People say science has rendered religion obsolete. Whether or not that’s true, I’d argue religion is still a viable tool for telling stories about the world. Just look at the new EP from Deeq. With Unholy War, the Oxford rapper paints a dark picture of a world gone mad. But this isn’t some biblical fable, it’s a tale of contemporary Britain, told through the allegory of holy legends.
Like Seraphim & Appollyon, the side project of Deeq and Stone Circle labelmate Flowtecs, Unholy War punctuates razor sharp flows with sinister theological symbolism. It’s there in the twisted spirituality of ‘Affirmations’ and the venomous bars of ‘Snakes’.
But Unholy War is also very much about what’s happening right here, right now. It’s a smart move that gives the EP a depth missing from many modern artist’s skillset. After all, you can spit hard bars, but if it’s just the same old nonsense then people will soon switch off.
Guest bars from Menace Mendoza and Macular add some variety to the flows, but this is Deeq’s testament, and he doesn’t hold back. “Shed a tear when I recall what I did // saw caught up on ABH charges was only 15 so I didn’t catch a bid” he wraps on closer ‘Troubled Waters’.
There’s an enjoyable disparity between the religious imagery and industrial instrumentals found in Unholy War. Producer Tom SQNC sticks to boom bap beats but mixes up each track and keeps the listener guessing to the end. Hazy Blade Runner style synths sit alongside simple piano loops and Gregorian chanting. Deeq traverses these desolate soundscapes with ease, spitting bars like a sacrilegious shaman.
Regardless of what you think of Deeq’s focus on religious imagery, there’s no denying the skill on show here. So it’s up to you; come for the metaphors, the lyrical precision or the boom bap beats, but don’t pass up the opportunity to hear Unholy War for yourself.
Unholy War is out now on Stone Circle Records. Check it out here.