Around this time last year I was huddled in a Cardiff bedsit with no heating and no computer to further my incessant search for new music; without my CD of Evi Denz instrumentals I burnt at work, I would’ve been drumming on my broken Cash Generator turntable just so I didn’t lose my mind from a lack of beats in my life. Now that things are looking up; It’s nice to be able to repay the favour and feature the dedicated London DJ’s latest collaborative release, Change Of Pace. As a solo beatmaker and one third of London-based production crew T.A.G Team with long-time collaborators Inspecta Morze & Luko; Evi Denz delves deep into the boom and the bap, using his MPC 500 to assemble countless hours of highly creative head-nodders; and although this seven track collaboration with Essenchill Records co-founder and talented MC Ed Rowe was recorded back in 2011, it’s only recently seen the light of day via bandcamp.
Skill Infinite is a breakneck romp through raw cuts and jazzy loops crowned with top class MC’ing from Rowe, as he flows out of control with lyrics born out of reverence for the culture; ‘Ed be going ape on the drums like a gorilla kick, primal, injecting the needle into the vinyl, it’s deeper than addiction, Hip Hop is our survival’. Since it’s first incarnation as ‘WHATUKNOW’ on Denz’ mammoth 2012 beat collection ‘Project Hip Hop UK’; this stand-out track finds it’s slamming soul samples re-birthed as Mental.Innoculation.Canal to back Rowe’s dexterous dedication to the craft of writing. The fast-paced rhymes relax as Continuity mellows the vibe with another ill verse from the Atlanta-based MC, and Denz digs deep in his crates, unearthing funky guitar loops, bright horns and clean snares.
The title track ensures the chilled beats stay banging as lazy piano lines lurk under uplifting strings and Ed Rowe’s furiously fast penmanship boils with his passion for rhyming, with Evi Denz providing some cuts that bring the essence of NY beatmaking back to the forefront. One of the producer’s more subtle beats, Distinctly Unorthodox blends chilled vocal samples with well-placed guitar accents to allow Rowe’s lines to benefit from a slower delivery, every line beginning with a quotable opener; ‘The therapeutic, too nuts to be a eunuch, I do the music, more flags of terror than at the Olympics in Munich.’ The versatility of the production shines on Targets, providing some the album’s best lines as Rowe reclines to the laidback groove; ‘What does it profit your soul, to sell it for some platinum and gold, yea it may turn your pockets green, but that’s probably your mold.’ Luko’s soulful remix of Distinctly Unorthodox closes the tape with plenty of shuffling hi-hat patterns and rolling kicks that magnetize to the words.
Even though this project is teasingly short; it’s a quiet, humble reminder that Hip Hop will always be alive and well in the hands of it’s dedicated practitioners. After obviously spending hours in bedrooms building towards a better overstanding of their craft, and with a clear effort to replace the focus on cash and ego with simply releasing good music to share the love; there’s no doubt these two talented men deserve that love sent right back at them, and are both destined to drop more rap-related dopeness in the near future.
Get the EP for free here.
His live sessions and beat making videos on his youtube channel are worth checking out too.