Phili N Dotz : Phil N The Dotz

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Si Phili and Dom Dotz are killin it right now, their work together has been solid since they linked over a year ago; but with this first full-length collab they’ve surpassed all expectations; releasing a relentless barrage of lyricism over beats from Britain’s most sought after producers. Passion Hifi’s huge beat begins Travel The Globe, with a memorable hook and an elevated word-rate. It’s no secret Si Phili has been prolific with his penmanship since he first burst onto the British rap scene, but since The Country Bumpkin’s Drunk Singing Skunk Binge, Dotz has raised his game to levels unattainable without serious work, and deserves respect for the hours he’s clearly put into his craft. We Stay bangs with a rowdy beat from Leaf Dog, inciting riotous bars from both MC’s, with Phili flowing especially slick; ‘Snatch ya medallion, with just the force of my flow, the sick spitter comin’ colder than a corpse in the snow.’

Pete Cannon brings the party vibe on Oh No, which quickly dissolves into horrorcore wordplay from the pair on Verbal Dissection; as Bad Habitz crafts a tense instrumental. Cystic’s mellow vocal chops back Flo’s haunting melodies alongside more furiously determined bars from Dotz on Inner Demons; before Blak Twang joins Phoenix Da Icefire to both destroy their verses on Lyrical Gun Slingers. Passion Hifi’s Parliament synths miss the mark on the G-funk influenced Get Back; but Cystic’s chilled accordion loops reset the course on Rise Of The Sceptic, as Dotz juxtaposes western complacency with world struggle; ‘selfies in the mirror tell a lot about your vanity, with money for a bottle, not a penny for a charity’. Leaf Dog’s rhymes stack clever metaphor over hazy horn loops on Let Ya Mind Breathe; whilst Pete Cannon’s  psychedelic sitar samples wind around clanging bells blessed by breakneck bars on War Dance; before the album’s second single Training For battle Rap brings in the LP’s final stretch with a display of lyrical dexterity that had me rewinding to catch it all.

Passion Hifi drops a dynamic beat for The Rhyme Assignment‘s stern tones, while Phili’s political roots shine through his dissident lyricism on Fuck The Government; and Illest Rocks stands out for it’s top-class features. Dotz spits ‘iller than six million kilowatts’, Verb T encompasses esoteric ideas as easily as he offers elegant metaphor; Klashnekoff scripts another flawless verse that reminds of his razor-sharp darts on his essential Sagas Of début, Wordsmiff pulls no punches, and Leaf Dog ends this epic with vivid simile’s. As Golden Fingers plays the album out with honest parting words from PND; there’s no denying this début alliance between two of the UK battle scene’s strongest voices has held it down for the whole country. For fans already up on the  British music scene Phil N The Dotz is what you’ve been waiting for. If anyone you know isn’t into UK Hip Hop, send them a copy asap after buying two for yourself.

The album comes out May 31st, pre-order it here.

5/5

Peace.

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High Focus 4th Birthday

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Is this you? Are you bored? Did your exciting plans for the weekend drift away like a fart on a breeze, leaving you feeling low and distracted? High Focus can remedy that; as this Friday they’ve assembled UK Hip Hop’s finest, taking their yearly wreck up to new hedonistic heights by expanding their line-up, and finding an even larger stage to destroy at London’s Brixton Electric. After years of hard work, releasing over twenty home-grown Hip Hop classics from some of the country’s foremost MC’s; High Focus are set to celebrate their fourth year in the game, with live sets from everyone at the label, and unmissable appearances by Klashnekoff, Jehst, Buggsy, Kashmere, Children Of The Damned, Onoe Caponoe and Pete Cannon.

If there’s one thing that’ll cure your boredom and break up that crushing British work-week mundanity, it’s spending a few hours battering your ear holes with nothing but dope lyrics and heavy beats courtesy of Fliptrix and co. It’s guna be huge!

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Rescue your weekend from the doldrums & help HF continue their boom-bap, born-day tradition by getting your ticket here.

Don’t Sleep On Phoenix Da Icefire.

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 It’s called ‘don’t sleep’ cuz you’re guna have to be awake to feel this guys words to their full affect. Fuck a coffee and a wedge of Noam Chomsky, start here:

I don’t know about you, but that’s everything I want lyrically from an MC; social commentary, history, positivity, overstanding, economics, culture, it’s all there. The 26 year old London rapper goes hard on every single track I’ve heard, he’s killing tracks in batches as quick as producers are cookin em up. His 2012 LP The Quantum Leap is Phoenix and Chemo dropping intelligent, deep Hip Hop with that dark, grimy sound that you’d hope for from any member of Triple Darkness. After hearing Back To The Essence earlier this week I went from casual fan to full on backin this guy 100%. As always, we need more guidance from mentally strong, educated male role models to combat the youth slipping into that radio rap coma; and to open minds using a medium the whole world embraces. That’s what true underground Hip Hop has always been used for, it’s always provided that platform. But it’s a lot more seldom that people recognise it, or use it for what’s it’s original purpose was. The draw of guns, drugs and objectification is strong, plus you got Politricks trance-forming the 85% daily:

This one finds Beat Butcha at the helm, slamming out another eerily beautiful composition with ease. It’s a strong example of the album’s important messages delivered with a sharp tongue, and the chorus comes especially poignant; “the media aint pushing nothing positive for the kids of today man, legalising the drink an the cigarettes like weed is the biggest threat, fightin in a war but they’re not telling you the true cause, where’s the respect?” Important words when the general consensus is the opposite.

His guest on Haan’s Bless The Dead track was another pivotal building block in the kingdom Phoenix has crafted for himself over the last few years. Pro P’s ill beat backing lines like; “The sword of Damacles, this hell I see is bright, the inferno, turn you on a spit while you burn slow, masonically I build pyramids of black gold encoded by Lucifer to captivate the soul”

In fact, all the guest verses he spits on other people’s tracks are highly reflective of the thought that he puts into his craft. To fathom an overstanding of the universe this complete, not to mention complex at his age only happens through dedication. And that time spent doing the knowledge reveals itself on tracks like the  Sword Of The Scribethe Melanin 9 collab Spiritual Scrolls. Tricksta’s ‘UK Runnings’ mixtape banger Walking With Angelsand the laid back vibes of Herbivore’s Ascension To Nirvana

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But back to the album; One Step From Damnation features a verse from Cyrus Malachi that’s above even his skyscraper-high standard for bars. If you don’t know anything about Cyrus this is an excellent place to begin. He fires a dizzying mix of intricate speech patterns discussing sub atomic particles, Kemetic history, the lesser-known books of the bible, and political conspiracy; that’s all backed by a wealth of knowledge from sources like Malachi Z York, Dr Booker T Coleman and The Black Dot. Phoenix’s verse is similarly comprehensive and he holds his own on a track with any comrade in TD.

Just the guests on The Point Of No Return  should spark your interest, Klashnekoff and Keith Murray are both heavyweights in their own lane; and over a laid back guitar loop combined with a catchy chorus and some nice sample selections that Chemo cuts up, it’s a sureshot that all the MC’s shine. I’m feelin Mental Prisoners Pt. 2 hard right now, if you recognise the truth in the man’s words it’s another portal to that righteousness that’s so deeply embedded in real MC’s work. “It’s how were living, locked down in prisons, triple six is the digits, it’s much more than just figures, global control, they want your soul, it’s a mental prison, as I watch the time tickin”.

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Before he was bringing the heat on The Quantum Leap, he was making conscious street anthems and burnin up the underground on Baptism Under Fire. The Dj Roast hosted mixtape allowed him to vent his frustrations at the world and make sense of it all through rhymes. It’s an unsurprisingly deep listen, with a lot of knowledge to learn from his words. His content is still more relevant than most MC’s now, and the tape came out in 2009. Every time I get into a new member of TD I think ‘this is what Hip Hop should sound like’. Check out tracks like 5 Jewels , Hells Fire, and Eargasm for more proof that this guy’s one of the UK’s best and as been for time.

You can cop the album now at his site for a criminally cheap price! He’s guna be dropping more music soon under the new name Solar Black so keep your ear to the pavement, cuz for real lyricism that brings Hip Hop back to that powerful place it began; the man is a shining beacon in these treacherous times.

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Peace.

Everything You need To Get Into Lewis Parker.

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The man’s a don. He’s one of the best producers around and has been for years, everything he samples is clean as hell, his rhymes are tight and without even trying he embodies underground Hip Hop; the look, the style, the work ethic, the dedication to the craft, it’s all there in buckets. He’s been a part of Champions Of Nature with Jehst, produced for some of the biggest name MC’s in the UK and internationally, and his beats are ubiquitous within the mixtape circuit. Parker’s been releasing classic solo albums since the 90’s and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, after relocating to New York in 2003, he’s continued smashing it. Releasing singles, EP’s and full lengths on his World Of Dusty Vinyl Label, working with UK Hip Hop store KingUnderground Records to distribute some of his newer releases, and when he’s not recording,  getting down live on the SP with his B-Boy style like this.

 Seein as I can hardly stop listening to the man for long enough to write a post about anything else; here’s a bunch of his illest songs in one handy chronological  bundle, packed with more links than a sausage shop.

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1998’s Masquerades & Silhouettes is a classic. Eight tracks of dopeness that sounds well ahead of it’s time, especially now with the current revival of US artists revisiting the boom bap sound. Seven of these tracks would be the lead single on anyone else’s debut, and even though the imprint it was released on is a subsidiary of a major label, it’s packed with rawness. The guys knack for crafting excellent beats that sound full and layered without being unnecessarily cluttered is beyond. Crusades is epic. His rapping his over-pronounced and heavily stylised. Throughout the EP he bounces this style off a more straight-laced delivery to interesting effect, and covers kilometres of subject matter from fantasy and sci fi to his more immediate surroundings. Eyes Of Dreams is flat out one of the best instrumentals going, it was brought back to prominence recently by Hardknock on the 1999 tape Joey Bada$$ put out last year, and as the first part of a Two track attack at the albums zenith that 101 pianos completes, it’s undeniable. You need this album in your life.

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In 2002 It’s All Happening Now ramped up the levels once again. Over Twenty Three tracks Parker touched on every aspect of his life, and knocked out countless quintessential examples of his sound. Incognito was an easy choice for the first single, demonstrating how talented this man is at putting together intricate beats that are easy on the ear, then lacing those rhythms with stylish phrases to form well written songs. An instant UK classic that started the album strong.

All I really know is life ain’t about the money”. 

As easily as he makes upbeat dopeness he switches to chilled and downright beautiful on tracks like Sunny Dedications with Profound; then moves on to dusky, nebulous numbers like Communications. Eleven years on Jehst’s “watching the world through microsoft windows” is even more poignant than it was then; with our ever increasing reliance on technology for social interaction. Parker’s verse is brimming with quotables;  “Become one with the air instead of one with the computer, but the digital monster inevitably controls our future”, and his instrumental is archetypal of the soulful jazzy rawness he pioneered. The song sounds like the grey skies it was created under, it conjures mental images of black cabs and forlorn men in suits dodging puddles in a downpour; for me it’s a fitting aural representation of Britain. Closing cut No Escape shows Parker, Klashnekoff and Skriblah on high form, the Terra Firma guest features among some of the album’s best.

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A year later, the 12″ Mr Parker’s Siesta followed up on the success of It’s All Happening Now. Then for Eight years Parker’s musical siesta saw him taking a small break from his solo stuff; but still find time to release the odd single, albums rammed with indispensable instrumentals, collaborations on albums with Secondson, John Robinson and Jehst, and produce for some of the biggest names in the game like Ghostface, Planet Asia and Smiff n Wessun.

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In 2011 he got back on the solo tip and released the first instalment of his new series; The Puzzle Episode One, The Big Game. Still spitting covert spy styles, musically he took a step further towards the cinematic sweeping scores he’d always been touching on with his SP compositions. It’s a dramatic listen, and was followed closely by some of his best workthe EP Dangerous Adventures. A short, saccharine slice of rhyme featuring 5 slamming songs, 5 funky instrumentals to play with, a more street sound than the first part of The Puzzle, and some top notch collabs thrown in fresh from the underground scene he easily ingratiated himself into abroad.

Six Feet Deep In Dirt & Dust ( a.k.a 1 Minute and 49 Seconds of pure Hip Hop joy ) is Lewis Parker’s body of work condensed like earth into diamonds. Even if you’re oblivious to the man’s legacy and you skipped the rest of the post just to come here ‘cuz you like the look of camo jackets; this should stand out as one of the illest things you’re ever likely to see on a Hip Hop blog in the coming two minutes.

The drum sound alone is untouchable, the videos cooler than cool hand luke sippin a cool cocktail, cooling off by the pool after installing a fridge freezer in an igloo; then Rodney P shows up just to remind you how much of a pioneer Parker is and his level of respect within the UK scene. Most MC’s dream of putting out EP’s this tight.

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In 2012, Shark balanced his orchestral bond movie themes with hard bass and drum loops that found his sound reaching equilibrium. Next he released Walking On A Razor, with even more high profile guest verses on another funky break, beginning the wind up to the release of The Puzzle: Episode 2 – The Glass Ceiling, an album that’s up there with his early work as some of his best. The beats are more varied than the last few releases, the track list packs in 30 examples of his underground golden sound, and it’s still espionage tactics lyrically. Singles like Hard Endeavour   serve to further seal the deal.

So now you know! Lewis Parker’s the man! He ‘takes the cakes from the bakery’ like Flipasaurus! and he’s still releasing quality music so keep an ear to the street so you don’t miss gems like TIC TAC TOE & Game Of CharadesIf you’re diggin his music as much as I am, buy his stuff digitally here, physically here , share this on FB, and tweet LP so he knows Hip Hop heads from his homeland are still showing him love!

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