Monday, 12 January 2009

Skreintax - Scene Stealers (Dented 2009)

A formidable pairing of strong UK rappers this one. Dr Syntax and Skrein mesh together to form the sum of their distinctive parts. Odd-couple pairings rely on a noticeable difference in the pairing. When it comes to rapping duos, think of Andre 3000 and Big Boi; Raekwon and Ghostface; Chuck D and Flava Flav; even Dr Syntax and Stig of the Dump- they all rely on a noticeable personality difference and delivery to highlight the power of their superhero team-up. Dr Syntax and Skrein come from different camps. Synners brings the veriosity, articulate sardonic, heavily studied, impeccable rap delivery while Skrein brings the street ruggedness, lack of finesse, oodles of heart, twisted slang and attitude to this partnership and the result is a dynamite equivocation of two of the UK’s strongest. ‘Scene Stealers’ the titular opener sets things straight. This is lyrics for the love of wordplay and funky trumpets for the love of funk and mid90s powerhouse boom-bap. And it ain’t a bad thing because it’s done so well here. Between Dag Nabbit (Foreign Beggars’ imaginative in-house producer), Chemo, DJ IQ et al, there’s a slick array of producers bringing their heat to the vocals, all traded bars and intricately woven verbal assaults on your ears, mostly playful and bravado-ridden, syllable heavy and fun. When they attack subjects like triumphing over adversity (‘Express Train’), politrix (‘The Evil That Men Do’) or vixens (‘Venus’) they are still entertaining within the concepts. However, the most fun is had when they get deep into the cipher vibe on cuts like ‘6 Bitters’, which has all the markings of a drunken rhyme trade-off outside a kebab shop at 2am, all fire and sparky simile. The guests are all strong examples of the UK’s sterling reserves of well-studied MCs. Stig of the Dump and Dubbledge both make double sterling efforts. Farma G and Verb T crop up on the anthemic ‘Mine for the Taking’ while Metropolis and Graziella represent the sterling Dented camp on a couple of cuts. Great stuff.

Dented Records

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