A game and worthy attempt to push the envelope of British rap a little.
Noel Gardner 2012-04-23
Edinburgh-based MC Profisee’s back-story drops famous names like confetti, with the unspoken implication that he’s never quite made the commercial breakthrough which beckoned. Almost a decade ago, he was part of hip hop crew the Yard Emcees, scoring a record deal with the (admittedly, not famously rap-centric) One Little Indian label. He’d go on to win a UK battle rap contest on MTV and support the likes of Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse; yet anyone who’s not Scottish or has their ear nailed to the UK hip hop scene probably doesn’t know Profisee from the Mayan Prophecies. Only one of them’s worth paying any attention to in 2012, however. Clue: it’s the dude with the real name of Nike Oruh and a long-gestating, finally-released debut album.
One factor which aids From All Angles substantially is the MC’s willingness to think outside the orthodox hip hop box when it comes to gathering beats. There’s no rote head-nodders on this 13-track album; his production allies sit on the outer fringes of the genre, and largely work in the domain of maximalist, imposing synth bangers.
Be True’s chrome-bright production comes from S-Type, a Glasgow beathead in cahoots with Hudson Mohawke and others in the LuckyMe collective. Fellow Glaswegian Dam Mantle dices harpsichords and adds chest-pain bass for the urgent Magikal; Edinburgh techno champ Neil Landstrumm, who has previous collaborative form with Profisee, is unusually pop-friendly and cheerful on What Would You Do. Production-wise, the only real letdown here is Insight, a quasi-ballad which amounts to chronic underuse of Philly’s often great Starkey.
Oruh's curiously accent-less flow seems to draw equally on UK hip hop and grime, which is perfectly fine in itself; he has the unhurried diction of grime elder statesman Jammer at times. There are a few lazily sloganeering choruses on here, though (Shake; the aforementioned What Would You Do) and rhymes you can see coming a mile off. It shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, however; From All Angles is a game and worthy attempt to push the envelope of British rap a little.