Thursday, 23 October 2008

Vee Kay - The Audio Workout (Sweatbox Sounds 2008)

Phew, there I was lamenting how hip hop has been uninspiring for my ol ears this year and I've given up on UK hip hop, largely due to its backward-looking nature. Then Roots Manuva drops one of the best albums of the year. Then Vee Kay and Sonnyjim both send me sterling efforts in the same week, meaning that the autumnal soundtrack for 2008 is big swinging breaks.

Bring that beat back.

Vee Kay hails from Canterbury and has a sterling body of work behind him, from 'Myster-Vee EP' to handling all the production for the brainstaining Beefeaterz album. He's been away and retreated from the microphone to concentrate on the mixing desk. He's pulled in a host of safe hands to fill in vocal duties and this album makes for a blistering listen. Featuring Wordsmith, Dubbledge, Stig of the Dump, dr Syntax, Dirtburg's Cariz and newcomer Yosh, this is a versatile listen from start to finish. Album highlight is the hilarious and ominous 'Bogey Homicide' by Welsh crew, Dead Residents. Junior Disprol laces the funkiest break in Christendom with a macabre tale of death by nasal projectile, while Chud Jackson, the Valley's answer to Flava Flav gets militant on yo asses. The smooth beat and its easy trajectory down a strolling bassline make it the strongest track of the album. Wordsmith pops up twice, one on the introspective 'Bring Me Down' and on the fiery spiky 'Lok Dat' featuring an effortlessly playful Dubbledge delivering a technically immaculate and lyrically scathing verse. 'Way We Live' has Cariz from legendary live funk hip-hop band Dirtburg getting all nostalgic and sweet on a summery break. Vee Kay's musical ability to mould samples into new songs, taking the original and making it new, his canny knowledge of feel-good drums and his direction of his vocalists make him a producer to contend with. There's not a dull moment on here, and the summery, funky, trumpet-laden production may take its cue from 'the golden age of hip-hop' but is still able to add something and fresh and energetic to the mix. This is a digital release so go seek it on iTunes and all the major download sites. It's worth it, for 'Bogey Homicide' and searing double-time destruction of 'Goldwings' featuring rapper du jour, Dr Syntax and Stig of the Dump on fine speccy'n'fatty form. Go seek, and work it out.
Click here for a free download of the track 'Why Oh Why' featuring talented newcomer Yosh MC.

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