Joe Blow - Smoke and Mirrors

For those who are not familiar with the Welsh Hip Hop veteran Joe Blow this will definitely serve as a fitting introduction to showcase his skills as a Producer / DJ and MC. With a history within the South Wales underground and music industry spanning over two and a half decades Joe is no stranger to churning out classic material.

Hot on the tail of his trilogy of EPs with production powerhouse Mr. Substance (Alpha Ego, Born Leader, Lone Survivor) on the Bard Picasso label, Joe has now ventured out on his own independent journey along with Welsh Hip Hop legend 4Dee launching their latest imprint Veteran Records.

Prior to putting out the trilogy EPs there have been various noteworthy releases from Joe Blow such as his debut solo release in 2008 the critically acclaimed “Smoking Skills” followed by two albums ,the 2012 classic “Dead Man Smoking” and the 2017 “Smoking Ace” not forgetting the brilliant EPs that he released with the Legendary DJ Stagga, “Oh Geez” and the “Silver Bullet” on the Fat Fridge imprint before Stagga sadly passed away in late 2020.

As well as being the founding member of the Barry based supergroup Squid Ninjaz, Joe has always remained eminent within the Hip hop scene in the capital city of Cardiff, not only known for his contributions to Hip Hop, he has also been a prominent figure in the local DnB scene. A scene he has been involved in since he was a 16 year old DJ at the Legendary “Hippo Club” a dingy old building that was the go to venue in Cardiff during the 90s.

Clearly we are only scraping the surface when it comes to his history within the music scene, but we would be here all day if we delved any deeper into his discography, so how does his latest release compare to his vast back catalogue?

The album opens up with “Big Tingz” a soulful boom bap banger that perfectly compliments Joes dulcet tones and inventive wordplay, followed by “Motherfucker” a funk heavy head nodder that showcases Joes witty lyricism with a highly infective hook that will be stuck in your head for days.

Its clear after listening to the first two tracks that the standard of quality on this 14 track album is incredibly high, every track is sample heavy and produced to perfection with the majority of the production duties being done by Joe himself with guest production features from Mr. Substance, Acko and Risk1 with DJ cuts from Cardiff’s Hip Hop king DJ Jaffa and guest vocal appearances from 4Dee, Junior Disprol and Maizie Walsh.

This album is a finely crafted release  and definitely for want of a better expression “for the real heads”. A classic boom bap banger that will wet your appetite for his entire catalogue. Taking inspiration from soul jazz and 60s psychedelic music and 90s Boom bap this album has some great sounds, beats and samples that will no doubt please many audiophiles.

Joe Blow

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