Author Archives: OneFáris

Scorcher – Gargoyle

Since the (from Jail) release of (the heavily underrated) Down, Skywalker went quiet (for obvious reasons), but God is good, and back like he never left, he returned with the emphatic Could Be Worse

a typical take from Scorcher, as he reintroduces himself back in the game. Reality is, I never got round to reviewing it because I was actually just enjoying listening to it, and naturally, the streets united in rejoice for his return, out the box and into the booth, “nothing weren’t safe from when I come out”.

There isn’t too much to “review”, just listen and soak up the new energy. Whilst Could Be Worse served as the appetiser, it was not long before the people wanted more, and it was already in the works, as he dropped the new track, Gargoyle

“Top of the roof” music, it’s a slower tempo but more intricate freestyle, as the Dark Knight reasserts himself back in position, watching down at the game. They ain’t see me for a minute, didn’t emcee for a minute..”, only few could take a hiatus and walk right back into the mix, but then few hold his level of credibility and stature in the scene, “I ain’t got a reload lyric, but I got a Reload lyric, you can double up and reload wit’ it”.

What’s genius about the tracks he’s dropped thus far, is the rhetoric. We know the industry has changed, there’s a heap of new acts (many who I’m not even up on), and people will have their doubts and question Scorcher’s place in this climate, and as he further finds his feet amidst the distractions, he has an answer for all, “they think local, scoping the galaxy, meanwhile i’m getting followed by focus and galaxy”. The younger fans and industry people are part of something that Scorcher helped lay the foundations for, and even if they’re unaware, he’s assertive of his own influence, “Dem man are all my kids, these man are all my youts, dem bwoy are all my sons..”, and he ain’t telling no lies.

Not a negative, but I think the impact of Could Be Worse has overshadowed Gargoyle, and I would have preferred a whole EP or project straight after, but it’s always better to test waters and reassess things. To be honest, I’ve just been glad to see him out, participating in football matches and just to know a man is back with his kids. There’s a lot more to come from him, so lock in on the socials, and stay tuned, as he looks to deliver like only one of the greatest talents to emerge out the country can.

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Dream Mclean – Durag Beckham

“Love, they don’t show enough..”

Around 2013, Dream Mclean was on an ascension, standing out amongst the generic sounds, with his distinct tone and modern take on British culture, before it was even understood let alone accepted, before there was a Slowthai, his sound & style was gaining him a fanbase (mentioned amongst the likes of CasIsDead), that included his peers, most notably Professor Green. Like so many potentials around that time, I guess the industry was not at the same stage, and though he continued, and as part of the collective Monster Florence (featuring long term associate Siris), despite the quality and sound, it still did not quite connect as deserved, which brings us a couple years later to his new solo release, Durag Beckham.

I randomly came across the post, of the infamous Durag Beckham pic (when he met Prince Charles), with Dream captioning it, “feeling like a new me”, and then the trailer. With one of my earliest reviews being of Dream himself (like 10 years ago), my appreciation of his talent or belief in him remains, and so I was not only intrigued to hear, but to see if he’s able to sustain that momentum in today’s climate.

“I feel like a new man, I feel like David Beckham in a Durag..”

Produced by New Machine (one of the more heralded underground producers), someone who I’ve come to hear a lot of quality from (through his work with Phaze What), it was no surprise to hear something that sounds so left, yet fits right into what’s current today. The combination of a melodic loop caged between a catchy drum pattern, with a kick that you feel in your neck (props to mastering from none other than The Last Skeptik) with it’s laid-back sound yet uptempo energy, it’s easy for the lyricist to deliver a breezy flow, that slaloms on the beat, ultimately creating this wavy track. It’s cool, catchy and if you pay attention, it’s somewhat addressing this new feel and direction, and as a sign of more to come, I hope it’s pivotal in re-establishing himself as one of the more exciting acts in the country.

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Meridian Dan – Vegan Chat

The bar has been set for Video of the Year, as Meridian Dan rises out of the fumes of his German Whip.

From undeniably leading the charge of Grime’s resurgence, Meridian Dan had found himself caught between maintaining that sound whilst growing as an artist, two things that don’t often mesh well. Having basically opened the door, you could say he was lost amongst all those that followed after, not because of him or his music, but just the way the game is, a lot of changes and transitions followed, and though he gave us a mature take on Grime, at the time, it was continuously compared to his breakthrough single. Still active, the limelight however had began to fade, with the numbers game churning newer acts, and the support seemed to have followed as such. It’s frustrating for any creative, and at one point, unless you were personally checking for Dan, you would think he was inactive. Where he provided the spark for our music to flourish, it also provided the avenue for sub-genres to re-emerge, UK Rap became more prominent, and almost put Grime to the back. None the less, you can’t keep a good man down, and fast forward to 2019, off the back of presenting Boxing segments and music with the likes of God’s Gift, having switched things up in his personal and professional life, the Meridian legend, brings that new lifestyle and energy into his music with Vegan Chat.

Very few artists still care about the creativity, or production value, especially with their visuals, or maybe that is just their personalities, one dimensional and basic. Not with Dan, those that know or have witnessed enough, will be well aware that he’s a charismatic and funny individual, blended with his pedigree and upbringing, it’s what made him stand out in the first place. I knew he lived a vegan lifestyle, but had no idea what to expect when I came across the title ‘Vegan Chat’ (Was he even releasing music, or was this some new cooking/talk show?!), all I had been told from a close source was, “he’s back”, and they weren’t wrong. Musically, it’s classic Dan, as he lays out the plan and intentions from here on, effortlessly flowing, citing his stance as a person and artist, as he looks to stake his claim as one of the elites.

“I’m a positive guy, I don’t do bad energy..”

Visually, it’s a masterpiece really, from the concept, down to the execution. Shout out to Pierre in the opening scene, safe-guarding the operation. It’s a constant journey, that whilst so different, remains in line with the premise. From the traphouse (bagging up vegetables), into the amazing transition of the joint to the boxing ring, knocked out by the bull, later revealed to be none other than hometown hero Dillian White, into the butcher scene, with Dan playing multiple roles, an ode to his self-sufficiency and the multiple positions he plays in his own career. This video shows more potential for Dan within the acting world, this could have easily been a Guy Ritchie movie, and it only gets more intense, from the slaughterhouse to playing detectives and the underrated scene where he’s torturing what appears to be Ronald McDonald for the hidden meat factories.

Though the video has done well, it most certainly is underrated, and maybe with Giggs’ Big Bad visuals and the impact he has, having somewhat overshadowed it, but when those lists get made in December, if this video is not mentioned, then they can all go fuck themselves really, because Meridian Dan most definitely kicked it all off, and I for one, look forward to what’s next.

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Wholagun – Sweets

The Croydon General cannot be faltered for trying. The large consensus is a lack of consistency, yet, if you actually checked, he’s been nothing but consistent. From 2017’s Solution To The Problem, to starting 2018 with his Savage Sunday series, not to mention, he’s dropped at least 5 videos in the past year. What the fuck more do people want?!

And so in 2019, it’s back again, with a track he teased towards the end of the year, Sweets

Linking up once again with Edixion Beats, the two have a chemistry, or at least a proven history of quality bass-heavy production that compliments the rapper’s vocals, so it’s no different here, with the calm piano sitting above the gritty beat, perfect for Wholagun to give us more flows, condensed street raps and a delivery to match the best. The video, serving as the visual aid, gives a bit of shine to Croydon, complimenting the track itself, the shoot looked like it was fun, with a good synergy amongst them, it’s one of the few videos I would have actually been in. I don’t expect Sweets to be a gamechanger, but it’s for sure a great start to the year, and progression is evident, with the track uploaded to the streaming sites too, something that was not always the case prior.

There is definitely a new project on the way, with these first couple tracks set to give some idea into the sound and direction, but as always, there is no lack in quality nor consistency. If you like authentic street rap, with wit and flows, then look no further, as Wholagun sets to take it up a level.

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Wave Chapelle – New Wave EP

In this era of fast food rap, a lot of the new acts have either been overlooked or struggled to gain the respect required, especially when they let their music do the talking, and not the online gimmicks/antics. One of the artists that has been caught up in the transition is Wave Chapelle, while his name has circulated for a while now, he has been learning first hand, the hurdles, as he looks to maintain consistency. Though his name may not be as prominent, his music certainly speaks volumes, with project after project, in the past couple years alone, and one thing evident, is the improvement.

With the New Wave EP, it’s a more reformed, polished version of the Milwaukee gem, with a crisper ear for production, and more clarity in his delivery. As if he’s found his style/sound, or at least closer to, the EP compiles emotion, determinations and desires within bars upon bars. Through the 7 tracks, there’s a variety of elements, from the lyricism, flows and cadences all layered to create such a well-rounded project. You can hear the effort, the boxes ticked, and that’s what makes it disappointing that there was not more praise for the EP. Away from the Yo Gotti cosign, this project is testament to Wave Chapelle’s self belief and hard work, as he’s taken a couple steps back, gained control of his progression, and the music has benefitted as such.

The EP is for sure one of the more underrated offerings from the up-and-comers this year, but while he is still finding his balance, it’s on his own wave.

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M Huncho – 48 Hours EP

As 2018 comes to a close, there’s talks of ‘Album of the Year’ as we look back at the best projects, and while the likes of Nipsey Hussle, Pusha T and (most recently) Meek are contenders, one project that I believe is in the Top Ten, or the conversation at least, is M Huncho’s 48 Hours EP. If we were to separate albums and EPs, then it’s Top 3 for sure.

I came across him late, when his name was originally circulating, I didn’t jump at it, but maybe because it was just the perception (I’m not on the obvious platforms like that), and even the ballie, you had an idea of what to expect, but I had yet to hear any of the music, and I so wasn’t expecting this. If I had known it was basically trap-centric R&B, I might have been more inclined, and it wasn’t until I had heard a couple tracks in the right place at the right time, that I visited the EP, and came across one of the most exciting artists to emerge from the country of recent.

I hope to interview the talent at some point, because I really just want to know who he listened to growing up, what artists inspire him and so forth, because as much as he is a rapper, there are a lot of artistic nuances, from the production used to the execution of certain melodies. With it’s street-heavy content, his delivery provides a polish of sorts.

The 8 track EP (which was created within a 48 hour studio session) is an array of moods, and from the Intro, he surfs over the soulful production, with a combination of wordplay and flow that becomes his niche. It sets up for Elevation, “rolling with my J, no Hus”, is a great example of the simplicity with which he can craft catchy quotables. With this track, I found myself listening to it when I was down, in need of motivation, or just lighting one under the sun. No doubt one of my go to tracks as I planned my moves for the year. Obviously if you’re accustomed to the content, then you’re definitely going to gravitate towards, but even if it’s alien to you, it’s that previously mentioned delivery, which will captivate the listener just as much.

Bringing us to Come Up, the third track on the tape, and it’s Huncho raising the level, as he compliments the production with an infectious flow, a track that is equally playable in the club as it is in your gym playlist.

Council Flat is confirmation that M Huncho is actually an artist, and justifies the buzz surrounding him. I say this because he shows consistency with his ability. It’s another flow, just as catchy, with more simple yet effective bars, and whilst I don’t know him personally, it’s a case of real recognise real, and further adds to the all-important authenticity.

“I don’t want no fake youts, I’d rather do up lonely”

And just like that, I Ain’t Fussed kicks in, I remember first listening to it and thinking back to my uni years, and then I hear, “Lost out on a nine, I’m raving in freshers…I lost all my uni fees”, and that was me sold I guess, because I got it. He’s able to weave raw subjects and wit within his lyrics, and it’s that variation that allows him to appeal beyond the expected audience. Track 6, ‘Mood’, might not be as good as the others, but you’ll still find yourself singing along, and it’s important for the EP overall, especially it’s positioning, with the levels raised again with Calm Days.

“They askin’ ’bout the masked face, I don’t like all the attention…I need calm days”

M Huncho had my vote for the Rated Awards Breakthrough artist of the year, and it does appear that he isn’t championed as much as he should be, but that could be a host of reasons, either way, it doesn’t take away from him or his craft in the slightest.

“labels moving naughty, tryin’ to offer forty, I’m sittin in a benzo..I don’t need that forty”

I love that the EP has a quality intro and outro, different styles but both as impactful and effective, further proving my point about his style, presence and talent. The outro, Sport.

“I see these goalies tryna play striker, brudda just stick to your own role..”

Overall, it’s a more creative take on the subject, something that the UK has struggled to do as effortlessly, or to this extent. 48 Hours is a great follow up and introduction for many to M Huncho, an improvement from his previous effort, whilst leaving room for more. A great offering, considering it was done within a 2 day session. I often listen to it and look to plan an event featuring him, just to hear those sounds and see that impact in a live setting. Much like the mask, he gives you enough to garner your interest, but also maintains the mystery. It’s my top 3 most listened to project this year alongside Nipsey’s Victory Lap album and Phaze What – I Ain’t Finished With You EP, and although there are others who might have more commercial plays or cosigns, it’s this EP which I hear blasting out of cars across the country, in studios, events and trap houses, with some of the most certi bumping the tape. Regardless of the perception, M Huncho is one of the country’s leading acts on the rise.

Definitely awaiting the new album, and have high hopes, so you can potentially expect him to be in the conversation for Album of the Year (again) next year.

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R&B King Que

So yesterday morning, I saw a video from Jacquees, claiming he’s, “the King of R&B, right now, for this generation.”, I didn’t think much of it, and went on with my day, by the end of the night however, I logged back into the matrix, to find the shit trending, and everyone discussing who the King of R&B was, with the obvious names such as R. Kelly thrown in, plus the typical people desperate for validation, mentioning whichever names had not been said thus far, with Carl Thomas and Donell Jones amongst them.

See this is exactly why I did not think much of the video when I saw it, because Jacquees, who is prepping for the follow up to his 4275 album, knew everyone would latch at the bait and they damn sure did. It reminded me of the time when T.I. jumped out the gate claiming to be, “King of the South”, and people were outraged, until the South basically confirmed it. If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know how highly I rate Que, while the majority may have only been introduced to him through the ‘Trip’ controversy, the young crooner has lead a resurgence of R&B today, amidst the Hip-Hop wave. While he may appear to be reaching, having only released his debut album this year, he’s not entirely wrong.

If he said Prince of R&B, nobody would have disagreed as much, unless you’re one of those people that just loves to argue anything. However, the miscommunication is when he says, “this generation”. (Aside of the controversy), R. Kelly is undoubtedly the King of R&B, many had heralded Trey Songz as the successor, as he stood alone in modern music, as someone that could actually sing. You also have Jeremih, or the phenom Chris Brown, who has the accolades to back it, but because they’ve been around for so long, they could be considered veterans, almost not of this generation, which brings us to the new crop.

In the past five years, Hip-Hop has continued it’s ascension (albeit backed by club anthems), while R&B has glimmered through rap’s melodic phase, with Drake leading charge, and while a case could be made for The Weeknd, he’s also transitioned into that popstar realm, which would see him out of the conversation. so then you have the likes of Ye Ali, TyUs, Brent Faiyaz, Daniel Caesar and Jacquees, while the first couple names are still relatively unknown on a mainstream level, just under Brent Faiyaz, the three have yet to make that commercial leap, where as Canada’s Daniel Caesar has had a great run of late, but has just been praised for his soulful music, beyond the genre, which leaves us with none other than, Jacquees.

I’ll even throw Tory Lanez in the mix, but he would be more so under that Drake umbrella of both Rapping and singing, unless he decides to challenge this and sing his way into contention, which by now, nobody would be surprised, because he is skilled in both sets, but it makes sense to consider sole R&B acts for this.

As much as I would like to cement that statement, especially with the unnecessary outrage, there are at least three other names who have really carried the torch for R&B in recent times, one being Miguel, who has given us consistent R&B with hints of experimentation and strong vocals. Ty Dolla $ign, who has provided soul throughout the charts, from production, songwriting, to even crooning adlibs for some of the biggest records of the year. Last but not least, PartyNextDoor. The latter can really be credited for the recent rise of R&B, from his contribution to Drake’s projects, his choice of samples, to penning the biggest hits for the biggest artists, but even through his own catalogue, it’s been modern day R&B with classic essences.

I’ve felt like PND was the new King of R&B, before I even heard Jacquees, and there is still some debate, with Jacquees being one of the more natural vocalists. If there was ever to be a sing off, Lamborghini Que would be a tough opponent, and with Party somewhat MIA at the moment, it would appear justified for Jacquees to feel like he is the King of R&B, right now, for this generation.

There is also room for the understanding that Jacquees is of a darker complexion to most of the recent ‘stars’, he isn’t the tallest and there are no other tricks or gimmicks (unless you count his statement as one) other than his ability to sing. You also have to consider the recent Soul Train awards, where you had the legendary Jon B and Donell Jones perform, yet Jacquees might have got the better reception for his performance. I enjoyed his album, and look forward to the next, but while he rides high off his recent success, the many talented and respected R&B acts who have struggled to make/maintain the impact he has had of late are unlikely to champion him, and so he most definitely has to deliver as such. Also a lot of the names being mentioned, like Donell Jones (who is on his album), have clearly passed the torch/encouraged him enough to feel this way.

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Whatever the fuck this is – DOE edition

In place of the fourth volume, here’s an exclusive, featuring some scenes from Black The Ripper’s recent Dank of England pop-up store, in Southampton. The event was a peaceful and fun exhibit of the potential this movement brings. Amidst the diverse crowd, I had locals approach me and applaud us for the turn-out but also commend us for the excitement we brought to the area. Thank you to all those that turned up, cooperated and most of all, enjoyed. Peace!

Special thanks to Black, Screech & Liam. Lucid and Nousha Lounge in Southampton. For info on up and coming events, stay tuned to the socials.

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Whatever the fuck this is – Volume 3

The third instalment to the visual magazine. Featuring  new music, artists to watch out for and more..

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