Well I have never reviewed a Hip Hop act, let alone a Hip Hop album so this should be interesting…
On the 18th July Hector Bizerk self-released their debut album entitled, Drums.Rap.Yes. It’s a pretty full-on first album covering a wide spectrum of issues such as social class, self-definition, crime, and even sectarianism inherent in Glasgow. Not exactly being something I would normally listen to, I thought that I wouldn’t enjoy the album at all. However, I was pleasantly surprised and found myself bopping my head about and listening intently to rapper Louie’s clever lyrical whips.
The first track Drums.Rap.Yes. grabbed me from the word go, and it almost possesses a comic value in it by the way it challenges sub cultures, their practices, tastes, and fashions. Essentially, Louie highlights how people who avoid conformation to what could be considered mainstream or the norm are simply conforming to another structure set in place, where beforehand it was maybe seen as unique (for example, hipsters with stupid patterned jumpers) but now it has simply become a trend. It’s a pretty bold track but emphasises Louie’s passion for hip hop and creates a sense of authenticity behind his work.
It becomes apparent when Burst Love begins that the bass drum, snare drum, and alone rap vocal combination shape the overall sound that is Hector Bizerk. A simple arrangement, but in a genre where lyrics are a fundamental aspect it suits for a powerful delivery. I love the introduction to the first chorus where that huge, raspy bass line comes in though, it really provides a strong backbone to the song and gives it that dynamic lift that the listener craves for.
Tracks such as Niche II again brings across the sheer passion for hip hop that Louie has and I admire how he is critical of practices ongoing in his own genre illustrated by the line, “We like your tune, make you sound like a ned mate”. It describes the process that Scottish hip hop artists adhere to in order to get exposure on radio etc. The track covers a wider range of topics as well, referencing the letter bomb sent to Neil Lennon amongst other social and political issues. Definitely worth a listen.
One of my own favourites would be For The Record. It slots nicely in at track 8 and has a much more reserved tone by the arrangement of acoustic guitar, drums, and vocals, which brings a different sound entirely from the brash, angsty and at times aggressive qualities that the rest of the album exhibits. It’s obvious in terms of lyrics that this is a far more personal piece with the pivotal message that hip hop is an escape from a repetitive lifestyle. A piece similar in tone would be track 11 Let It Go, displaying jazzier chords and beautifully harmonised female backing vocals, varying the overall sound of the album. The track directly says “Life’s too short”, which I found to be a continuing general message rooted in the album and an ethos likely followed by Louie.
So if you’re looking for something a tad different to listen to, click here.