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.
After solo releases, freestyle vids, and relentless gigging that included slots on Verb T’s Morning Process tour and last year’s Boom Bap Festival; Moreone and Denziller have dropped their début collaboration, Morbiddenziller. The album sits comfortably within a distinctive sound the emcee’s favour, yet manages to continuously reinvent itself from within. Sam Zircon’s grim bassline on Zircon Air sets the tone, as frosted bells jangle loosely under Moreone’s gloomy flow that matches the queasy cover art. The mood lightens as the duo drop 90’s style rhymes over upbeat guitar loops on Mega Trip; then offer a more modern perspective on society over a dope mid-paced instrumental from Out The Box producer Rebs on Charity Case. A varied beat selection works to the album’s advantage on the previously-released single, Number One Fan, as Reklews assembles an ensemble of eerie sounds with the sparsity of a radiated wasteland, animated by the stylish bars.
Suntzu’s short skit She Was stands out for it’s lyrical honesty, catchy piano loops and hype Redman ad-libs, before the tone descends back into the murky depths with a dusky beat from Drae and a standout verse from Moreone on OG’s Lullaby. After listening to Inspecta Morze’s SP1200 beats on youtube for about a year now, it’s dope to see him get a feature on a UK Hip Hop album; and his chilled boom bap style brings out the best in the MC’s; their flow settling into a groove with a memorable chorus. Guilty was already one of my favourite Drae instrumentals, and with the MC’s riding high on a strong second wind, this well-constructed song makes it two-for-two on the catchy hooks, leading into nothing but straight flows from Moreone on Asswipe. Don Piper manifests a clear ear for melody on Dark Horses, as Moreone and Denziller take the time to respect the UK legends that paved the way for them; then turn their efforts to scripting yet another huge hook that’ll keep your head nodding.
The closing note is an odd one, as Slightly Mad ends on an obscure tone that plays like a hallucinogenic disco-in-hell; but doesn’t detract from the fact that Morbiddenziller is a dope first album that grew in quality as it elapsed in run-time. Both MC’s pen perceptive lines free from posturing and bullshit, blessing every track with articulate rhymes and inventive wordplay over ill production across the board. As they progress musically and hone their sound further, there’s no doubt that the years of work these two rhymers have put into their craft will pay off, and take them where they want to go both musically and physically.
Grab the album for less than twenty Lambert, here.
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!
Rescue your weekend from the doldrums & help HF continue their boom-bap, born-day tradition by getting your ticket here.
Drawing primarily from his recentI RemainLP on High Focus; Reverb features a host of dope remixes of Verb T’s tunes by some of the finest beatmakers worldwide; and boasts a varied beat selection that’ll not only knock the dust off your brain after a heavy weekend of drinking/Jesus but will have you fiending to revisit the MC’s back catalogue immediately. Slovenian trio Urban Click set it off with three back to back bangers; Dawn takes a soulful stroll though one of Verb’s best tunes, with dynamic drum changes that disperse the verses and give the strings even more impact. A complete re-imagining of Lost strips the tune back to neck-snapping breaks and buoyant basslines; while their Power Within remake does the opposite, taking the original’s nebulous notes and reforming them into an up-tempo tramp that explores a maze of stuttering hi-hats as vaporous vocal chops claw at the track’s bottom end.
Jehst puts together a funky, bass-heavy remix of Sound The Alarm off the YNR-released Serious Games album; which also serves to inspire Ghost Town’s electronic arpeggio’s that back Verb’s nimble rhyme schemes on Extra Fried. TalentedGlasgow-based producer Konchis backs deep bars from half of the Four Owls on Look Now, with siren-like horns that bathe the track in strobes of sound; then Pete Cannon’s OG beat gets the Leaf Dog treatment on Where You Find Me, bringing that soulful bump he’s known for, and making the song an album highlight in the process.
The self-produced Less Old Less Grumpy blends a new chorus with the original tune’s accapella over a catchy piano loop that keeps your head nodding; as does the original mix on All That Exists; which isa real interesting listen. Alternate vocal takes and a different wording on the chorus are set to a more reserved sample; with Verbs still perfecting the flow you end up hearing on the album version; providing a rare insight into the writing process that shows how much time and effort T spends when creating his tunes.
BMRN ( pronounced BoomRuin if you’re not fluent in cool kid internet linguistics ) end the LP by taking The Power Within and shifting the previously serious tone into an epic, yet sombre track that packs Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind levels of upliftment meshed with depression. For new fans looking to explore Verb T’s music Reverb is as fitting introduction as any, but for long-time listeners the real gems are found when placing the tracks into context. They show progression, and demonstrate the malleability of the man’s rhymes, as they sit comfortably on nearly any beat they’re placed upon.
Reverb came out today! You can get it for whatever price you feel, here.