This is apparently Leeds’ first Hip Hop compilation. Coming from Leeds originally, this is something which interests me. Leeds has always had a vibrant Hip Hop scene and this CD brings together some of the current talent. The CD features already established artists like Breaking The Illusion and Junkyard Tactics.
Track one, On Road by the Junkyard Tactics gets the CD going in an understated way. The track doesn’t have loads of impact, but is pleasant enough. This is the Invisible Soul Remix by BTI and whilst it adds a mellow jazzy feel to the production, the original may had more of a cohesive feel. A Simple Plan by TD aka Breaking The Illusion sets off on a very easy going tempo which gives the MC to tell his stories. Having been in the game for a few minutes now Tomas knows how to construct a story and track and this one has an interesting crime plan to unveil.
On On The Road, a new artist to me Haiku comes correct with a story of the things he imagines he would experience on a world tour. Big Ben is another new artist I had not heard of before and for his L.E.E.D.S. Man track he enlists the help of QB, Los Cauz and Jo Nova. The track gets going with a rather abstract opening few bars before the interesting drum pattern kicks in and the MCs rape the track with high speed flows. This is a track in recognition of all Leeds men and how due to their circumstances should hold themselves in high esteem.
Just showing the strength in depth that Leeds has, Eliphino rocks up with a harsher more aggy attitude. Occupations utilises a simple piano note for Elphino to explain what he is up to on a daily basis. I’m hearing words and slang on here that I haven’t heard for years and it is refreshing to hear all this dopeness delivered in my local twang. Next up, Haiku returns for his Interview track which also features Horace Walpoll who asks the questions that Haiku answers in his rap. This is particularly un-hype, but allows for Haiku to demonstrate his word play.
Junkyard Tactics bring the funk for the following Takin Ova’. This is the P+H (Peacewise & Homestyle) remix and I love that wah wah guitar. The Track opens with Leeds’ elder statesman BTI and also features a spot by Danger. Eliphino returns for an instrumental track Strange Days which is a particularly refreshing production which chops a whole load of samples up and places them together in quite a disjointed way, but it works.
One of the biggest tracks on the CD is BTI’s DMMK a real bumper which should have anyone bopping their heads to the anthemic use of horns and the powerful accompanying bass. The content matter can be simply described by expanding on the title – DMMK = Drugs, Money, Murder Kill. Some of this is a metaphor, but as for the rest…
Hang Man’s Remedy by Malaki is for me the low point of the LP. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice enough, there is just something about this track that doesn’t connect with me. The penultimate track Absolute Resolution Of Feeling Pt I + II by Dr Knox also fails to impress that much. Again understated, this track is I guess meant to show this wordsmith’s skills off, but I’m not convinced.
The final track Stuck brings us back with some thump though. A G-Funk live bass and disco feel give this a different vibe. It also features BTI who demonstrates he can get busy over any genre of beat. Where would Leeds Hip Hop be without him? The production is by duo Peacewise & Homestyle.
I always knew it, and this CD proves it. There is a great deal of talent in Leeds and the accent is just made for MCing. Sounds great to me and hopefully it will to you as well.