Black Grass also known as Mex returns from Brighton with his sophomore LP entitled A Hundred Days In One which follows on from his welcomed eponymous debut. Mex has been DJing for over 20 years now and lists great influences including the Wild Bunch, Good Times and Soul II Soul sound systems and great DJs such as Jazzy Jeff and Cash Money.
This LP can justly claim to be eclectic as it has an obvious Hip Hop base, but is more than that as Mex’s obvious love for music and deep knowledge seeps through. There is a great wealth of talent enlisted to add to the lyrical and vocal elements of the LP. Blu Rum 13 of Ninja Tune fame supplies lyrical skills along with Jehst from Low Life Records and Philadelphia born Malay Sparks who is a true guest spot veteran and also appeared on the last album returns on the Don’t Try track. Amongst other vocalists, this positive wealth of collaborations makes this an essential album for all.
01. Lucha Contra De La Injusticia
02. Oh Jah ft. Jah Marnyah
03. Lines Of Defence ft. Jehst
05. Don’t Leave Me This Way ft. Dominique Noiret
06. The Floating Wizard
07. Down & Dirty ft. Micall Parknsun
08. So Many Ways ft. Okou
09. Rest Assured ft. Blu Rum 13
10. Don’t Try ft. Maylay Sparks
11. Sweet To Taste ft. Rider Shafique
12. Nobody Knows It’s Sunday
The LP is 12 tracks deep and starts off with tongue twisting Lucha Contra De La Injusticia, a track which features a percussive Brazillian rumba rhythm opening. Each instrument is gradually added to the mix before the rocking beat kicks in for a great instrumental which sucks the listener into the album.
Oh Jah follows with an old roots reggae feel and introduces the sounds of Jah Marnyah who strains his way through the track. This souds like a bit of a mix of influenses and perhaps suffers a bit of watering down because of this. The first of the UK Hip Hop offerings comes with one of the biggest stars, Jehst, who gets busy on Lines Of Defence on which he effortlessly weaves his verbs, but the constantly bubbling bass and lightweight drum machine drums mean that the track again doesn’t hit as hard as it should.
The big drummed live feel tracks like Nemesis are what Mex is best at, bringing in that Latin groove for old school dance floor fillers. Extremely down tempo in comparison Don’t Leave Me This Way exudes that Portishead sound which is not surprising as Mex has worked with them before. This one features the plaintiff tones of Dominique Noiret whose stunning vocal contribution lends a classic, vintage feel to the track.
Micall Parknsun add his own style to Down & Dirty and shows why he is one of the scenes current favourites. Okou adds her soulful singing to So Many Ways which has a great movie soundtrack feel with its deep sax stabs and strings. A reggae element is attained on Rest Assured which features Blu Rum 13, but it is these cross genre arrangements which suffer from a lack of authenticity and whilst making them accessible to a vide variety of listeners, those hardcore fans of a particular genre may feel it is compromised.
Regardless Maylay Sparks shows how it should work on Don’t Try for which Mex loops up a great acoustic guitar. Over a slow paced and electronically realised Sweet To Taste, Rider Shafique drops some of the deepest knowledge espoused on the entire album before the LP rounds off with Nobody Knows It’s Sunday a lazy days come down track which is exquisite in its mellowness.
Described as a "witches brew of styles" by Mex, ‘A Hundred Days In One‘ joins the dots between the related flavours of hip hop culture – from funk, jazz and soul to party beats.