But the few colours his personal take on hip hop provides, are bold, defined and solid. At the same time, while the gladiator stands in the centre of the amphitheatre fight floor. When I escape his own head, I feel like I’m at the top row of seats running round and round to see him from every angle. This is by far Mr Drastick’s most revealing release yet, we learn a lot more about him as a person. And it’s without him doing what too many MC’s do – shoving their life stories down our throats like a thirteen year old attempting a French kiss.
Art, any art, when done properly, can tell you anything and everything about an individual. You see personality and emotion in a painting without the artist having to pain themselves. That’s the whole point of art. And it’s something this fella really has down. He tells us more about himself with his more open and diverse lines.
However as far as the bluesy beats go the title doesn’t seem apt. The entire disc is very smooth and fairly chilled. I’m not talking fucking elevator music but it’s hardly grimey or abrasive in any way. The beats don’t take you to the bloody Gladiator arena. They don’t make you think of swords and Caeser and they don’t particularly make you want to fight. But Mr D pulls the word right outta the bag; fulfilling his potential and the Gladiator title to create something that lyrically deserves an amphitheatre of its own.
The lyrics take us to the streets we know and they dictate our day to day battles as well as reminding us where the real gladiators are – usually closer than we think. It’s pretty damn obvious that when it comes down to it, winners are just prepared to do what losers aren’t. And Mr D is prepared to do whatever it takes. Seventeen tracks of decency could probably be much more appetising if the few tracks with flimsier beats combined with the overall lack of any bass were seasoned properly. This would create an entire album that would just be one massive anthem.
Instead of going for quantity we want quality. Vibes not numbers. If we think of the lyrics as his sword and the beats as his armour – he’s still in danger of a few damaging blows. One wonders if the lyrics are so crisp because he spent so long baking em and forgetting to boil all the beats properly. Some of the beats satisfy fully but I can’t keep skipping tracks to find the more inspiring drums when I’m free running innit?
‘Walking In The Rain’ seems like a proper cliché title, but he gives us a nice original twist on a popular theme… “I’m too hot… I have to walk in the rain, even the sun can’t handle me”. This lack of modesty is earned, acceptable and doesn’t make him any less approachable. ‘Paranoid Music’ says a lot for many rappers we see these days… the insecurity and confused identities we see covered up with bling and guns in the mainstream…
The self declared ‘track bully’ beats the tracks about a more mature playground with his words. But he’s way too together and moralistic to be a tsotsi. Mr D ain't no thug. ‘I Don’t Wona See’ is an anthem for the youth who think the tsotsi lifestyle is their only choice. Mr D lays it down pure and simple – you don’t got to be bad man to get respect. And he’s the perfect example of this fact.