In what was a fruitful month for the field, the likes of slowthai, Lord Apex and Octavian all released projects that further pushed the envelope of what British rappers are doing at the moment.
slowthai, with his energetic explosion of modern Britishness, put out his Runt EP and exercised it on tour, whilst Octavian, hotly-tipped for some kind of world domination, did the same with his ultra-modern mixtape, Spaceman. Our pick of the month, though, was that Apex release as the West Londoner gave you S.O.I.L – (Sun’s Out In London), released on Bad Taste.
Despite being in the same age bracket as his aforementioned counterparts, Lord Apex has a discography far larger with his catalogue of music, diverse in sound, attracting one of those ‘if you know you know’ type audiences. Akin to that is Bad Taste Records, a forever underground label that’s given us the likes of Trellion, Sniff and RawKid – cult heroes in this realm of music that seems to be growing and growing in terms of audience size, music quality and quantity. Shit’s exciting.
And S.O.I.L has the feeling of Apex asserting himself on the somewhat ambiguous landscape of music that we’re referring to here, saying things like ‘they didn’t like me last year, guaranteed they like shit now’ and ‘a lot of people say I’m up next, I say it’s about time’ on the closing track Wet Wet. A unique juxtaposition, this song has one of the smoothest samples of a carefully curated batch from Montreal producer, The Kount, yet, through those hard drums and Apex’s punchy delivery, it becomes one of the more turn up cuts on the EP.
At the other end of the scale is Sunny Daze, the equally dreamy but more delicately delivered lead track of the EP that came out with great visuals last month. Elsewhere, niche references like ’94 Snoop SNL with the Tommy fit’ keep that refined listenership engaged throughout and even more niche samples like the 1980s Yugoslavian disco, detected by our Croatian graphic designer, hit some serious spots with us lot at Offie Mag.
The opener, Make It Work, is a triumphant beginning, too, setting the tone of what will remain as a wonderful artefact of a memorable British summer for some time to come.
Summer is over but Renelle 893 is keeping it alive with this DXVL-produced banger that features fellow South Londoner, Ramzey.
Back in Brighton for the time being, Renelle killed his set at the Green Door Store this month, bringing all sorts of sounds to the stage and even chucking in a dance tune that got people moving in the GDS’s infamously sweaty floor. These two make a good duo on a track and on top of that saucy DXVL beat, this is a fine link-up between 893 and 237.
Yogocop Records’ illiterate dropped some new new in September, too, with the Brighton native coming with a darn right gorgeous new track and visuals.
One half of Concept of Thought and the man behind whatifthenwhat, one of our albums of last year, illiterate shows his versatility on this one with a catchy, singing hook joined by his raps. The guy’s got a knack of getting some touching lyrics out and, doing so over this self-produced beat with additional guitar, he’s crafted another post-summer heater.
Elevation Meditation Posse’s Louis Culture sparked his Soundcloud into life this month with a track that demonstrates everything that this multitalented can do.
Production from PULLEN is on point, but Mr Culture makes this one his own with his rapping and singing, letting lyrics of honest and self-reflection spill into this one, Local. Whacking down #Alternative Wave into that genre bit on the Cloud, it’s exactly that, as this artists typically avoid genres and puts out simply what comes out of him.
It was a month that not only saw the King of Northampton drop a new EP, but also smash each and every date of his tour. slowthai’s live shows are as good as they look online but as per, Instagram stories never do it justice.
His RUNT EP was done justice in the live environment, though, with Call My Own, an outstanding change-of-tempo track from the five-song release providing a rare moment to relax at Camden Underworld. The newly released Drug Dealer and Slow Down (Santa) were more so in keeping with the general vibe of what a slowthai set is like, going off to ridiculous levels as this mercurial artist dictates a whole room like few others in music right now.
If he hadn’t done so already, slowthai has shown he can make some music with a real narrative on this EP, as the perfect marriage between he and the producers, Earbuds, continues to create songs with a refreshing sound about very real things. An album is on the way, surely.
At the more luxurious end of British hip-hop is Octavian and the undeniably talented and infectious artist released his eagerly anticipated Spaceman mixtape the same weekend as slowthai’s RUNT.
He is another artist that’s setting the pace for whatever you can call these new streams of super-original rap music that, despite not having typical traits of hip-hop, certainly attracts a lot of the same crowd. With a few features on it, the standout one is Suspect’s appearance. Truly one of the scene-shapers and sound-definers right now, Break That is typical Suspect joint with ridonkulous bass.
After an exceptional rise to the very top of popular culture, this ‘tape feels like a statement about going clear from Octavian, which preluding tracks like Little had already hinted at. A very accessible project from a very marketable bloke, once OVO really get hold of this guy, Spaceman will be a fitting name for the French-born artist, as he’ll be so big that he can sit on the moon and watch earth spinning around.
Another 237 representative, we were first exposed to Scuti on Usher Lavelle’s Reprezent Radio show back in the summer.
They spoke with unwavering confidence and belief in their own music on that July afternoon and continue to do so on this newly released track, complete with visuals. There’s a bunch of talent coming out of this collective alongside Reservoir, made up of artists in several fields that don’t fit into pre-existing boxes. Get to know them.
Refix Jedi, OB-1, once one of Brighton’s very own, has just put out his debut EP.
Chopping up all kinds of tracks from Preditah’s legendary grime beat, Circles, to R Kelly’s I’m a Flirt, the DJ and producer has put his typical shelly, super-choppy, often funky sound into 11 tracks. Free to download, any DJ types should be looking to cop their favourites from the tape and get ready to enjoy those ‘who made this?’ questions, with one headphone, lifted off the ear.
The first chapter in what will be an ongoing series, OB-1 will find your beat and fuck it up… in a good way.
If Offie Mag’s Music of the Month is released without something from Blah Records on it, does it make a sound?
Fortunately, we’re unlikely to ever know as one of the top one hip-hop labels in the country always has something up its sweggy sleeves. The latest appears to be an album from the Yung Sweg Lawd, himself, Black Josh. He’s teasing it with this one which features yet another sick feature from Nah Eeto, as the Kenyan rapper lays down a rare verse in English and a hook that we hope really is an ode to the daytime TV legend, Judge Judy.
Black Focus Records have put out their latest instalment of brilliant, contemporary music that, despite being categorised as jazz, is yet another record that embodies the genre-defying ‘jazz’ scene at the moment.
This may be Mansur Brown’s debut album, but the popular guitarist was a key part of Yussef Kamaal’s influential Black Focus record in 2016 and was also responsible for some of those deep grooves on Alfa Mist’s Antiphon. Shiroi, though, is an expression more unique to Brown, with elements of electronic, hip-hop, trap and jazz, fused together by his flair on the guitar.
Healthy servings of reverb and daring solos are Hendrix-esque, and neither Black Focus or the 21-year-old prodigy himself have hidden away from acknowledging the late Jimi’s influence. So, Hendrix on trap? What’s not to like?