The first thing I noticed – and loved, about this album is that you don’t get bored once. No skipping tracks or tuning out at all. Clearly influenced by the old school hip hop, straight out of Manchester, Motley and Hash Browne bring something fresh and inspiring to U.K. hip hop.
A few tracks that stand out for their skilful lyrics are ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’(ft. the beautiful vocals of Nina Simone), ‘Mary Claire’ – a softer son to mother tribute, and ‘Walking With Angela’ – an obvious tribute to lost legends. The strong references to being British and several other things at the same time is something I know a lot of us can relate to, ‘it’s a struggle for black, half fold for half caste’.
Something that we really don’t hear enough about. ‘Ingerland’ is one of those tracks that makes you want to strap down Young Jeezy (and perhaps hold a lighter to his face – whatever floats your boat) and half of the U.S. to remind them of Hip hop’s universality and how street life is everywhere; West Yorkshire may not be New York but it sure ain’t all tea and biscuits ‘we don’t all say o bugger or blimey, see some of us are downright dirty and grimey’. The top track for me has got to be ‘Gwaan’; it’s heavier, rawer and it makes me want to krump… hard.
Sadly the male MC’s horn still finds its way into even the most soulful tracks on the album. There are plenty of hidden genius lines in purely club tracks, lines that I want to see grow into something that would spark a few brawls. Fair enough, there are catchy choruses and beats you can’t help moving to. But when I smash 50 Cent records and lecture young twats on real hip hop, I’ll still find myself preferring to play a 6 year old The Roots and De La Soul to confirm my points. Purely because I want them to repeat ‘I’ll pull a microphone on any pistol brandisher’ instead of ‘ladies shake your titties and shake your thong’. Saying that, I want everybody and anybody to hear ‘smoke that weed, choke yourself, hope you have bad health’ straight from Motley’s tongue (still sounds familiar though dunnit?…)
You could relate the blunt horn to some early Jay-Z and Nas records (Big Girl – which I love, comes to mind) and in a very very distant way Plan B. But there’s a difference; Plan B’s hard hitting never sugar coated masterpieces shout out controversial points Motley and Hash Browne only mutter now and then.
Jay and Nas used the tasteful clubfloor route that Motley and Hash Browne definitely come under. But they did it among a million other deeper soul startling – ‘get out my cardboard and bboy right now’ tracks. This is no way an attack on their capabilities, as the serious talent shovels you in the face early on in the album. I’m proper happy to have a regular listen on the ol’ mp3 when I’m having a dance, a drum, a run or trying to convince my Rottweiler not to molest everyone he sees.
Buy it. You’ll enjoy it. And you won’t forget it. I just want to see what more these grown boys can do. Keep the horn heavy tracks, cos I love them too. Just show us something more. It’s all good though, I know there’s way more to come as talent like this won’t be gone anytime soon.
Especially not while I’m around.