There are a hundred MCs I could have chosen for this segment, such is the level of unsung or overlooked talent this country is producing at the moment. Regardless of your views on the internet and what it means for art and culture, there is no denying that it has expanded our listening landscape beyond the realms of London or pirate radio, and also allowed for the formation of collaborations between artists at opposite ends of the country/world. I’m digressing, but I just wanted to reflect on how strong and unified the UK scene is right now.
Anyway I decided to focus on an MC from the South East of England, who has been behind two really solid albums this year. Benaddict first came to my attention a few months ago, when the press release for his Garden of England album landed in my inbox. As soon as I pressed play I knew I was onto a winner and as the album progressed I was introduced to a lyricist wiser than his years, and with a real understanding of his craft and the culture it represents. That particular album came out on his label home, Yogocop Records – an indie outfit boasting a number of talented young cats, but then he followed it up a few months later with Teal. This was a collaborative project between Benaddict, vocalist, Ella Mae and producer, Slim, and the project was released on the consistently dope label, Village Live Records.
Both records have a really laid back, jazzy boom bap sound, but without any of the cliches of rappers striving to recreate that ‘golden era’ sound. I’ve selected three tracks which should give you a good introduction to Benaddict and his music.
Ninety Three sounds like it came straight out of ’93, thanks in part to Ded Tebiase’s production – arguably one of the finest boom bap producers in the UK right now – but also thanks to Benaddict’s understanding of the culture and of rap’s history. Complete with some tasty cuts on the hook and video footage of graff bombing in a train yard, the whole track oozes authenticity and serves as a great first taste of Benaddict’s style.
This song is a great example of Benaddict’s ability to tell a story, while evoking a lot of raw emotion in the process. Some MCs struggle with the former, never mind the latter; to be able to do both is a testament to their penmanship. The track is also produced by Benaddict, adding another string to his bow.
Does Anybody Care?
This is the opening track on The Garden of England and features an appearance from label mate, NuphZed. The pair go back to back and bar for bar, as Benaddict tries to focus on making music, while NuphZed attempts to lure him to the darkside with past tales of debauchery. The pair hit the hook with both questioning if anybody really cares anyway.
Both albums are available now, either from the Yogocop Bandcamp (https://yogocop.bandcamp.com/album/the-garden-of-england) or from the Vllage Live store (http://www.villageliverecords.com/product/benaddict-slim-ella-mae-teal-vinyl). And keep an ear out for more new material dropping next year.
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Words by GingerSlim! Check out gingerslim.wordpress.com