Ramson Badbonez absolutely loves a mixtape. On top of this release, there are 2 volumes of ‘The Official’, Tales From The Staircase, Bone Marrow and Dilla and BIG tribute tapes in the last couple of years. At least. There could easily be a couple more that I’ve overlooked. Yet, no album, although The Official Vol. 2 was basically an album in all but name, containing entirely original production. Currently scheduled for a release sometime next year, here’s hoping the debut LP will be worth the wait.
This level of output is both a good and a bad thing. Clearly, you can’t knock the former Taskforce protégé’s work rate, especially when you take his large number of guest slots into account. However, I can’t escape the feeling that once you’ve heard one Badbonez mixtape, you’ve heard them all. The material is largely Badbonez attacking whatever beats are put in front of him with a rapid-fire burst of punchlines and battle rhymes. Enough to convince you of his talent, no doubt, but not the sort of high quality album he has been threatening to produce for the last half decade.
At least this tape has brought a fresh concept. As the title suggests, a bunch of well known breaks have been looped up by DJ IQ, ready for Badbonez to do his thing. You’re bound to recognise some, if not all the loops. There is also a heavyweight line-up of guests, all of whom are given the first verse on the tracks they feature on. These guest verses vary in quality from some of the best in the country like Jehst, Kyza and Verb T, whose bars live up to expectations, down to Big Deal whose pedestrian flow makes ‘What Is This?’ a skippable track (“I want a space ship/fully equiped with space shit/red lazers my favorite’). The clear standout guest verse is that provided by Kashmere. The Iguana Man brings his usual energy to another show stealing appearance on ‘Another Day Is Dawning’:
In the flesh I manifest, raw lyrics to your chest/
So when you hear the god coming, genuflect like bless/
My mind is in the heavens, though my body is a weapon/
Genetic specimin, let’s begin, here’s the medicin/
The shape-shifter, baked for days, haze-twister/
Just chilling, on the d-low, just building/
Invisible to the naked, his bloodline is scared, a Neo of The Matrix/
The anomaly, possibly they spotted me/
Must have been the locks, or the chaos chain, logically/
Or ill sound coming through the speaker/
The loop is so ill, his head spun into a seisure/
Got him in a higher state of mind, he was bugging/
No thought, no discussion, just the force of percussion/
Light-speed times a million, immortal, his soul now resides in oblivion/
Badbonez probably sticks to the title a little more, taking us through a typical day, including an unlikely spot of early-morning inner-city fox hunting… With one of the funkier loops on display, this track is a clear high point. Another highlight is one of the few Badbonez solo tracks, ‘Black Smog’, which closes out the tape. The break, memorably used by Havoc on The Infamous is blessed with another dark portrayal of the capital city. Half the fun of this tape is trying to work out exactly where you’ve heard all the loops before, and it’s refreshing to hear them in an unadulterated form. It’s probably a good thing that the music keeps things interesting, because it disguises a few generic verses, that although they’re not weak, Badbonez probably rustled them up in 3 minutes flat.
DJ IQ’s efforts, along with the long and varied guest list elevates this above the usual mediocre mixtape fare. Give Badbonez A Break is an entertaining outing that will keep fans ticking over, presumably until the next mixtape in a couple months… But the question remians, where is your album?
Originally posted on www.certifiedbanger.co.uk