People living in lockdown broadly fall into one of two groups. Either you’re a normal person, who lost six months to Netflix, wake’n’bakes and midweek drinking, or you’re a psychopath who spent their entire lockdown working out, reading and bettering themselves as a person.
But, it turns out there is a third group – a minority who managed to indulge in every indulgence possible while crafting unholy classics as if they were rolling a J. Chie and King Bracket would fall into this third group.
After tearing up the festival circuit as half of Backward Sun all the way back in 2019, the Kent-based duo spent a year polishing their debut LP. But with Steezy Wonderz, the boys aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel. Instead, they’re offering a lawless journey to the dankest corners of hip hop.
Chie’s gravel-throat drawl rolls around beats like a drugged-out labrador, but his delivery is sharper than a paper cut to the eardrums. Even as he spits about breakfast bongs and late-night writing, Chie makes a point of giving you the unfiltered truth. On ‘A Wagwhan PhD’ he sneers, “Play the drug game // wake up a fuckface // Waste of my wage // Licking flavour from packet.”
Debut single ‘Flavoured Recipe’ captures the mood of the album perfectly; an Illinformed-inspired blend of gloopy horn loops, smooth bassline and bars so sweet they’ll rot your teeth. And while the bars are a big part of Steezy Wonderz, it’s King Bracket’s beat skills that tie the album together.
Previous productions have explored everything from trap to folk to DnB. It’s that depth of experience that allows the duo to take you from dinner drinks at upmarket jazz bars to gurning your way around a 2 am nightclub to smelling keys in a house party kitchen at 5 am in the space of two tracks.
But Steezy Wonderz isn’t here to glamourise anything. It’s unsparingly honest about the struggle of following your own path. Even the most hedonistic scenarios come with a healthy dose of reality. It’s just that the southeast boys wouldn’t want it any other way.
They might make it look effortless, but Steezy Wonderz is really just the product of choosing to work smart instead of working hard. So kick back, spark a zoot and embrace your inner steeze.