You ever notice that some things just go together? Peanut butter and jam, cold cider and British summertime, zoots and reggae, zoots and hip hop, zoots and… well, you get the point. Of all the matches made in heaven though, hip hop and soul must be up there as one of the greatest in modern music. Luckily, the new album from Relentless Exquisite, Gold On the Mixer… Always, is a cornucopia of Curtis Mayfield samples, kung-fu references and ‘70s blaxploitation vibes. Throw in some choice Darkplace references (“I’m straight pimp like Dean Learner”), and you’ve got a gem of an album.
The biggest challenge for accessing Gold on the Mixer… Always, or GOTMA, is establishing exactly who’s involved. The man behind Relentless Exquisite has a slew of other releases, including under the monikers Elliot Fresh and Use The Cape. He’s not the only artist to operate under different aliases, but it does add to the challenge of charting his progression through the rap game.
Not that you’ll struggle to divine the key influences behind his style. Numbers like ‘Zatōichi’s Ears’ recall early Wu-Tang, while the stringed instrumentals of ‘Universe’ – with guest bars from Meticulous Perfection – could have come direct from the Madlib bomb shelter. The floaty hooks of ‘Paisley’, meanwhile, carry the distinct twang of original West Coast G-funk.
Whatever the influences, it’s clear listening to his bars that this isn’t the first release for Relentless Exquisite. Tracks like ‘Pillars’ and ‘Decision Process’ prove the London-based emcee has substance behind the flow, spitting introspective bars with razor-tight delivery and a healthy dose of British cynicism.
There are some guest bars from the likes of Magnanimous Hench, Medium-Sized Narrow Boat and Beauregard Remington Lugosi too. None of them are exactly household names (yet), but that doesn’t mean they don’t compliment the tunes on offer here. Turns out there are still some good combinations waiting to be discovered.
Gold On The Mixer... Always is out now on Gold On The Mixer Records. Check out the Relentless Exquisite Bandcamp for more.