To say that Deeflux has been putting in work around the UK hip-hop circuit would be a major understatement. With his two-part Weapons Of Mass Destruction mixtape, and two releases from his US produced side-project Oddio Kin, all released from 2008 to 2010 and available free from Bandcamp, not to mention the work he puts in helping run successful hip-hop night Holdin’ Court, and as hip-hop producer for 103.7 KaneFM, it’s fair to say he’s been putting more than enough work in.
1984 is his first full release on Millennium Jazz Music, and is a collaborative effort between himself and Louis Unseen, a rising UK producer who’s worked with a long list of names including, Dr Syntax, Prem C, Genesis Elijah and Beit Nun. Considering the collected experience of the duo, plus the tasty free album sampler dropped back last December, this album seemed more than deserving of consideration, and I just had to see what it was all about.
From the outset, Deeflux focuses less on the tough guy persona that seems favourable among a great deal of underground artists today, and more on setting himself out as a conceptual storyteller and social commentator, with an admirable honesty in leaving his personality all over a track. There’s a lot worth mentioning over the 13 tracks (includes a bonus track), but I’ll try to narrow it down to a few of the ones that standout most.
Come Again, carries a positive and upbeat message, concerning looking towards the bright side, and seizing the moment. Two of the most relatable tracks have to be, Freaks United, and my personal favourite I Know, a hilarious tune featuring fellow Millennium Jazz artist Gadget, and Genesis Elijah’s second performance of the album, which is a mantra any male who’s experienced a good old row with their other half can nod along to in amused acknowledgement. Beans on Toast is a poignant social commentary, concerning many of the problems the average Joe faces, and the lies told to us by our government over recent years, complete with excellent samples from relevant campaign promises to emphasise the message.
Jaws Drop provides the album with the rowdiest joint in the mix, and is guaranteed to get you bouncing your head every time it drops. Finally, my other favourite track had to be Cyanide, which features a guest appearance from Dr Syntax, not to mention the masterful Jabba Tha Cut on turntable duties. What makes this track has to be the similar personalities, and the resulting chemistry between the two emcees, which is a combo I’d certainly welcome again in the future.
Overall, 1984 is a very solid album. What makes it work most is the combination of deep lyricism, tied in with a plethora of catchy, melodic hooks and choruses that feature throughout. Evident is a vast list of eclectic influences that includes, classic rock, reggae, and jazz, just to name a few. Make no mistake though; it’s still straight hip-hop to its core. Unseen proves he has a beat collection worthy of any industry heavyweight, and perfectly matches the tone of every subject matter dropped. Be wary, if you tend to favour more boisterous, aggy rap music, then it’s possible this may not be for you, but by the large it is an intelligent, inspired, and extremely well-rounded release, that’s definitely worth checking out.
Also, be sure to keep an eye out for Deeflux’s Natural Selection project with Brother Beatbox, expected to drop around mid autumn, and featuring an impressive list of guest features including, Wildchild, Guilty Simpson, Sonnyjim, Tenchoo, and many, many more.
Release Date: 1st June 2011
By: Calvin Hussey