...the general tone of this album is quite serious, heavily laden with...
Ruth Jamieson 2005
Blak Twang, AKA Tony Rotton, AKA cornerstone of UK hip hop, is the sort of player who defines the game. When he says, as he does on title track and party starter, "Rotton Club", 'I'm not just up-and-coming/I'm well established,' he speaks not just for himself but, by extension, for UK hip hop as a whole.
Rotton seems quite rightly sick of having to ask for acknowledgement of the stripes he's earned,sick of UK hip hop being defined by a misconceived newness or novelty value. So, out of respect, let's not look at this album in terms of breaking through to the mainstream, let's not think about Radio One playlists and let's not make any of the tired old comparisons to Roots Manuva.
The beats bump along, dub infused, dancehall influenced and typically 'Saaf London'. Apart from the afro flutes and funk bass on standout track and summer anthem, "Where Lions Roam", there's no great variety.
That said, we are compensated for the tried-and-tested beats by the idiosyncratic lyrics, such as 'the only beef you got is in-between your sesame bun', on "Beef Stop" (I laughed!). But the general tone of this album is quite serious,heavily laden with food-for-thought political rants.
K9 collaboration, "GCSE" (Ghetto Child Sex Education) is an admirable if avuncular lecture on 'protecting your dick like you're in the wall defending a free kick.' The excellent "My World" samples an appearance on This Morning which saw Blak Twang defend rap music against the governmental accusations of promoting gun crime. Elsewhere traffic wardens, the BNP, record companies, the media and the infamous 'they' all get a Rotton bashing.
This is a good if not great fourth album, so lyrically dense it leaves you wondering how Blak Twang will find the words to fill the promised next six, but confident that he probably will.