With Ill Move Sporadic (Neil Cage & Ben81) already creating a buzz over their release of The Magnetic Mixtape, back in September of last year, the UK producers make a triumphant return to the scene, this time teamed with emcee, and fellow Londoner Joey Menza, to bring us the follow-up album Alpha Coda.
Over 14 tracks Menza brings a wide variety of themes to the table, from hip-hop culture and drug use, to political analysis, visions of a dystopian Britain, and a whole lot more, all laced in realism and delivered by the relentless, hard-hitting, presence and conviction of a fierce battle emcee. I.M.S provide a strong collection of beats, which apart from the slightly more sombre, and reflective Wild Things, is largely filled with heavy, bouncy, head-nodders to perfectly accompany Joe’s lyrical prowess.
Joining Menza on the album is Don’t Flop competitor, and recent EOW UK champ Tenchoo, who brings his own distinctive style to the battle rap anthem Bar Crushers. C-Sparks, and I.M.S’s fellow Starch Music Records artist Gus Pony also contribute verses over ‘Dump’, the tongue-in-cheek commentary of life living in the country’s capital city. Other notable tracks include the katana sharp delivery of Style Gonzo , and balls-to-the-wall banger Battle Axes, a statement on Menza’s frustration with today’s overabundance of substandard rappers, which previously featured on the UK Runnings UK Rap Chronicles Chapter 2 mixtape, towards the end of 2010.
On reflection, Alpha Coda is an extremely consistent and accomplished album. It’s an album that opens strong, and concludes on a high, with the lyrics crafted to compliment and emphasize the raw, no-holds-barred, often boom-bap approach of I.M.S’s beats from start to finish. The production is tight, and there’s really not a bad track on it. It was a free download for an extremely limited time, but with a highly professional dual-case printing, and considering the musical content, Alpha Coda is more than worth the £4.99 price tag (£3.99 on mp3), and features a fine selection of unique, upcoming, London born artists, which makes for one of the most relevant pieces of music leaving the area right now. It’s certainly one you’re going to want to replay, a lot.
Release Date: 27th June 2011
By: Calvin Hussey