The Gold on the Mixer boys are back with more arcane bars, obtuse references and blunt British observations. Buff Bentley (AKA Jaroo from Northern Structure Records) and Golden Shed (AKA Zatoichi’s Ears, AKA Intricate Diligence) offer a strange concoction, part East Coast bombast, part West coast boom-bap, and entirely British.
Premium Platinum isn’t gunning for a spot on top 40. It’s a celebration of the kind of crate-digging, experimental sound popularised by the Stones Throw crew back in the early ‘90s.
That might sound like an odd claim for a rough collective of UK-based psychedelic soldiers with a grounding in eastern philosophy, obscure sci-fi and vintage sportswear. But then hip hop is an open field. For every classic boom-bap beat there’s a grotesque genre-crossing instrumental. For every premium-production pop piece, there’s an aspirant anomaly cooked up in someone’s bedroom.
Take the title track. Buff Bentley glides over the bare piano loop and pivots on a butter-smooth bassline with bars about living the high life on a shoestring budget.
Even the unashamed bragging is delivered with a knowing nod and a wink. On ‘Big’, Bentley raps, “Everything I spit is straight facts // Everything I rockin’ TK Maxx.”
And while the bars may be almost impenetrable, there’s no question where the production takes its cues from. From the cosmic synth-jazz of ‘Know’ to the looped sax of ‘Need’, Premium Platinum owes a heavy debt to Dilla.
If you’re not yet convinced of Gold on the Mixer’s unique approach, this latest LP probably won’t change your mind. But for anyone looking to stray beyond the boundaries of mainstream hip hop, Premium Platinum is as good a vehicle as you’ll get.
Premium Platinum is out now on Gold on the Mixer.