Diggin in the crates

20 April 06 words: Jesse Keene
New releases from Dealmaker Records, Eighteen18, Maseo, Lushlife, Asaviour and Inja

The departure Lounge on LeftLionThe Departure Lounge
Various Artists (Dealmaker Records)

You are greeted to the Dept Lounge by an announcement that some of the artists on the album wear baggy jeans but don’t carry guns... which is comforting to know to say the least!!!. The album itself is a compilation of the rather underated midlands up & coming talent. Featuring the likes of Karizma, Lost Projects, Foz, C.O.L.D, Sophie Johnson Hill, The Scicarios and Non-Thespian to name but a few. It endeavours to bring a new slant on what UK hip-hop has to offer by infusing live instrumentation with Mc’s and singers delivering a smooth yet compelling ride from start to finish. Tom Colvert starts the proceedings with “Dynamic Force”, a sublime and rolling instrumental which evokes thoughts of jazz infused lounge lizards. Rolling on further through the Lp you are treated to an exclusive freestyle set incorporating 6 mc’s and Foz on the beatbox all mixed in with live bass and trumpet. As promised in the intro this is something different and that is definitely apparent. There is something for anyone here, from the laid back to the rough and rugged yet it all fits like a puzzle to create the big picture, Pure musical class….. 7/10

Maseo: Plug Three
MP3 Classics Volume 1.0 (Bear Mountain Entertainment)

Ok hands up who has not heard of De La Soul… Dude, put yer hand down!!!. This is Hip-Hop lesson 1.0 brought to us by the one and only Plug Three. Consisting of a mix of 90’s classics mixed with 70’s trend setting bands this mix throws open the flood gates of a decade past and beyond featuring well known tunes from Das FX, Mobb Deep, Redman, Slick Rick, Midnight Starr & Marvin Gaye and, trust me, that is just a few of the artists featured. It delivers a slice of live turntable knowledge but don’t expect no Q-Bert business on this, it’s strictly for the vibe taking you through to the days of the NYC tunnel partys. Maseo gives his Funk Master Flex bit by biggin up the mix but it does not hinder proceedings. The downside is there is nothing new here and if you are looking for something with a fresh edge then look further than this, but for the reminiscent among us this is perfect for taking you back….. A slice of history to be sure… 5/10

Eighteen18 on LeftLionEighteen18
Body Armour (Northbridge)
Welcome to the twisted world of 1818. Mc Lexis Salinger and producer Adee throw you in to a realm where rhymes are hard and somewhat disturbing and the beats bounce, glide, squelch and jiggle like a lap dancer parlour. There is a wide range of tracks on this Lp and it all starts out promisingly. A heavy drum pattern kicks in while lexis spits the intro then it’s on to the main core of the album “these knives are words” sticks out (Excuse the pun) as a dark moody tune which drums along with the sound of battle rhymes spewing forth. Then flip it back to “Ruths Song” noticeable due to the sheer fact that it seems to have no place lyrically or musically within the album but fits perfectly combining a tale of lost love and support over a quite sublime piano driven beat. These are just 2 examples of what to expect and to be honest until you have got your ears round this you won’t properly understand… Heavy Business for your attention…. 7/10

Order of Operations (Scenario)

Cast your minds back a few months or so. Lushlife is the man behind Kanye West meets the Beach boys, initially that project was designed to throw his name out there to give weight to this follow up LP release. And it’s a fair offering from this Mc/Producer combining a good range of fat beats and lyrical flows it sits on the same bench as the Jurassic 5 and Ya’ll So Stupid, serving up Hip-hop that does not ram itself down your throat but instead has you thinking of summer days and leaving the house without 3 layers and a set of gloves on. It also boasts the use of hardly any guests appearances, only J-Sands of the Lone Catalysts spring to mind which shows that Lushlife has the ability to hold the project up by himself. In some senses a brave move, it definitely does the album justice in this case. If you’re looking for something pleasing to rhythm and calming to some degree to the soul then this is a venture worth undertaking…. 6/10

Asaviour on LeftLionAsaviour
Borrowed Ladder (Low Life)

Long time Jehst collaborator Asaviour hits us up with this debut album and it’s a corker. Featuring the likely suspects from the Low Life stables namely Braintax and of course Jehst he has also brought along Micall Parkinsun, Kyza, Young Gun and the one and only Tommy Evans. It’s a heavy line up for a well thought out album which is a pleasure to listen to, not necessarily a banger with every tune it combines to give you an overall picture of what this artist is all about. The title track “Borrowed Ladder” caught my attention right at the end as it closed the album perfectly with a rolling drum pattern similar, if I dare say, to early Dj Shadow material whilst Asaviour rolls over the beat like waves rolling the ocean. A proper album which deserves your attention and I’m sure if you’re a sucker for LowLlife it undoubtedly will. Though if you stand on the fringes it still should grab your attention, go borrow the ladder today (And I ain’t talking download)… Class 7/10

Scars E.P (Inja Nu Records)

Some will be aware of Inja’s rise on the UK scene. He has appeared on Disorda’s UK Hustlerz, The Return compilation and has been touted as one to watch for 06. What he delivers on this E.P is a competent piece of Hip-Hop, which showcases his diversity within his lyrical content and delivery. Take the title track produced by Nappa of Phi-Life “Scars” ft Mr Thing is a savage assault on the mic with the aforementioned thing supplying the cuts like a prescion surgeon. It’s a great opener and lines you up nicely for tracks featuring TaskForce, Delegates of Culture & The Foreign Beggers. All in all a top E.P laced with the essential ingredients for the Hiphop head…. 6/10

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