Manage is a heavyweight MC. We remember him from his Early Life Crisis and work with Def-Con and he has always been on the more conscious side of Hip Hop spitting meaningful lyrics with consummate ease. For the last year or so he has been one of the organisers of, and the main host for the Speakers Corner nights which go off in Brixton and have been proving themselves to get the best talent down there for some action packed nights.
So here we have a full 16 track LP which for me hits the spot in all the right places. The LP opens with the clichéd Intro a quick little plea to the Devil to help before a slowed down Tubular Bells type instrumentation kicks in with great kick drum rolls for Live In Protest. This what Manage is all about and if you haven’t heard f Manage before you will appreciate his local Lewisham accent as he drops his personal intro and this is serious stuff beware.
02. Live In Protest
03. City Of Satan ft. CLG, Big P, Nickels
04. Stop Lying
05. Mics For Life ft. Syanyde, Reveal, CLG
06. Game ft. Conflix, The Antiheroes
07. Industry Strike ft. King Kaiow
08. Right Here
09. Change The Theme ft. Syanide, Conflix
10. Speaker’s Corner ft. Shameless, Lowkey, Doc Brown, Orifice, Skinnyman
11. Rise Up
12. Soul Cry ft. Verb T, Kashmere, Katarina
14. Riot ft. Syanyde
15. I Realise (Stand Strong)
16. Speaker’s Corner (Chemo Bonus Mix) ft. Shameless, Lowkey, Doc Brown, Orifice, Skinnyman
City Of Satan has a severe bass note which busts the beat apart as MCs CLG, Big P, and Nickels combine as they describe their local manors and what it is like there. Stop Lying has a creeping Pink Panther type beat with great breakdowns as Manage verbally takes down all the MCs who act like playas when really they are greatly overstaing their cases. On the other hand Manage ably proves that he could back up any boast he has made.
Mics For Life features spaghetti western type production as MCs Syanyde, Reveal and CLG combine again for another top notch offering, dropping semi autobiographical verses, this track is a bit less focussed than some of the other tracks. Game follows with a slower tempo beat which makes good use of pianos and strings as Conflix and the Antiheroes join Manage to drop knowledge in the stylistic and well rehearsed manner you would expect from talented wordsmiths such as these.
Industry Strike sparks with a great sample from a film before another sold beat. Delving into how the music biz works in this country Manage and King Kaiow are curious as to why we constantly get nowhere. Piercing strings underpin the head nodder Right Here although the sample could become repetitive on repeated listens. Regardless Manage drops some tight war zone rhymes.
Change The Theme is another cold and deep offering in which the MCs – Manage, Syanide and Conflix stoke up the desperation in their voices and really make you feel they are teling you the truth of grim realities. Speaker’s Corner is a major anthem with a deep purpose. The MCs are determined to make a new era of consciousness and if you can’t take on board the things that the stellar line up of Shameless, Lowkey, Doc Brown, Orifice and Skinnyman are telling you then frankly there is little hope for you.
Rise Up was the first single from the LP and it seems that this dropped time ago, but as a call to arms it is rowdy and engaging, but as with a lot of tracks like this I fear it just goes over peoples heads, and whilst they may agree with the sentiments they wont take that next step and do something about their situation.
Soul Cry is a step change in vibes from the previous works as the pitch slows down and features the contrasting styles of Verb T and Kashmere that work together so well. Apparently Kash doesn’t want to be tied to being associated with Verbs after the double EP they released together on Low Life, but each has such a unique style I don’t think there is any fear of that. The track also features Katarina on the vocals. Psychobitches is a track that we had for download back in 2002, but it is still sounding as fresh as ever as Manage lets us know about some dirty double crossing New Cross yatties.
The second single from the LP was Riot on which Mr Manage is joined on the mic again by the furious Syanyde. This piano rolling political assault was released to highlight the G8 summit and the hypocrisy displayed by certain first world leaders. The theme chimed with many listeners and the track was picked up by numerous international DJs.
A lovely Spanish guitar forms the basis for one of the more relaxing tracks on the LP. I Realise (Stand Song) still has an important message, but it is not forced upon you quite as much as the others. Manage expresses his hopes for the future and if we take his advice it will not be all bad. The LP finishes off with the Chemo Bonus Mix of Speaker’s Corner which appears earlier on in the record. It has got the same MCs on it, but the production is sparser and more minimalistic.
The packaging and design is tight with a Ralph Steadman inspired design in yellow of Mr Manage letting off his venom through a megaphone.
This LP is truly heavyweight and with the plethora of guest talent assembled here we are witness to a coming together of some of the UK’s finest talent. The themes and sentiments encapsulated in this release are thought provoking and stand out as a beacon of quality to all those other acts that spend their time rapping about nonsense. This is grown up music for men. Make sure you cop this, and then do something to improve your life.