Monday, 23 May 2011
Cold Lazarus LP (Dropping 07/06) - First Review. CHECK IT OUT!!!
Courtesy of one Mr Tom Clements and the kind people at Rhythm Circus. I'd be lying if i said I wasn't pretty chuffed with this.
After six years spent paying dues on his local hip-hop circuit as both an MC and DJ with the Mad Love and Blaze One crews, Falmouth-raised Enlish (AKA Big Dave) relocated to Brighton and spent five years establishing himself as a mainstay on the local hip-hop scene with a string of mixtape releases and an EP to his name, in addition to becoming a permanent fixture at Rising Styles’ Brighton Hip-Hop Festival.
All the while he garnered numerous impressive features including a guest spot on BBC 1Xtra with F.U. Music affiliate Stig of the Dump, and has shared bills with such hip-hop luminaries as Klashnekoff, Jehst, Rodney P, Raekwon, and Phi Life Cypher but to name a few. Released under the auspices of independent label F.U. Music, Cold Lazarus is Enlish’s long-awaited flagship solo album project and the fruit of four years unrequited passion for hip-hop, assiduous musical endeavour, but also a wealth of setbacks; however, despite the trials and tribulations of a struggling independent artist, the end product is nothing short of a seamless hip-hop masterpiece.
An undisputed OG, and perhaps one of the most under-appreciated of UK hip-hop legends, Enlish is the MC’s MC: with his exquisite flows, deft freestyle ability and flamboyant image propelling him to the status of something of a cult hero of the UK scene, Enlish has long exalted traditional mid-90′s era hip-hop out of America’s regional confines, taken it to the British South Coast and injected it with his own uniquely colourful persona and the worldly-wise perspectives a self-confessed “brown-skinned, Cornish-Asian rapper”.
A de facto Sean Price of the underground UK hip-hop scene, Enlish displays that similarly acrobatic internal rhyme aggressiveness, alliteration and the densely-packed polysyllabic rhymes of his quasi-role model, and like Sean, he’s clearly an intelligent guy; however, a real masterstroke of his is how he forgoes any marble-mouthed, esoteric references (which I’m sure he is quite capable of producing) and instead adheres to a formula of spitting straight-up flows and packing them out with hard-hitting punchlines. Moreover, Enlish wisely repudiates the common tropes of self-proclaimed socially conscious rappers who display a complete inability to spin a compelling narrative, by crafting eloquent verses about deeply-ingrained personal issues. Indeed, there’s a complex interplay of themes and admissions in the album: he presents himself as a larger-than-life and extremely outgoing character on the one side, but on the other he explores the dichotomy of the same man riddled with insecurity, everyman melancholy and frequent bouts of self-destructive depression.
For all his introspection however, Enlish never sacrifices humour or swagger, and the beats of Cold Lazarus are seriously banging. Produced, mixed, mastered and arranged entirely by Ido, it’s a sonically rich affair with a myriad of musical ornamentation and a cohesive collection of sounds wherein each individual element serves its purpose to the fullest. Chiseled with a heady blend of bass-heavy tracks structured by cymbals, reverb-heavy squelching synths with meaty guitar stabs as well as simpler looped instrumentals with wistful flute melodies, Cold Lazarus has some of the most accomplished and varied production I’ve heard from any UK hip-hop release this year.In addition to the album’s high-end production values and its boldly flamboyant aesthetic, Enlish lays bare his self-depricating persona and is entirely honest about the adversity he has had to face in life — especially concering the tragic death of his mother —and his consequent succumbing to a desultory hedonistic lifestyle of booze and women.
Heavily suffused with nihilistic undertones, whilst also conveying some affable and often deadpan comedic sensibilites, Cold Lazarus is the soundtrack to the real-life tale of a tortured soul, emphasized by the inclusion of three very introspective and heartfelt numbers including I Feel Good, Only Human and Karaoke. In my opinion, it’s in these tracks that some of his best lyricism comes out: “Heavy flowing with as much serotonin left as Leonard Cohen’”. Additionally, he also provides some stark and earnest messages to those similarly vulnerable to the same temptations: “Choose to reject what your fate brings, and you’ll be frozen in a moment from which you’re never escaping.”
Perhaps to provide some much-needed levity, the track Dickhead features a humorous light-hearted exchange between Enlish and close friend Hineswho nags and reprimands him for wasting his days and for not getting out there and doing shows. Recurring themes in this as well as some other tracks on the album include flagrant substance-abuse, plain idleness and degenerate boozing, and are dealt with with an intriguing mixture of blithe humour and genuine earnestness. The album’s stand out track — which is also the album’s featured single— is the thickly synth and bass laden Arrogance is Bliss which is a serious head-banger; it’s also thoroughly apolitical and loaded with tongue-in-cheek gangsterisms and near-the-knucle humour.
Complete with a Sean Price fresh out the Carhartt-era and a potty-mouthed Stig of the Dump, the track lends most itself to bursts of laugh-out-loud punchlines: It ain’t line dancing when I say I throw the hoe down. Another stand-out is the ‘Imagineers Cypher’ which is a rowdy collaborative effort featuring fellow F.U. Music cohort Dr Syntax (himself a UK hip-hop veteran), Hines and Clev Cleverley with a classic rock emphasis and some seriously dope scratches from DJ Manipulate.
Overall, there’s really very little I can fault in Cold Lazarus, and I certainly haven’t got a bad word to say about Enlish; indeed, for all his hip-hop posturing and well-deserved hubris, he still comes off as a genuinely nice guy, and his affable charm and charisma make him a true breath of fresh air in a country pervaded by the scourge pretentious grime MCs-turned-popstars. No doubt there will be incessant buzz and clamouring when his album is released on 7th June because this is literally, HUGE!
CHECK THE ORIGINAL WRITE UPS - HERE
And here followeth the promo.....
This LP, 'Cold Lazarus', has been 4 years and a lot of blood, sweat, tears, money, beers, honeys, drugs, pubs and nervous breakdowns in the making. But it's nearly there, thank fuck. It drops on 07/06/2011 on CD, digital download, LIMITED EDITION USB aaaaaaaand
CASSETTE (SUPER LIMITED)
No vinyl, but unless someone wanted to chuck a few grand my way that was never going to happen anyway.
CD/DIGITAL DOWNLOAD -
LIMITED EDITION USB - Containing the Cold Lazarus LP, Rap Ain't Real LP, a bonus EP, random dubs, radio appearances/freestyles, artwork, photos and to be honest, anything else I can fit on there. A good catch. Plus, it looks like a giant drug pill. Who doesnt like giant drugs?
CASSETTE (HOMEMADE) -
You all know I'm a massive fan of tapes, so I thought fuck it, why not? I couldn't find a repro company but found a bunch of TDKs in a shop in Brixton so decided to do some arts and crafts. All done by my hand and my hand alone. "Home dubbing, the death of the music industry." You get the Cold Lazarus LP on side A and the 'Rap Ain't Real' LP on side B. BARGAIN.
Home dubbing is not without its perils though, as exhibited here.
"Never put me in your box if your shit eats tapes" - Nas
All of the above will be available from me directly, as well as Rarekind Records, Suspect Packages and of course via my bandcamp page.
Also, CD PRE ORDERS ARE NOW AVAILABLE FROM SUSPECT PACKAGES.COM!!!! ORDER NOW TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT!!!
Enlish - Cold Lazarus - Suspect Packages
So that's the LP, dropping on the 7th of June. If you know me, you know a lot of time and effort has gone into this project, so any support is greatly appreciated.
As an aside, my LP launch party will be in Brighton @ SlipJam B on the 2nd June (Friday) at The Hope on Queens Road. London launch will be at Suspect Packages live at the Vibe bar on Brick lane, the 2nd friday in July. Further gigs TBC, but you know I'll let you know. Standard.
Until then, the single (with FREE LP) is still available from my bandcamp and itunes (for a LIMITED time only - get it while you can!), with all the relevant links, some of my recent press and my most recent battle to check out below. Also check me on 20/20 radio and the latest Suspect Packages radio Podcast -
20/20 PODCAST (STREAM/DOWNLOAD)
SUSPECT PACKAGES PODCAST MAY 2011 FT. ENLISH INTERVIEW, SONGS AND FREESTYLES (STREAM/DOWNLOAD)
PURCHASE 'MESSED UP' FT DJ MANIPULATE & 'ARROGANCE IS BLISS' FT. SEAN PRICE, STIG OF THE DUMP AND DJ MANIPULATE FOR THE TINY SUM OF £3.00 AND RECEIVE THE 'RAP AIN'T REAL, MY LIFE IS REAL' LP FOR ABSOLUTELY FREE!
CLICK THE LINK BELOW, THE ENLISH BANNER AT THE TOP OR THE SMALL SINGLE COVER PIC AT THE TOP TO THE RIGHT TO GO STRAIGHT TO THE BANDCAMP!!!!!
BANDCAMP (£3 FOR 14 TRACKS)
ITUNES (£0.79 FOR THE SINGLE SONG)
UK ALL DAY
BLACK BUDGET ENTERTAINMENT