Skinzmann the Exeter born producer releases his debut album, ‘Incognito Grinders’, a trappy-beat filled, grimey hip hop hybrid, an ambitious project boasting an impressive ensemble of artists, all hailing from areas between Plymouth and Bristol, coming together on 22 tracks of rapidly delivered bars and bass heavy production.
He first cut his teeth after moving to Birmingham and working with local artists, honing his craft and shaping sounds, working in studios and putting out releases like Piff Packs Volume 1 and ‘Wavy‘, a track that features Cardiff based artist Traumatik, both of notable mention. In 2008 he formed the record label Titanium Audio with stablemate Devilman and continues to work with a range of artists and sounds from the South West, as well as further afield. This graft resulted in the passion project Incognito Grinders, a subtle reference to the unsung heroes of the Hip Hop and Grime scenes respectively and a reverberating roar of a release.
The album is full of anthems, songs like ‘Allways on Job’, are graced by journeyman Wyatt Earp, who angrily delivers verse after verse over 9 tracks on the release. He has previously worked with Illinformed and has an adaptable style that works perfectly on Skinzmann production. He is joined by Mash on ‘Active’, another hard track where accents from the South West shine through and may seem unusual to some but in a Hip Hop scene already saturated in Londoncentric wordplay and style I found this extremely refreshing, appreciating those who embrace where they are from and presenting themselves naturally on record.
‘Classic’s’, ‘Kick Down Doors’ and ‘Mash up the set’ got constant play in my car and I loved how good the bass sounded. The mix was perfect and lyrics sat just on top of the rhythms, featuring vocal stylings from Shifty, Danja, Heartbeats and Mash, all putting in performances that deliver like a flurry of punches.
There are also some great soulful touches throughout the album, especially ‘Novocaine’ featuring Obadiah, which for me is a stand out track on the album and nicely breaks up some of the chaos contained within. Skinzmann, as well as producing also writes and performs many of the hooks on the songs and clearly has a talent for doing so.
“..we don’t take days off, been grafting, grinding, allways on job..” ~ Skinzmann
The crud lord himself Datkid features on a couple of songs on the album, saying things like ‘..make rappers feel uneasy, and rightly so, I ‘aint average Joe and my friends ‘aint Ross or Phoebe..’, he also rhymes ‘bat sh*t crazy’ with ‘pie, mash and gravy’, loads of great wordplay from this UK veteran, he always has fun with it.
“..I kick down doors for you, got a lot more than the whole world for you, trying to get a yard with the mountain view, sitting at the pool with the Malibu..’ ~ Skinzmann
All tracks have great drops and well worked drum patterns, many are posse cuts with multiple artists firing verses back to back and owning every second of each song, completely hype and highly impressive, this is a formidable first entry from Skinzmann and will appease fans with a thirst for both hip hop and grime music, as well as finely crafted production.
For those who like their Hip Hop bass heavy and full of fire, grab your copy of ‘Incognito Grinders’, out now, on all digital channels!
Words by Theo Specone