Do you have that mate that told you Tinie Tempah & Tinchy were doing big things for the UK scene as if the underground didn’t exist? That tells you ‘Nah mate, Dappy’s got some sick bars if you listen close’? Casually play him Drug Corpse and help that man begin a boom bap 12 step programme to rehabilitate those wayward tastes. Ill Move Sporadic have that quintessential UK underground sound down to an art; with no restrictions on genre they sample, style of beat they make, or content the guest MCs cover they keep the album a varied and engaging listen throughout its 17 tracks. Their skill for pairing each MC perfectly to the rhythm they’re rhyming on is without a doubt one of the album’s strongest assets, and they sidestep stagnation with ease by never staying within the same style for too long. The production duo consists of long-time friends Ben 81 & One Boss. Hailing from South West London, the pair have been sampling and diggin’ for years; and with this prime selection of MCs featuring over their latest set of inventive instrumentals they further establish their name as a synonym for quality beat making.
Efeks deserves that opening slot; he’s been one of the most talented MC’s in the country for years; made some thoroughly dope albums as a member of Prose, and recently released his best work to date with Contemporary Classic, an LP that does exactly what it says on the tin. On Facedown his steadfast flow feeds off the rowdy beat and starts the album with a certified banger, ending another year of rap conquest for the MC. Tenchoo & Joey Menza verbally spar over one of the album’s best beats on Recitals Of Pain. A much grimier feel than the opener, the vibe is matched in content as Tenchoo’s sixteen challenges the control system’s status quo then speaks on music industry tribulations; “In an industry feeling like you’re armed with a shank in a one-on-one with a Somalian tank, seriously, it’s all jarrin me fam, now everyone and their marge is spittin bars on a cam”. The beat itself grimly clunks and marauds through the track, making listening like wading through a thick swamp while the two MCs fire darts at your head with agility and accuracy. An album highlight for sure, and another concrete building block that creates the album’s unshakeable foundation.
Cappo has been on top this year. No doubt there’s only more good things to come from Nottingham’s finest in 2014, but for now he ensures that he finishes 2013 strong on No Way About It; with cast-iron lines that pull no punches, and are as accomplished as they are confrontational. Overload lifts the tone of the album with Gee Bag’s relaxed flow and cocky chorus hook; it’s a nice break after the heavyness of the last few tracks, and with so much steez in the lyrics and bold swing in the beat the song continues the duo’s ability to define musical borders then break them immediately with the concurrent track. Sound Of Pain had me interested in the album as soon as I heard Omar Teknology flow. His approach is definitive of the group’s name, as his unorthodox delivery flows over the brash beat like water over rocks. Lyrically I don’t know what he’s on about 85% of the time, but when he sounds that effortlessly cool and confident with his rhymes, it hardly matters, Omar’s definitely one to watch out for next year.
If your imaginary mate I thought up in the intro is still unconvinced by this point, Drastic Blows will be sure to have him creating a Suspect Packages account, gripping a mic and rhyming ‘Dappy’s broke, like his jaws’ with ‘Happy slapped by a horse’ in no time. It’s one of the nicest UK Hip Hop tracks I’ve heard this year. Anyone who’s been following the scene knows Theme has been a real solid element over the last few years; his bars are always on point and he flips between quick and slow flows with an ease; penning a chorus that’s memorable yet brings the rawness like Klash’s Parrowdice hook. Joey Menza’s second feature on the album returns as strong as his first on Finish This; his rhymes are more intricate than before and his wordplay has stepped up a notch too despite it’s lack of immediately identifiable content. The beat is one of those satisfying arrangements where you can virtually hear the air between each pad being pressed; the sample’s imperfections make the song the enjoyably rough ride that it is and catching that bell at start of each chop was some flawless technique. Cor Stidak wasn’t a name that was on my radar this time last week; now he’s at the top of my list of MCs to keep checking for. His performance on Enter The Winter is one of the best on the album; frankly the guy just smashes it for Two minutes straight then breezes off without warning. After echoing ODB in the intro to acknowledge the heritage of the song’s title he gets down to business, rhyming as many syllables as possible per bar with a style that balances an aggressive attack with clever wordplay. He nearly fucked me up too; cuz as he said the ‘gargling sperm’ line I was drinking the milk from my cereal bowl, not cool Stidak.
Triplets brings some fresh ideas to the table as IMS easily leap a hurdle that catches average producers, and manage to remain an interesting prospect even 13 songs into this impressive LP. The song switches melody for each new MC as More1, Oliver Sudden and Joey Menza all go in; but the highlight for me has to be the vocal interlude towards the end; admittedly I’m a sucka for old soul samples though, so if that sample was the whole track with the MCs goin off over it I would’ve been in Hip Hop heaven. Things get slightly off track with the second Theme song not delivering as much as his first; but TPS Fam bring the album right back on course with some bulletproof British bars over the classic boom bap breaks of Written Maddness, leaving Omar Teknology to round things off with some dark shit straight from his erratic scatterbrain and some interesting vocal patterns on Bruiser. It’s clear Drug Corpse was made by, and for, heads that love UK Hip Hop; with nothing but love for the culture, and pure artistry from each contributor. Whether you’re chillin at home, zonin’ with a J, or gearing up on pre drinks for that obligatory filthy Xmas binge to embrace the season’s Saturnalian roots; this album needs to be on your playlist. Loud.
Go get the album digitally here for a measly fiver; or if you’re rocking the Radio Raheem look this Christmas, get the cassette and cd bundle for only a few pound extra.