In these times of economic depression, war and a barrage of negative news in the mainstream media, it’s no wonder that Leeds-based crew, The Defenders of Style, have a fairly low opinion of the state of modern Britain. The crew’s debut release, The Thoughts of the Nameless Mixtape, provides a running commentary of the everyday inadequacies that the Northern public face on a daily basis.
The crew consists of MC / Producer Jack Danz, who is heavily backed by the MC trio of Prys, Tongue Tied and Jay Snow. Until very recently, I was unfamiliar with DS but I’m glad to say that my introduction to their music has been a welcome one.
Right out of the blocks, they begin confidently when Jack Danz and Tongue Tied let loose on the mixtape’s namesake track, Thoughts of the Nameless. The duo couple conscious lyrical content with sick flows over the swing-inspired beat to provide an upbeat, head-nod introduction to the crew.
Despite the feel-good factor of the beat, the track’s lyrics tell a different story. The duo pull no punches in their criticisms of the inland revenue, politicians and finally, our good old boys in blue.
The crew’s discontent for their current situations becomes ever more apparent on Spend My Days. Yet again, however, they manage to divert away from tracks that are designed to depress. Chenai’s soulful vocals manage to balance the track perfectly against Prys and Jay Snow’s verses that bounce perfectly over the catchy piano loop.
In addition to Jack Danz’ production talents on the mixtape, fellow Leeds resident Hi-Top throws his hat into the ring with a handful of beats. Fight Club is a personal favorite where the quartet of MCs spit verses with the energy and delivery that are certainly not typical of artists on their first release.
Where the first half of the mixtape remains upbeat, the second part of the CD takes a slightly different tone. The cheerful piano loops are traded in for dark synths and a deep bass line on Enemy of the State, and Amateur continues the sinister feeling towards the end of the mixtape.
What is consistent, however, throughout their debut release, is the MC’s ability to bring life to a variety of different beats by varying their flows and demonstrating impressive lyrical diversity. This, combined with their ability to regale stories through their tracks, creates a nicely rounded debut offering.
In a highly competitive music market, putting together a credible release is hard enough without being robbed in the process. Stronger details the events of last year, when the crew’s house was burgled.
By: Phil Clark