Covertly treading the line between Lewis Parker’s golden sound and Piero Piccioni’s mafioso breaks, this new release from PhybaOptikz is a stealthy sojourn told through a slew of underworld crime sagas. Each tune boasts dramatic bars from the London emcee that vividly scripts entertaining scenes as he and his Crate Divizion cohorts evade the law in getaway cars, dump their enemies in rubbish bins and shift major weight from overseas. The production from Giallo Point and Vic Grimes filters the shadowy underworld of seventies exploitation cinema through their samplers to emerge with a chilled but often ominous tone; lending the project a distinct sense of urgency that simmers under a cool outward demeanour like the seasoned criminals they conjure.
From the smooth horns and harps that begin Assignment, to the athletic snares and mellow keys that close Diamonds, the LP is a massively immersive listen that comes as a welcome break from the norm. PhybaOptik’z rhymes twist and turn as his intricate tales unwind; on Snatch he hoards dope adjectives like there’s about to be a word drought, and the proficiency he displays for characterization on Hitman takes his wordplay to a whole new level with razor-sharp observations delivered with a light touch, all the while sounding as if he’s got one eye on the rhymepad and one on the exit; creating the Hip Hop equivalent of De Niro’s diner speech in Heat. This crew of crate diggers and espionage aficionados have crafted a hugely promising start on Tales Of Danger, marking themselves as ones to watch over the coming months.