10 British Rap Releases of 2017: Benaddict – The Garden of England

‘…insightful, deeply personable yet relatable lyrical content and some masterful storytelling.’

 

Continuing our collection of favourites from 2017, Yogocop Records’ debut vinyl release had to make the final cut.

We learnt of this album way back in the summer, just before http://www.offlicencemagazine.com had even launched, identifying our fellow Brighton local, Benaddict as a must to interview. In a random Brighton park and inside the iconic Rarekind Records, he spoke to us candidly about this release and more, all of which can be read in our incoming first issue.

It’s like completely different, but it’s on the same vibe… do you know what I mean?” he asked us. Such a juxtaposition shouldn’t make sense, but after listening to Garden of England, it really does. For those who have listened to the Yogocop rapper before and after this release, you’ll be pleased to know that much of that same beautiful 90s boom-bap style remains in his work. His own production as well as that from fellow Yogocop head, Mr Slipz and the outstanding Ded Tebiase ensure such a sound is retained throughout the record. The difference, though? Less weed talk and more insightful, deeply personable yet relatable lyrical content and some masterful storytelling.

The Kent-raised artist is as much of a writer as he is a rapper it seems, telling emotive and even heartwrenching stories on tracks like Bullet Boy and Yellow Self Storage. The latter? A chilling tale of violent sex games and murder, tied together by his most delicate lyrics to tell a story that will genuinely haunt anyone who sinks into this tune on their own.

More feel-good songs (on some levels, at least) come in the form of Keep Striving, a perfectly nostalgic R&B sounding track with the angelic Ella Mae, and the lead track off of this album with Nuphzed; Does Anybody Care? This song in effect sums up not just Yogocop Records but to an extent, so much of this country’s hip-hop scene. ‘Can’t we just spit lyrics and allow the sniff?’ the duo asks, as they amongst many of their peers take part in the battle between productivity and getting battered. Yogocop and Benaddict are winning their own battle, with 2017 a huge year for both. YGC put out several projects, including illiterate’s ‘whatifthenwhat’ which features on our shortlist, as well as putting on their own killer show in October.

Benaddict also had more than a part to play in Teal, a collaborative record released on Village Live Records in 2017, but Garden of England, as a long-awaited debut album, fully lived up to expectation and more, making it look more than at home in our top 10. 2018 promises to be another good year for Benaddict and YGC, so keep an eye out for one this country’s most talented rappers and producers.

Also, if you’re a Brighton local, or from some weird surrounding area like Lewes, Worthing or somewhere else that’s written on buses around here, get down to Benaddict’s show in February.

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