Proves intelligence and fun in UK hip hop don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Lou Thomas 2010
To answer the question on the lips of the casual fans first, there is nothing on The Logic of Chance quite as cutting and hilarious as Thou Shalt Always Kill. Back in 2007 that celebration of independent pop-cultural thought became an anthem and was a highlight of Angles, the Essex duo’s underrated debut album.
On The Logic of Chance producer dan le sac and MC Scroobius Pip return with tunes which occasionally lack the immediacy of earlier tracks. But they retain the thought and vitality which characterised numbers like Development, the Angles effort which saw Pip rap the periodic table.
Sick Tonight sees Pip (aka David Meads) spit out his speediest rhymes while sac (aka Daniel Stephens) provides drum‘n’bass beats and paranoid bleeps for a frantic and malevolent start. Then, Five Minutes is a sad, unexpectedly polyrhythmic but quiet tale of domestic violence and a respectable partner to Magician’s Assistant, the harrowing Angles song about self-harm.
Great Britain is perhaps the biggest tune on this sophomore effort. Pip is at his proselytising best, but not dogmatic or boring. Lyrics about knife crime could come across as embarrassing in lesser hands, but Pip honed his skills on the spoken-word scene pre-sac and knows his way around a syllable or three.
Lead single Get Better is the most commercial moment and one which celebrates the positives of youth, or at least suggests things can be improved from kids confusing “love at first sight with lust at first light”.
It’s not all serious, beard-stroking stuff: the hirsute Pip does rhyme about his facial topiary in the amusing suburban transport lament of Last Train Home, and even references Amy Winehouse’s Rehab. Cauliflower is another bright moment with the whimsical tones of female US singer KiD A providing a pleasing counterpoint to the rhymes, while The Beat is refreshingly throwaway hooligan house. As Pip says, “This ain’t about your brain, it’s all about your feet.”
Although Pip and sac make music which is far from esoteric it’s still a little too abrasive for mainstream pop fans. It’s a shame because there’s little question the pair deserve a bigger audience and have proven again on The Logic of Chance that intelligence and fun in UK hip hop don’t have to be mutually exclusive.