The second instalment to the visual magazine.
Back again, with new music, videos and more. Click the image below to view..
One of South London’s finest, Youngs Teflon has been the bridge between the ol’ skool and new, as one of the younger ones to watch, he has now become a checkpoint for a lot of the up and coming rappers, with many who work with him, going on to cement a name for themselves, he is also one of the few from his era to successfully transition into this new stage of the scene. Possessing a strong fanbase, his loyalty to the game has shown him stay true to his roots and play position rather than capitalise or conform. His latest EP South London Press is proof of such.
Affiliated with the standouts from Big Narstie and Blade Brown to 67 and K-Trap, Youngs Tef has become a staple in the scene, and while people may have expected him to make the transition for a more commercial sound (I was was hoping more people would take to last year’s underrated Flex N Finesse), with this 6 track project, he’s remained even truer to his sound, with his audio depiction of that side of South London. From the more introspective intro, down to the wavy Birthday, he’s still able to offer some variation. More impressive is the fact that whilst fans digest the project, he has more heat in the stash, and recently released the visuals for (one of my favourite tracks), the title track itself, racking up just under 200,000 views in a week, shows that he his definitely on course to further establish himself as one of the elites.
Whilst he has played his part and held it down, I do hope that he takes up more of the opportunities and shoots rather than look for the assist, as he most definitely is deserving considering the amount of work he has put in up to this point, and I have no doubts that he will not only persevere but reach newer heights.
The UK scene has been thriving of late, with the elite further staking their claim, and newcomers rapidly rising through the ranks. Amongst them, one of the original breakthrough acts, was Bonkaz.
From his appearance four years ago in the (now classic Krept & Konan anthem) Don’t Waste My Time (Remix) alongside Stormzy, Swift (Section) and Youngs Teflon, where he held his own (though Swift might have had the hardest verse), he continued with tracks like We Run The Block, You Don’t Know (Bonkaz), Lonely and not to mention a large amount of freestyles and covers (more recently his version of Kendrick Lamar – DNA), which though showcased his versatility, it also appeared to hinder his trajectory. Some may argue consistency, others felt the lack of support, there is even suggestion that he played position and helped push others before himself, and in some ways it can be agreed, but honestly I believe he’s still finding his sound. Whenever we have an act as such who garners a predominantly female following, they become caught up in trying to cater to all. The likes of Scorcher, Griminal, even Yungen, have all faced that dilemma. Bonkaz seems to have only given hints of that potential, with his previous Fuck Fame and Mixtape Of The Year projects catering more to the streets. He is capable of delivering a solid body of work that can help propel him, I’m in no way saying he should make “girl tunes”, but rather utilise his ability to elevate the sound and himself. In his defence, he was stifled by the false allegations and accusations which he has since opened up about and put behind him. Leading to this new effort, What You Want:
The track will definitely go well at his shows, it has that amped uptempo sound, it’s in the vein of Don’t Waste My Time and Yungen’s Ain’t On Nuttin, as the catchy street anthems with potential to find themselves on rotation, unfortunately it has not yet caught that kind of response or momentum. A part of me feels its to do with the perception, maybe we’re not looking for that kind of content from Bonkaz (if this was a 67 record, there would probably be a campaign to get it to the chart), the video (as much as I appreciate the ‘different’ visual) will appeal to a younger, more diverse audience, combined with the theme of the song itself, will resonate with a select number of people, but still it’s accumulated over 50,000 views in under a week. Bonkaz’s ability shouldn’t be in question, lyrically or in creating a hit, but his versatility has clearly made things tougher, fortunately for him, he has developed a loyal core of fans and peers alike, and with the foundations for his “Romantic Rudeboy” path already laid, you can expect not only for What You Want to grow, but to hear more abstract british rap from the young talent.
One of the scene’s unsung heroes, Ard Adz has been consistent to say the least, one of the few underground acts to have a solid fanbase, to where everyone else had to take notice. For some time now the rapper had been overlooked, but no more, as he follows up on an array of mixtapes with his new EP, No Rain, No Flowers.
Heavy with the street raps, many of his fans noticed a more conscious theme creeping, as he began to bring his faith further into the music, something that merely highlights his transparency as an artist. Unafraid to share emotion, where many may fear the backlash, it was even more appreciated and added to the familiarity that audiences felt with him.
With No Rain No Flowers, Adz gives us 6 tracks, that help establish not only where he’s at, but the intentions as he continues on, starting with the intro, Dirty’s Pain
where he unapologetically flows, weaving between his love for his people, but the lack of trust, his ambition to succeed but his disgust of the shady industry, it plays well setting up for the current anthem What’s Gwarning
Classic Adz, as he details the street life, going back and forth with feature Bellzey, “My brother said life is a gamble, so I’m hitting life at all angles, I got the steel on my waist, it beats like I got it off Banglez”, through the catchy flows, there’s still lyricism and metaphors present (as with that line he shows love to producer Steel Banglez). He makes it seem so easy, it’s almost his signature, which he carries on into the Oye Oye Freestyle. The EP thus far is catering to his core audiences, as he opts to stay loyal to his rap roots, with the S Wavey collab, Cause Jahanam, over the classic Alchemist production, it’s a casual vibe, thats sets up the next track perfectly, the standout Fast Lane. “What have I become, I’m a devil to the lord, but an angel to my son..”, the track depicts his struggle with life and religion a little further, with an assured take on him finding his balance. With talk of an album soon to come, the last two tracks help steer into that direction, including the last track My Ak. A relatable track, for many with people locked up, and it shows the loyal soul that he is, through this introspective cut.
In the first track, he says, “I’d still rather sign to my son than Virgin..”, in the last, he says, “I’d rather sign to my son before Def Jam..”, such strong indications of his anti-label stance, and with the content given, he’s certainly not looking to compromise in the slightest. There are many of his fans, who comment and mention his ability to provide beyond the gangsta rap, but for now the South London artist is clearly looking to cement his legacy within what he knows best.
It’s been a long time coming. The South London rapper forged an almost legendary street status, an OG to many of the up and coming stars today, Wholagun had found some early success with a string of hits 3 to 5 years ago, generating a decent amount of views and following, however, for various reasons, it felt like he had not entirely made the transition into rap, not to mention the scene was not as healthy then. In the past couple years he followed through with some more freestyles and street bangers, with fans almost demanding an entire project, and so today, those wishes are granted, as we finally get the release of a full body of work, Solution To The Problem.
8 Tracks, fit to satisfy the core fans, but with enough range to introduce himself to new ones alike. Wholagun can rap, there is no denying it, what makes him some of your favourite rapper’s favourite rapper, is his versatility, flows for days, and as his brand increases, as will the content, with this EP showing early glimpses of just that. It starts with the lead single Dirty, it’s straight forward, easy to digest, and catchy, Wholagun has pretty much perfected the British trap sound, proven with the next track Weighty Cheque, following a similar format, as did Pretty & Bad, maybe I wanted more from him because I know what he is capable of, so initially I was disappointed, but couple more listens later and they’ve grown on me, the flow patterns and punchlines do it justice.
You can never judge from a couple tracks, and that’s exactly the case with this project, as track 4 takes a more melodic turn, “the game is mine, I rap, I sing, I’m taking the piss..”, and he is, the fan in me was vibezing, and the part that wants to see his talents rewarded was pleased, because it’s quality enough to be put up there with the current crop, one criticism I had, and If I was in the studio with him, I would say, to avoid the repetitive choruses, saying that, on this record, it made sense, and fit well. It might just be a personal choice and in fairness a lot of the biggest tracks out today have similar hooks, but I do believe he is talented enough to do better, and I just wouldn’t want anyone thinking otherwise.
I realise that because I’ve been waiting for this for long, I’m almost judging it, in all fairness, this is a re-introduction, as he re-asserts himself, letting you know, who he is out here, “I don’t wanna hear about big man, when you ain’t bigger than man”. The get money motivation is strong throughout, and by track 5, I realised he’s giving you doses of genius, easily digested, “I just got a call from the plug, got the front room looking like ‘dam”, this exact ability to paint a picture lyrically is why so many have loyally waited for this. Best thing about the project is that it only continues to get better with each song, bringing us to track 6, Be Rich, an introspective take on that previously mentioned motivation, is one of the standout tracks, “I’m tryna get that bread, my daughter needs her pizza, I’m tryna leave the ends…ain’t tryna rise that heat up”, he further delves into his desires to really establish himself in this game, making no mistake that it’s going to take hard work.
My early criticism/disappointment might not have made sense, me knowing he is capable of more, and when you hear track 7, you can understand, out of nowhere there’s a track catering to the ladies, and in no way has he had to compromise, nor is it a reach in any way, there’s strength in vulnerability, “feeling a way when you hug me, I feel like the man..only God is above me”, Winner it’s quite soulful, and very much appreciated, making it another standout. The last two tracks might be the best, with Real Talk 3 really cementing Wholagun at his best, the insightful raps, engulfed in wisdom, it’s human, it’s the epitome of what rap is for many, that inspiration, to keep going. “Every days a blessing, I just wanna see us all progressing, feel like everyone fights depression, ’til you realise your minds a weapon”.
I wanted to end it at that bar, powerful, emotive, important, that is Wholagun, who has given us a quality body of work, that he can only build upon as he continues his imminent rise to the top.
No lie, I just came across her on LinkedIn, and something told me to search for the music, and here I am now, writing this.
The scene has been doing well of late, it’s looking healthier for our rappers, we even have a strong run of representatives for the women too. Unfortunately, whilst it’s allowing the veterans or the underrated to reemerge, it’s still quiet for the soul side, with it strangely being tougher (at times) for our R&B acts to breakthrough.
If we’re talking potential, then we might just have a woman break that barrier, as Arielle steps forward with that new wave. Her tone is unique, her style is current, blended with that sexy ol’ skool vibe, she’s able to deliver something refreshing. Introducing, Arielle:
There is definitely room for growth, but that just makes this an even more exciting prospect. The visuals may not entirely justify the track, but you get to see her beauty and presence, whilst I enjoy seeing a group of strong women doing their own thing, in comparison to the average objectified video-girl. Having heard some of her earlier material, the potential was evident with All For You standing out. There is a lot of versatility for her vocals, not just R&B, and we certainly have few producers who could really help take her artistry further. Definitely keeping an ear out for more of this wave, with her next visuals for Sauce on the way.
Since the release of the Flight Of The Navigator, Bigz has found himself in new heights as far as his credibility, FOTN was justification that the rapper deserved all the praise he receives (if not more).
Continuing on that success, his “royal flyness” brings you, STARMAN (EP).
10 solid tracks to further cement his place among the best.
An emphatic intro to the EP, Starman has Bigz displaying the wordplay and flow with variety, switching up the flow beyond expectations as the verses progress, definitely a stand out on the project.
I JUST WANT THE PAPER:
This track has been receiving a lot of love from the listeners, the kind of beat that you cannot help but nod your head along to (or even get up and 2-step), with the Flygerian leader back on his fly talk, using an aptly chosen Biggie sample, this track creates a certain vibe that only the flyest will feel.
SLEEPING SATELLITES ft. WRETCH32 & SWAY:
Another stand out track, Sleeping Satellites is where Bigz holds his own against two of the best rappers in the country, on a deeper and more personal tone, the three artists add a contrast with their unique styles.
This track adds diversity and allows Bigz to show his ability via a different retrospective.
STARMAN is quite the offering as it is a FREE download, featuring G-FrSH, Wretch32, Sway, Selah, Baby Blue & more, consider this a Thank You for all the support he has been getting of late. Many people can argue all they want..but when it comes to ability and craft in regards to music, Bigz is one of the best.
Download, press play and SWOOSH!
Dot Rotten kicked it off flawlessly, portraying his mind through lyrics effortlessly,
Calibar, one of the most underrated rappers in the UK, made no mistakes with this effort, balancing reality and his style with a smooth delivery,
Black The Ripper, considered by many a “potential legend in the game”, delivers another reality check with the upmost of confidence.
Mz Bratt took a stride over a lot of the male emcees with this cypher, personally i expected it, this leading lady spun a few heads with the content easily.
What i like about this cypher is that i don’t believe this was anybody’s best, but then i know their potentials, but without a doubt a great effort from each artist.
UK Stand Up!
No Hats No Trainers brings a collective of artists together for a series of Cyphers, this is the 1st in the instalment, featuring veteran rap duo SAS (Mayhem & Mega), a long with lyrical geniuses Mystrogen and Wretch32, “spitting” over the ‘Kanye West – Power’ instrumental, each artist brings a powerful presence to the set.
UK STAND UP!