with The Meek, produced by Fenix, the sound is a head-nodder and created from drums and guitar vibes. Speech looks at what is happening within the U.S. How wealth, injustice and inequality is the disease that is eroding the foundations of the country. The message here comes from the biblical scriptures of how the meek will inherit the earth but, here it is the meek that stand to inherit the country as America crumbles from a once great Nation, allowing greed to take over.

Turn The Speakers Up, produced by Configa, has an infectious sound of drums and keys that, once more, has an uplifting vibe. Speech and 1 Love look at all that is going on in the world today and invite us to turn the speakers up real loud, this will allow the music to be more in our awareness and bringing it’s healing qualities and message directly into our minds. Let music be the source of your information and not the media. God Bless You is produced by Sol Messiah and has an instant posse vibe about it as Speech is joined by Sa-Roc, April So Lyrical and 1 Love (with some extra keys from Michael Williams) but, it’s less of a posse vibe and more of a collective, standing together to bring one message. That message is like an olive branch being extended to all, despite there being a lot of sin, pain and suffering in the world. 1 Love, in particular speaks with passion and venom here on injustice and inequality he sees around him but, the real message here is that there is a way out of all this negativity and we have to remember that we are all blessed in one way, regardless of how you look at it, you are blessed be it by God, the universe, however, you see it in your own beliefs, you are loved and if everyone truly saw that, the world would be a different place.

At this point we have reached the end of Bullets In The Chamber, as it was released, now we move to Round 2, an EP with 4 tracks (3 additional tracks and a remix) that completes the Bullets In The Chamber double album. Round 2 was actually released first but, now when see the digital and streaming releases, they are all together in one complete album…

Round 2 begins with Mine, featuring Brazilian artist Flavia Coelho, Configa us a head-nod beat with electronic vibes that has a real uplifting sound. The chorus is inspired by Tracy Chapman and the track itself is playful with many double-entendres that will make you smile and just have a good time enjoying the lyrics. Now you might not understand the verse from Flavia but, it still brings that fun vibe with it, which is the real message here; do what you got to do but, have fun doing it. Grateful is next and Configa has a funky vibe for us with banging drums, bass, cuts, and funk guitar vibes, I really challenge you not to groove to this. Speech and 1 Love take us through all the things that they are grateful for in life, from a true story about white privilege and the difference between white and black lives to your own journey and sharing it with your wife. There is much here you can feel and that can be associated with in your own life, you just have to realise what you are grateful for and have been grateful for but, also think of how that affects others too. It Couldn’t Be is the penultimate track but is also the last track of the album, with the final track being a remix. Production comes from Mistract and sees Piano, and strings take the forefront over the drumbeat, bringing a chilled reflective air to the track. Here we find Speech looking back over shows and particularly important events in life and how these things help us see past the darkness, seeing what is truly special in our lives. The album ends with the Arrogance (Jahah Remix) the message of the original is not lost here but, the sound has a solid drum beat which is heavy with double bass, creating another infectious sound that is the perfect way to take you out of the album.


After listening to the album top to bottom and fully taking it all in I can see how some have this on their best of the year lists already. Everything about this album is just incredible, it flows at a great pace keeping the listener engaged at every turn. The mix of vibes throughout the album is almost lost by the sheer enjoyment value but, don’t be fooled because alongside that enjoyment value, this is grown-up Hip Hop where the fun and good times does not loose sight of the important subjects that are a part of our everyday lives. Arrested Development does what they always do, using Hip Hop music to bring your awareness to both sides of the coin and you can’t listen to the album without coming away without a sense that there is still so much to do in this world if we are ever to get anywhere near peace and unity, and it has to start with changes at the most fundamental levels by leaving greed behind.

Let’s take a look at the album from a musical point of view. This is an album entwined in the roots of real Hip Hop music from a group who have achieved much within the music industry by speaking out on subjects that matter. Arrested Development still bring a great balance of real-world problems to bear while entertaining you all the way. Speech and 1 Love show the calibre of their rap skills here by mixing up the flows and styles to perfectly convey the emotive nature of the messages they deliver. Fareedah and April So Lyrical, bring the soulful backing vocals to just bring that much needed touching quality to the sound. The use of live instruments from the band really serves to enhance the sound that is brought predominantly by Configa along with Will Montgomery, Sol Messiah, Mistact and Fenix.

The production here is all top quality with the producers all bringing their own unique stamps to the sound. Configa, being the main producer on the album, once more brings such an amazing sound, proving that he is not just one of the best producers out of the UK but, one of the best Hip Hop producers out there right now. This takes nothing away from any of the other producers who all bring amazing sounds.

I have said so much about Bullets In The Chamber already but, I couldn’t wrap this up with out mentioning the amazing guest artists on this one. Bringing in the calibre of Chuck D, Grandmaster Caz, CanIbus, Rass Kas, Skyzoo, and others, alongside original members Montsho Eshe and Rasa Don, not only adds the icing to the cake but also takes it to the next level, what more do I need to say, these are some masterful choices.

Overall, Bullets In The Chamber is a Hip Hop album that keeps its roots in the foundations of the culture while having a conscious edge that speaks on so many levels. The enjoyment factor of the album is second to none and will leave you almost breathless but, at the same time wanting more. This is Arrested Development at their very best, standing up for those who need a voice and ultimately standing up for peace.

There is one last thing I would like to add here. In putting down my thoughts and feelings on this album, it was invaluable to have the short insights available from Speech himself, which he put into individual videos. These helped me in knowing that my insights were close to how he saw each track and it also gave me some much needed background for the review. I am also very grateful to Configa who helped me to get the album and its press pack, without which there would be no review.

My advice is simple, just listen to this one because it’s truly not easy to convey just how good it is, you need to hear it.

My humble thanks to Configa, Speech and the entire Arrested Development band for giving me the chance to once more do a deep dive and put down my feelings on this album and the two previous albums as well. It has been something special for me to be able to review these works of art, I have always been a fan of their music and have respected Speech and all that AD stands for, and I have always felt that their music touched you on a deep level and if this is to be their last album, then what a legacy they will leave, one that will continue to speak to the listener for as long as these words need to be said.

Time for me to be out,

One Love People,



The One link for all things Arrested Development and Speech:

Get Bullets In The Chamber on Bandcamp Here:

The One link for all things Configa Here:



Hip Hop Saves Lives (ft Chuck D and Grandmaster Caz)