Huddersfield emcee Eskar has been at this rap game longer than most, receiving props from the likes of Chester P whilst sharing the same stage. Currently set to release the next chapter of his monolith discography of independent mixtapes, albums and EP’s – ‘BAIT’ intends to snare rappers attempting to bite Eskar’s lyrical styles. The seven track journey details depression and how it inadvertently inspires an undying passion for keeping his music career afloat. In his own words, “When I put something into motion I’m just like a shark, because If I stop swimming, I’ll die.” Despite being renowned for boom-bap projects, this EP transcends genres whilst upkeeping to Eskars traditionally complex rhyme schemes, produced entirely by veteran Leeds producer Jack Danz.
The unnerving opener DOG ON A HOT TIN ROOF kick-starts with a rapid flow, before female Huddersfield emcee Krankit provides a captivating melodic hook in amongst dark instrumental transitions as Eskar lyrically depicts anguish and anxiety. Somewhat inspired by Paul Newman’s ‘Cat On A Hot Tin Roof’, it’s a hard-hitting introduction to swallow. This is followed by BIG FISH IN A SMALL POND, with a contrastingly slower flow and a calmer beat to match. Compact with clever punchlines and riveting samples, this track aptly demonstrates Eskar’s lyrical versatility. Fans of posse cuts will be pleased to hear MOVE THAT DOPE, boasting verses from Micky Swags, Krankit, Kemestry, Jack Danz and Mury P; a thrilling exhibition of West Yorkshire’s rhyming talent.
Long-term collaborator Irn Mnky provides an obligatory interlude entitled BRUCE, a conceptual track from the metaphorical viewpoint of a shark with a heavy instrumental headbanger underpinning it. Track five, LUNAR SEA is certainly the most controversial as it triggered Bradford battle rap legend Lunar C to respond with a diss track entitled One Punch Combo 2, despite Eskar’s claim the track in fact had nothing to do with him and the title was pure coincidence. This beef is worth judging for yourselves, be sure to check out both raps and form your own opinions. Next up is DOWNCAST, not one for hip-hop purists but fans of emo rap won’t be disappointed. The EP climaxes with BLUNDERBORE, taking Eskar back to his roots with a 90bpm beat – rare to hear from Jack Danz on production. Nevertheless the track bangs, with a variety of fast-fire rhymes and concepts combined.
Sometimes when emcee’s release independently for so long, fans incorrectly assume their style becomes stagnant – with BAIT, Eskar defies this perception with his most versatile musical offering to date. As most tracks are over five minutes long, Eskar evidently made an artistic decision to give listeners the impression of drowning in the music. Overall it’s an interesting composition, combining multiple hip-hop styles to suit a variety of tastes. It’s safe to anticipate more hip-hop creativity as Eskar continues his rap career. Currently available for free download, hear the BAIT EP linked below.
Words By Ethan Evo