Two figures who have mastered their crafts tighter than most, Si Phili of the illustriously celebrated Phi-Life Cypher which disbanded in 2012 with a warm reputation as iconic figureheads of new millennium UK hip-hop, joins forces with The Jump Off rap battle slayer Dom Dotz to form Phili N Dotz, making a solid impact with their latest release – Phil N The Dotz.
Featuring prominent production from High Focus veteran Leaf Dog as well as mancunian beat-maker Pete Cannon, SplitProphets turntablist Bad Habitz, Cystic, Richy Spitz and Passion Hifi on top of input from legendary lyricists Klashnekoff, Verb T, Blak Twang (and more), for the past year we have been patiently anticipating a classic, and unsurprisingly the release has more than obliged to our understandably high expectations.
From the beginning it’s their striking chemistry which captivates the mindstate, with charismatic flows finely demonstrated in tracks such as Travel The Globe and We Stay, comfortably exhibiting the abilities which has firmly established themselves as forerunners with a serene finesse that is reinforced by a naturally occurring emphasis on their intense bars. The duo display their visually stimulative lyricism throughout Verbal Dissection; Dotz begins reminiscing an account of gruesome human experimentation, disturbingly echoed by haunting synths instilled by Bad Habitz before Phili details a psychotic rendition of violent sadomasochism.
Dotz notably shouts out Richy Spitz before commencing Lyrical Gun Slingers,impeccably capturing the full might of the fiery showdown between Dotz, Phili, Blak Twang and Triple Darkness’ Phoenix Da IceFire; making for a memorably fierce collaboration with adept rhyme patterns. Rise Of The Sceptic see’s Dotz take the microphone and shed powerful truths solo, relieving his chest of the pessimistic outlooks which enacted through his disgust with humanity’s selfish conventions. Leaf Dog makes his first lyrical feature over his own production in Let Ya Mind Breathe, not generally differentiating from his typical rhyme style yet proves to hold his own amongst the mighty duo who collaborate with an uplifting purpose, before Leaf again excels with pure productive flair within Training 4 Battle in which Phili n Dotz define their motivational resilience to compete and overthrow anyone who believes they could begin to test their undoubted lyrical expertise.
Bad Habitz returns with a intensely intricate instrumental for the anthemic track Fuck The Government. Phili takes point with rapid rhymes which cite the factors which inevitably influenced his derogatory opinion of government, lyrically exposing the fabric of their recurrent lies and inability to substantially enrich society. Illest Rocks, featuring Verb T, Klashnekoff, Wordsmiff and Leaf Dog, excels as the artists live up to their iconic reputations with genuinely thought-provoking lyricism in reflection of an unmistakable experience which addictively resonates in their compelling verses, clarifying their logical perceptions before the album finale; Strength Becomes Struggle featuring Whammy.
What makes Phil N The Dotz exemplary is that it genuinely has all angles covered, whether you prefer those relaxed storytelling flows, aggressively demeaning wordplay or genuine verbal dissection, this release has it all. Compact full of classic hip-hop flavours that are thoroughly enhanced by a variety of excellent productive talents, skillfully enlivening the dynamic and authentic lyricism, the album makes the unignorable statement that UK hip-hop has truly never been more alive, and make no mistake that Phili N Dotz are representing it to the pinnacle extent.
Review by Ethan Everton
Phil n the Dotz is available on Bandcamp – coming to digital stores soon!