Jonny: I thought Gasp's last project was a return to form so I've been following his stuff closely. But a couple of things let this new track down for me: the production is too busy for my liking with those tinny hi-hats way too pronounced in the mix; and I find the double tracked vocals distracting too due to the shift in pitch. I think the attempt is to evoke intoxication - something he did well on his last project - but I think there's too much going on for it to work.
That said, Gasp's own performance is impressive as always. I actually got an old-school Eminem vibe from this one. His lyrics are raw and honest but the syllabics are complex are delivered energetically.
Hannah: An eerie and effective track from Gasp here. The production compliments the subject matter well and gives a good platform to him spitting some really honest material. His often urgent delivery creates a real tension which holds your attention. I found this one more interesting each time I went back to it - plenty to sink your teeth into lyrically.
Jonny: Kid Robotik is increasingly one of my favourite hip hop producers in Scotland. He makes the types of beats I like: simple but creative, usually revolved around a single motif, which is then seamlessly meshed with whatever style he's going for. In this case, a Chinese folk sample (I assume) skips over a beefy trap rhythm.
Hannah: I wanted to really like this because the concept is cool, but it fell a bit flat for me. Sonic space can be great, but in this case its execution wasn't particularly effective. It results in a track which sounds more like an idea waiting to be fleshed out. But I would to hear someone rap over the grimier sections.
Jonny: Zayn Grieve used to be known as Nekswan - and we gave him some positive recent reviews here on SSU. I'm not entirely sure when the change in moniker came about but it seems to coincide with a shift in approach. Lyrically, he sounds less focused than on previous material (most bars here just seem to be about hyping himself up) but that doesn't seem to be the point.
Mantra is all about aesthetic and it works. The production, which is entirely original as far as I know, is excellent. It takes elements from both cloudy and trappy styles from the US. And SWVN sounds really at home on the beat - his flow's improved and his vocal pitch is perfect for the mood of the track.
Hannah: This sick. I'll be returning to it for sure. The beat sounds great with just enough going on. His flow is also superb and the way it combines with the bass on this makes for a real head-nodder. He's really using those bars to paint pictures.
Jonny: If there's one thing I would criticise EVIL for it's that his flow is so impeccable and on point he ends up forcing it sometimes (sorry Findlay, but nobody says pagan as pay-gan). That aside, Talk of the Time is a good summation of what he does best. The rhymes are slick and well-crafted and he rides a beat well. Judging from the response to his battles lately, I feel like some people wouldn't be happy unless he changed style entirely. I think he needs to just stick to his guns and get rid of forced syllabics and cheesy wordplay. Other than that, he's golden.
Hannah: I think this is a fun wee ditty. Its tongue-in-cheek swagger isn't lost on me, even if some of the lyrics do get a bit corny at times. It's one for fans of comedy-bravado and tracks that get stuck in your head for three hours.
Jonny: Judging from this, the upcoming Ill Dando album is shaping up to be pretty interesting. The lyrics about getting 'blazed' in a 'green haze' aren't the most original, but I don't have a problem with weed tracks if they're creative or interesting. He sounds hungry from the off here anyway, which I rate.
Hannah: This is a decent effort, although much of its appeal comes from the production. His delivery is good but more varied flows could have turned the track into something more dynamics. It just feels like it isn't as ambitious as it could have been. Sweet Life's a Bitch (Nas) sample, though.