Remember the days when London was the only place to find good UK hip hop? Yeah, it’s safe to say those days are long gone. With the scene diversifying and the internet giving a platform to talent from across the country, one area, in particular, stands out as a hotbed for new rap talent.
To be fair, the South West already has a well-established scene. Thankfully, the debut solo LP from Bristol-based emcee Lazy Eyez only cements the idea that there’s gold out west.
The Bristol-based emcee already has an impressive body of solo work beneath his belt, including his time as one-half of duo Pupils of the Clock with fellow West Country MC Tok (who pops up on second track ‘Cui Bono’). The second physical release on Green Brick Records, Coastline to Cityscape keeps the collab-mentality going with guest features courtesy of fellow Bristol heads and Green Brick co-founders Res One and Badhabitz.
Sporting tight bars and hooks as catchy as VD in a Bangkok massage parlour, Coastline To Cityscape mirrors the artist’s journey from the Cornish coast to cyphers in Bristol. Simultaneously, the album feels like a tribute to never giving up. First single ‘Icarus’ is a homage to the people instrumental in allowing Lazy Eyez to follow his dream. Likewise, ‘Square One’ – with a guest spot from labelmate Mac Lloyd – is a testament to picking yourself up and trying again.
The production, too, is a fitting testament to West Country talent. ‘World Ends’ ft Baby Pink (Prod. Saito) offers a backdrop of laid back beats and smooth harp instrumental to conjure a lush soundscape for Lazy Eyez’ introspective lyricism. Similarly, the smooth jazz piano of ‘Formula 4s’ proves you don’t need a digitally-constructed orchestra to create a sumptuous sound.
It’s albums like this that show how much the UK scene has developed. Sure, it’s an album informed by life in the South West, but that doesn’t make it inaccessible. In fact, it’s the opposite – Coastline To Cityscape filters universal issues through a distinctly local perspective. Coastline To Cityscape proves you can embrace new influences without abandoning your heritage.
Coastline To Cityscape drops February 25th on Green Brick Records.