Artist: Various ArtistsTitle: Run The RoadRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Tika Milan
As Hip-hop continues on its conquest of the
planet, there is a common denominator that unites
Hip-hop heads the world over: the need for our art to
illustrate the truth. Never mind the imagery of too
polite British chaps, or ultra-cool London hipsters,
the various lyricists on the Grime compilation, Run
the Road (Vice), crush these representations.
This hodgepodge of emcees including Terro Danjah, Lady Sovereign and Kano, rhyme with the hunger of underground artists and with the lyrical skill Hip-hop purists love. On Cock Back, Bruza boasts, Im brutal and Im British over gun clicks and gun fire. The collection of tracks on Run the Road fuse dancehall melodies, futuristic computer sounds and Hip-hop drumlines creating a new sound that is only beginning to grip fans in the United States.
The hint of patois that laces some of the emcees British accents creates a unique rhythm and cadence, that at times is difficult to understand but is refreshing to hear just the same. On Let it Out, Roll Deep illustrates that England aint all tea and crumpets, spitting, frequently on the block still creepin me/ and today is the day he sees/ I mean what I speak/ stay away when you see me/you aint ready for beef/my whole crew walks the streets/ and they ready to eat you. Dizzee Rascal gives a hyper energetic rhyme style, comparable to Busta Rhymes, on Gimme Dat, a short bouncy track that is perfect for getting the crowd amped. Kano, one of the most notable lyricists on the album, rhymes with style and confidence that could make some of the best rappers on this side of the Atlantic take note, saying, You see me in the streets/ and aint with me peeps/ believe Im on my ps and qs/ in sneeks or shoes/ in a Honda/ fuck it no jeeps or coups/ well teeth your crew/fuck it were so hungry well teeth your food.
The females on the album, Lady Sovereign, No Lay, and Shystie hold their weight, rhyming just as raw and passionate as their male counterparts. They put it down hard without selling their sex, only relying on their lyrical talent. Although the album is very impressive, The Streets Fit But You Know It comes out of left field with an ambiguous rock sample that throws off the hardcore flow of the album off.
Run the Road is a lyrically superb album that can definitely go toe to toe with their American contemporaries. The rhymes are gritty and the mcs just as brolic as any here. There is no bling-bling or megalomaniac bragadoccio, just raw Hip-hop, straight no chaser.